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Common Excuses That Hold Us Back

By: Jennifer Hefner




~Author Unknown~

Excuses! Excuses! Excuses! We have all made them- if we think we haven’t then we are lying to ourselves. I can think of people who I consider “Professional Excuse Makers”. It saddens me every time I hear them because I understand what excuses do to people. Excuses hold people back from enjoying life. Excuses keep us from being healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically. Excuses can really become a roadblock for many people in their educational and professional lives. Excuses can cause us to stop pursuing areas in our lives that would otherwise help lead to a healthier, happier self. Excuses lead to a negative view of oneself and creates a negative environment. People almost become immune to excuses and it just becomes who they are.

If you didn’t know or haven’t read my bio, I am a college volleyball coach. I live in the world of training, competition, pushing athletes to their max. I am also a mother of two college athletes. I would almost consider myself a “Professional” at spotting excuses. I am also good at making excuses- I can compete with the best of the excuse makers! But excuses are something that I refuse to accept because I know I can do better!

If you look at the following excuses, you probably can recognize a few that you hear or have used yourself. I know I can pick out a few of my own! But what I have learned to do is recognize when I make an excuse. Yes, I pick on myself when I make excuses! I have yelled at myself at times to “STOP MAKING EXCUSES!” Then I turn that excuse into a positive and rephrase it. For example, if I use the excuse “I don’t feel good” I immediately tell myself “I will feel better after I… take a walk”. Or instead of saying “I am too busy” I will say “I will make it happen”.


I don’t have time….. I don’t have the money right now….. My back hurts…..

I am too tired….. I’m too old….. I am too busy…..

I am pacing myself….. I don’t have support from my spouse… My job is demanding…..

I will start next week….. I’m not a morning person….. I can’t go to a gym…..

I’m busy with my kids….. I have a lot going on right now….. I will be made fun of…..

I will TRY….. Healthy food is too expensive….. It’s too hard…..

I don’t feel good….. I am not good at doing that…..

Let’s make a second chart of positive responses to SOME of the above excuses. I love finding ways to rephrase those excuses. Remember the famous phrase “Where there’s a will there’s a way”? Well, that is a phrase I love. Because we CAN find a way!


I will schedule in time… I have free resources in my area… I CAN DO HARD THINGS…

I will have more energy… Age is just a number… I have nothing to lose…

I will get as much done as I can… I will do it for myself… I have everything to gain…

I will start NOW… Starting early will be a great start for my day…

I will show my kids how to be healthy… Other people are pushing through, so can I…

I WILL DO… I will replace some of my foods with healthier options…

I will feel better after I… I will challenge myself…

Positive Self Talk- the best thing you can do! It is free and possible for all of us! As I mentioned earlier, excuses lead to more excuses, more negative talk, a negative view of ourselves, and then giving up on the idea that we are worthy of success or happiness. So, over the next few weeks I CHALLENGE YOU to become more conscious of your excuses and start changing them into a positive response. To change any type of behavior you first must recognize it, then you start the process of changing it. The more you practice positive phrases the more you will see yourself morphing into an unstoppable self.

When my kids have scored low on an exam in school and I asked what happened, I have frequently gotten the excuse “Everyone scored low on the test mom”. Well, my response is usually “I am not interested in how the other students did, I am interested in how you did”. What I ask them is why would you accept being mediocre? Why would you be ok with doing just enough? Don’t lower your standards because other people are ok with skating by. Expect more of yourself.

My husband and I have an inside joke about “pacing yourself”. When we go on power walks together, oftentimes I ask him to walk longer. His response is usually “Easy Jennie, I am pacing myself”. We laugh because I usually respond by saying if I continue pacing myself by his standards, I might break a sweat by the time I am eighty years old!

If you want to improve anything in your life, you must work for it and there is no room for excuse making. Your mental, emotional, and physical health is no different. The first step is expecting more from yourself, cut out the excuses and get to work! You have it in you, you just need to remind yourself you are worthy, and you are wonderfully made to be your best self! Hold yourself to a higher standard because once you start seeing a change you will want to keep going!

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