When faced with an opportunity or challenge, many people automatically think of excuses for why they can’t, or won’t do something, or why an idea won’t work.  This negative response becomes so ingrained that excuses become an involuntary reaction. 

Hiding behind excuses is a common strategy for justifying why you are not accomplishing your goals.  For all practical purposes, excuses enable you to justify failure by explaining why you didn't actually fail.  In your mind, since you had one or more valid excuses for why you couldn't succeed, you really didn't fail.

Excuses provide you with reasons for why you could not, or did not, accomplish one or more objectives.  Regardless of the excuse, the result is the same; there is a “legitimate” rationalization for failure.

The excuses people hide behind are virtually limitless.  Here are a few which are commonly used:

I don’t know enough.  I don’t know how.  I don’t have time.  I don’t know the right people.  I had a bad experience.  I don’t have enough money.  It’s too much of a risk.  I’m afraid.  It’s too hard.  I don’t know where to start.  I don’t have good luck.  I’m too busy.  I didn’t really want it anyway.

Regardless of your excuse, the outcome is predictable; failure to achieve a goal.  So stop conjuring up excuses and begin concentrating on reasons to succeed.  Just one reason to succeed is more powerful than dozens of excuses for failure.

Start by altering your self-talk to make it positive.  Self-talk programs your mind because your mind believes whatever you tell it.  Everything you say to yourself should be reasons why you can and will be successful.  For every problem, there is a solution.  For every obstacle, there is a workable approach. 

There is a way around every excuse you have been using.  Excuses limit you only because you allow them to.  For each excuse you believe is insurmountable, there are countless people who have proved, by their success, that there is indeed a solution.

If you don’t know enough, get the information you need.  If you don’t know how, find someone who does.  If you don’t have time, set priorities and make time.  If you don’t know the right people, start networking.  If you had a bad experience, determine what went wrong and move forward.

If you don’t have enough money, start smaller or acquire more money.  You can get a better job, work more hours, get a second job, find partners or investors, or borrow money.  If it’s too much of a risk, take smaller steps in order to build confidence and experience.

If you are afraid, do it anyway.  Do what you are afraid to do and go where you are afraid to go.  If it’s too hard, do a little bit at a time.  If you don’t know where to start, make a plan.  If you don’t have good luck, spend more time preparing.  If you’re too busy, eliminate unproductive tasks.  If you didn’t really want it anyway, find goals with greater appeal.

Get past your excuses by detailing all of the benefits you will experience once your goal is reached.  Be as specific as possible.  Write down as many benefits as you can think of.  Whenever you start to drift toward excuses, start looking at your list of benefits.

Your accomplishments will increase as you stop hiding behind excuses.  New possibilities will appear.  As you overcome obstacles, your confidence will soar, enabling you to accomplish even more.  Start developing the habit of refusing to allow excuses to keep you in a rut. 

NOW AVAILABLE:  "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book.  Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper. Ó 2016 Bryan Golden