“I’ll do it tomorrow.”
Hello, procrastination. The idea that you will do whatever it is tomorrow is one of the most common excuses that people make in their lives. Sometimes they are putting off things that they know they need to do, like folding the laundry or cleaning the house. Other times, people put off what they want to do but are afraid of starting. You have probably done this repeatedly in your life. You have said that you will start learning another language tomorrow. You will start eating healthier tomorrow. You will go to bed at a reasonable hour starting tomorrow. The reality is, however, that tomorrow never comes. If you really want to make a change, you need to start today.
“I don’t have the time right now.”
Time is arguably the most precious resource any human being can possess. You only get so much of it, and once it is gone, it is gone. You cannot get lost time back, and you cannot really extend the time you have either. All you can do is make the most of what you have. That means you need to accept that you will never have the time to do everything you want to do. You need to prioritize. So, that thing you are putting off because you do not have time, how important is it to you really? If it truly matters, you can and will find the time easy way to do this is to cut TV or Facebook out of your life. Otherwise, stop pretending you will get around to it eventually and focus on the things that are important enough for you to make time to do.
“Just one more…”
If you are having to justify just one more anything, you are not going to have just one more. No one eats just one more potato chip. No one reads just one more Facebook post. No one who loves books reads just one more chapter. You eat a couple more handfuls of chips, spend another hour or two on Facebook and finish the book at 2:00 a.m. Stop pretending that you can have just one more. If you have gotten to the point where you are justifying just one more of something, you are already passed how much of it you should have. Put it down, right now, and walk away rather than having more of something than you need and hating yourself for having six or seven more.
“I’ll catch up tomorrow.”
If you could not get something done today, what really is the likelihood that you will be able to get it done tomorrow? The odds are that you will run out of time to deal with it tomorrow as well. Tomorrow, after all, will bring its own challenges and duties. You clearly did not plan on doing this tomorrow in addition to what you already had planned. Do you really want to try and pack more into a single day?
It is true that sometimes things come up, and you do have to have some amount of flexibility in your life if you want to avoid driving yourself completely up the wall. That said, the odds of actually catching up on things tomorrow are very, very slim. More than likely, you will be playing catch up for days and weeks. It will not be fun, but you are better off buckling down and getting it done today rather than hoping you will somehow squeeze it in tomorrow.
“There’s nothing I can do about…”
There is almost always something you can do about things that bother you. You may not be able to change them alone, but you can have an effect on even the largest of issues. That is how movements that enact massive change begin. One person says, “I’ve had enough,” and others agree. Nations have been fundamentally altered by those who dared to try and enact change. Why would you think that you cannot be the person that starts it?
In the event that what bothers you is small and more personal to your life, say an unappreciative boss or a spouse who seems to be taking you for granted, you have a great deal that you can do about the issue. A single serious conversation might be enough to turn things around with your spouse. If your boss is driving you up the wall, you can talk to them, find a way to deal with it or change jobs. You are not helpless and a victimhood mentality will do nothing to help you create change or happiness.
“I don’t know how to…”
Some things you simply do not have the know-how to handle. Fair enough. Not everyone can fix their computer after a fall damaged the hard drive or figure out how to get their car working again when the engine made sad noises and abruptly went kaput on the interstate. What you can do is find someone who can help you. Lacking knowledge is a perfectly valid reason to seek help or to hold off on doing something until you can do it safely yourself. It is not a valid reason to sit and stare sadly at whatever you cannot do. If everyone did that, every highway in the country would be lined with abandoned cars, and people would have to buy a new computer every few months when it did something weird. If you do not know how to do something, do not simply sit there and feel sorry for your lack of knowledge. Find someone who can either do it for you or teach you to do it yourself.
Most of the time excuses are simply a way for you to justify not taking on a challenge that you are frightened of confronting. Do not let fear rule your life. Kick these excuses to the curb, and start living your best life once again.
Stephanie Hertzenberg is a writer and editor at Beliefnet. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary where she majored in Religious Studies and minored in Creative Writing. She maintains an avid interest in health, history and science.