For each and every one of us, there are dreams and plans for the future, wishes and wants, deeds and desires that remain undone films of ‘what could be’ floating around in our minds. It could be the dream of a new business venture, finishing the pages of a manuscript, living the most authentic life possible or even making simple changes such as eating better or losing weight. And for a great many of us, the only thing holding us back is the reruns of excuses and ‘buts’ that are scrolling through our mind every time we want to take a step forward and make these dreams a reality.
At some point, you have to sit back and wonder if living a life that is less than what you dream, and not even trying - is going to be worth the regret you feel in the long run. The excuses that you cling to, which act as reasons to not ACT, or do….are self created, and often hard to face head on. But if you truly want to succeed and commit to a task – or even get ahead and make positive changes in your life, you have to first have the courage to know what excuses are holding you back?
Perhaps the biggest excuse for most people to not follow their dream is money. A quote from Norman Vincent Peale says that, "Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that." This quotation can seem or even feel idealistic, especially for those who are caught in the midst of raising families and barely making it week to week on the paychecks they have coming in. The sheer thought of investing, or getting loans for thousands of dollars in order to start-up a business, or get yourself the set-up required to make your dreams a reality, can cause you to feel overwhelmed with stress. Likely, all you see are roadblocks and you start making excuses for why you just sit back and wait. You may even be telling yourself that, “My time will come,” and be content with sitting back on your heels and feeling unsatisfied. In fact, the problem of not having the money to get something started or to help you make the changes in your life that you want to make – are often enough to make people stop trying altogether.
The problem is just because you stop trying, or make excuses for why things are impossible…the dreams in your mind don’t go away.
It is then, that you have to remind yourself that many of the millionaires today, the rich and the famous, the successful and the happy – started out more penniless than you. Think of Jim Carrey who lived out of his car for many years, carrying around a self-written check for one million dollars, as his only shred of hope that he would succeed. He too could have used excuses to keep him from trying, but he didn’t. Napoleon Hill, the now well-known author was poor and without education, and has now become one of the most renowned self-help writers of this time period. Steve Jobs, who is responsible for Apple’s success, has an ‘against the odds’ success story and has faced more obstacles in his life than most other people do.
Another excuse that holds people back is time. It can be hard to start fabricating dreams and weaving them into reality when you feel like your job and your family life already consumes all of your time. If you are already tired, then how are you supposed to find the energy and drive to do more, for more hours? Time is an easy excuse. Yet, research shows that most people have more free time than they think. Realize that you are talking you about your dreams and your future, and your own success….isn’t it worth staying awake for a little longer, or making changes in your life to fit the things you want to accomplish in?
In fact, more prevalent than excuses- is likely the absence of motivation. When people, just like you – start dreaming of a future and hit a few roadblocks along the way, such as lack of money, time, or resources – it seemingly zaps their motivation. You might start out with gusto, only to lose the wind in your sails when you feel stuck. This is when it is important to spend time focusing on what you truly want. This is also when you need to enlist the help of the power of positive thinking to help see you through this obstacle so that you will not lose your motivation. When your motivation starts to fizzle, most people create even more excuses for themselves.
In order to achieve your goals, experts suggest that you spend time plotting and planning the future. Instead of sitting around thinking about what you want to do, and thinking about your ‘incredible’ idea – start writing things down. Brainstorm. Make lists of possible ‘excuses’ or obstacles that you might face. Write down all the steps that you know you need to take, and start finding solutions for the parts of your plan that might be considered ‘grey areas.’ This way, you will be less prone to make excuses before you even get started – and will be have a clearer picture of what you need to do. The next step is to set small goals for your plans, and try to set timelines that are more than lenient in order to achieve them. You will then find that you complete these baby steps and are constantly making forward progress rather than just ruminating about things in your mind.
Excuses are easy to come up with. In fact, all of us make excuses each and every day for why we do what we do, or don’t accomplish what we want to. But when it is your dream that you are talking about, or something that is important to you – you should strive hard to remain focused and not lose sight.
Every thing that has come into being today – from a post it note to a television show – started first as a dream inside of someone’s head. All things are born out of thought. When you decide to let go of excuses and to face obstacles head on – you will find that your dreams are much closer than you ever imagined.
"Great things are not done by impulse,but by a series of small things brought together." - Vincent Van Gogh