Here's a little story about excuses. I once worked with an veteran who had served ten years in the Royal Artillery and then after his service had done some private security work. As his story went he was just waiting for an opportunity to get back to doing what he loved, military stuff. But he blamed his circumstances from even getting a job. He had put on weight, become unemployed and was struggling in life, as many veterans sadly do after their service and on return to Civvy Street.
This persons barrier to change was not his circumstances, it was his excuses. He had convinced himself that for whatever self justified reasons he came up with, these were the reason he could not move forward. So we worked on those excuses and then hit back with his qualities. You see, when you look at your qualities, your excuses for not achieving can become 'null and void'.
One of his excuses was Time. He could not complete application forms to find a job, any job, because he had no time. His excuse for no time was that he had to walk the dog. Another was he was overweight, and who would want a private security person who's overweight, and as he had no time to get fit he could not lose weight. He had convinced and this then became his limiting beliefs, in other words that phrase we all use "I can't.......". Yet walking the dog was keeping him active but he din't see this.
We then looked at his qualities and they matched his military past. Determination, Commitment, Loyalty, and Strength. His qualities were outstanding, but he was not seeing the contradiction from his excuses to his qualities. He was blinded by his limiting beliefs. We then wrote it down, plain and simple so he could visually see what was staring him in the face. When I asked him if someone called tomorrow offering him his dream job, what would he do?.....he suddenly got it, the penny dropped. He looked at his excuses and said...I need to change my ways I think!! Yes you do was my reply. He did get a job, not his dream job, but working with a tree surgeon, outside, physical and enjoyable.
At this point in time, I'm fully aware that many key workers are flat out doing all the hours possible to keep us safe and thank you so much, I'm sure they would love to be out cycling or walking or even have an hour in the day to get outside. I truly believe that despite the terrible loss of life, this virus is a wake up call for many many people and a catalyst for change. But this exercise is not just for us, those that are locked down, self isolating or with possibly no means to get out the house, its for everybody. I am the worlds best procrastinator, the king of putting things off, unless it suits my selfish need to ride bikes or surf, but lately I find myself making excuses in relation to those too. But today I started planning some major change. This virus is making me write more, be a little creative, learn new skills but today I started with a list of excuses and my qualities. Yes, my changes are based around riding bikes more and surfing loads, but more that just what it sounds and for now, its all in the planning.
So what are your excuses?
Here's your simple exercise....
1. Think of something you are always making excuses for....like exercise, diet, changing job etc!!
2. On one side of the page list 5 of your top excuses.
3. On the other list your top 5 qualities, strengths or attributes. This is the hardest bit, your excuses are easy.
4. Compare the two lists
5. Ask yourself honestly 'what needs to change?'
6. Write under your excuses...TIME TO CHANGE!!
7. Pin it on your wall as a reminder
8. Every time you make that excuse...refer to note on wall and remind yourself of your qualities.
This exercise is a great way to realise that what you could be achieving. Please give it a go and let me know how you get on.