We’ve all got a goal. It may be to lose weight. It could be to save money. Maybe it’s to learn a new skill. But often we find that the path to reaching that goal isn’t as easy as we thought. Or maybe our anxiety kicks our fears into motion. So we find excuses that keep us from reaching that goal.
“I don’t have money to join a gym, so I can’t lose weight.”
“I work a lot. I don’t have time to learn how to (Insert goal/skill here) now, but someday….”
“I’ve tried everything, but my kids still won’t listen to me. I’m just a terrible mother.”
“I barely graduated from high school. There’s no way I can earn a college degree.”
Fear and excuses go hand in hand. Sometimes we’re afraid of failure, but sometimes, we’re afraid of success. What would we do if we actually were successful? Would it be all it’s cracked up to be? Will we be as happy as think once we get there? But at the bottom of every excuse is some type of FEAR.
Excuse #1: I Don’t Understand
After years of hearing how hard math could be, I timidly stepped into my pre-algebra class expecting the worst. I was quite comfortable adding and subtracting, even multiplying and dividing. But adding and subtracting letters and numbers at the same time? Only Albert Einstein could possibly tackle that kind of feat. But with the help of a fantastic teacher, I was soon adding apples to apples and keeping my oranges with my oranges with ease! Now, I find math problems to actually be soothing! Knowledge takes away fear.
Excuse #2: I Don’t Have the Experience
Were you terrified to hit the gas the first time you got behind the wheel of a car? I was. And since I had fear flashing across my mind like a blinking light, my nerves took over and my foot crashed into the pedal. I screamed when the car lunged forward. So I slammed on brakes (resulting in whiplash). The thing I had been looking forward to doing for so long soon became a source of panic in 3 seconds. But once I understood that pressing harder on the pedal made the car go faster, the fear soon subsided and I learned to gently press the accelerator. Experience takes away fear.
Excuse #3: I Don’t Think It’s Possible
When the training wheels finally came off, it felt like a step towards adulthood. No more “kiddy” bike for me. I sat on the seat and was poised for a graceful ride around the backyard, only to find myself tumbling headfirst into the azalea bushes over and over again. Begging my father to reattach the training wheels got me no where either. Instead, he shared the key that not thinking about the fact that the training wheels were off (along with keeping my hands on the handle bars instead of letting go as the bushes approached) would keep me from landing face up. Sure enough he was right! Confidence takes away fear.
Excuse #4: But I Might Mess Up
For generations, the women in my family could sew- clothes, curtain, costumes, doll clothes, you name it. So when the time came for me to learn, my mom set up the sewing machine, showed me how to how to go forward and backward and walked off, leaving me to discover the joys of being a seamstress. Within seconds, the cloth snagged. I carefully cut the headband out of the needle and bobbin and started ripping out the seams. But when I went to start over, the needle was gone. I looked on the floor. I checked the fabric. I looked at the mess in my hands and knew I’d never wear it in my hair. And then I went to tell my mom the needle was lodged in the motor. But after that, I knew it was all uphill from there, and now there’s something handmade in every room of the house. Failure itself takes away fear.
So take a moment and write down your excuses, ahem, I mean fears. Then think of times in your life when you’ve done things that you didn’t think you could do (yes, childhood victories certainly count). And then stand back while you conquer the world, one excuse at a time!