There Are 8 Brands of Excuses—Are You Guilty of Making Them?

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It’s amazing how easy it is to talk ourselves in and out of things, isn’t it? Like: Last night, when you decided that you were going to get up extra early and ride your new Peloton bike that finally arrived. After all, it did cost you two month’s rent. And you need to work off all that sourdough you’ve been baking for the last six months. It’s the right thing to do and you were even excited thinking about it.

But then, when the alarm went off at 6:30am, your inner dialogue was already spinning through your favorite excuses, which was probably one (or more, if you’re like us) of these brands:

brands of excuses
Justin Case/Getty Images

1. The Don’t Care Excuse

You convince yourself that you don’t want or need whatever it was anyway. For example, “You know what? Maybe what I really need to work on is loving myself as is. And, anyway, I love my morning stroll to get my Frappuccino. Maybe I should just return the Peloton.”

2. The Passive Excuse

Life is happening to you. It’s beyond your control. For example, “My phone—fine, Instagram—totally sucked me in last night, again. I just don’t know where the evening went, and really, I went to bed too late to get up this early. I’ll work out later.”

3. The Genetic Excuse

You were born this way and can’t possibly behave any differently. “Everyone in my family has lousy balance, and that spin class this morning would have been above my skill level.”

4. The Victim Excuse

Nothing’s your fault, you can’t help it. For example, “I had to drink last night—it was a networking event and everyone there was drinking. I didn’t want to make them uncomfortable. Now I’m too hungover to work out.”

5. The Everyone Else Excuse

It’s okay because everyone else is doing it or not doing it. “None of my friends are working out during this pandemic—I asked.”

6. The Past-Precedent Excuse

You’ve never been able to do it before. You’ve tried so many times. Nothing has worked, why would things change now? For example, “I’ve never been a morning person anyway—I always snooze six times before rising and it’s just who I am. Ask my mom.”

7. The How-Things-Are Excuse

What you want is not possible for you. For example, “I wasn’t taught the value of disciplined exercise as a child, so how could I be expected to suddenly do a whole 45-minute class? I’ll never be able to overcome that disadvantage.”

8. The Done-Enough Excuse

No one should ask you for more than you’ve already done, as if pushing you farther might break you. For example, “I already work long hours, I micromanage my kids’ schoolwork and Zoom calls, and I make dinner at home every night, resisting Chinese takeout. How could anyone possibly expect more from me than that?”

Now, How to Stop Making Excuses

Hey, it’s okay, because while you can definitely relate to at least one of these excuse instigators, there are some ways to nip this behavior in the bud. In addition to signing up for Inner.U, try these practical tips:

Get clear on the dream: Identify your goal and your plan to get there. If you have a specific dream, like “lose ten pounds by Thanksgiving,” ask yourself this when you get caught up in an internal debate about whether or not to bail on a plan: “Will skipping my workout this morning get me to my dream?” This will help you get honest about your choices.

Pay the price: You chose to skip the spin class to get more sleep. That’s cool. If you design a self-imposed consequence (like, say, no workout in the morning = no Instagram that day, or no episodes of 90 Day Fiancé that week), then you can ditch feeling guilty and get back in integrity, stat. Keeping your promise, or if not, paying an annoying, and ideally funny, consequence brings you back into alignment with your dream and makes you proud of yourself—and likely empowers you to get up early the next day so you can work out and enjoy that reality TV show you’re binging right now.

Weigh the outcomes: Play out all the possible scenarios that might have happened if you did or didn’t stick to your plan, and ask yourself, “How proud would I be if I did (or didn’t) do this?” For example, “I took the class and felt energized.” Or, “I took the class and lost a pound, getting me closer to my goal.” Or, “I skipped the class, but paid my consequence and was still proud.” Being realistic and knowing that you have power over the design of your day will help you make the right choice.

And, inevitably, you’re fighting for a much better cause than your excuses. You’re fighting for your dream.

purewow mark salmon

Director, Branded Content

Cristina Polchinski is a director of branded content at Gallery Media Group. She produces sponsored content campaigns across all verticals and platforms, in addition to...