Friday, April 15, 2011

Making excuses

Once a month (first Wednesday), I get together with an amazing group of women and we encourage each other in building the best lives we can create. This month we talked about excuses and where we are making them and why.

Here's my list of where I'm most often making excuses:

1. Why I don't paint anymore (no time, too messy, no studio)
2. Why I'm not shopping my first novel (no time, too complicated)
3. Why I'm not working on my second novel (no time, need a big block of time)
4. Why I'm not losing weight (I refuse to diet or join a group)
5. Why I don't do something about having more men in my life (too busy, too fat)

I know you can see the pattern here. First, my excuses are mostly about time, yet I find the time to read a lot of mystery novels and watch a lot of Netflix and eat out with friends and putter around the house. I read somewhere that when your excuses are about time and money, the reality isn't about time or money. It's about fear. And that is so true for me.

1. I'm afraid my good paintings were a fluke and that I have no talent or skill.
2. I'm afraid no one will want my novel.
3. I'm afraid the second novel isn't very good either.
4. I'm afraid I'll be hungry and depressed and miserable if I stop eating what I want.
5. I'm afraid none of the men I might meet will like me.

At this point, I'm not sure how to go about resolving the issues in the reality but it at least seems more honest to me to tell the truth about it, rather than hiding behind the excuses. More later on this, Jill

Three great quotes about excuses

For many people, an excuse is better than an achievement because an achievement, no matter how great, leaves you having to prove yourself again in the future but an excuse can last for life—Eric Hoffer

The trick is not how much pain you feel but how much joy you feel. Any idiot can feel pain. Life is full of excuses to feel pain, excuses not to live, excuses, excuses, excuses. –Erica Jong

I will not take “but” for an answer. –Langston Hughes

Suggestions from the fabulous Patti Digh:

When you feel an excuse coming on, rather than verbalize it, stop for a moment:
• What are you making an excuse about? Change it.
• Your hair doesn’t look right? Change it.
• Your house is a mess when someone stops by unexpectedly. Spend just 15 minutes a day putting things away so visitors aren’t dreaded but welcomed.
• You didn’t have time to finish something? Reprioritize or say no to more things.
• Keep a catalog of your excuses. Then make your life an excuse-free zone.


Brendan M said...

Like your work Jill! Another great one I heard recently, which is brutally honest to the point of painful, is "Excuses are the fat around your middle"
I know some of my exercise is diminished by a ready excuse on a cool morning.
Sober In 100 Days

sorella said...

Dear Jill,

As always, I appreciate your bravery in just putting it all out there, so to speak. Your willingness to be intimate with your readers, i.e. to reveal those things that you fear or wish for, is a great skill that just keeps getting better; it is one that I seek to emulate.