Stop holding yourself back from achieving your dreams and goals. These three types of excuses keep you stuck and prevent you from living your best life.
Do you have a bucket list? Or maybe just a “someday” list?
You know the kind…
Someday I’d like to go on a mission trip…
Someday I’m going to take a painting class…
Someday I’ll go volunteer at the food pantry…
Someday I want to take horseback riding lessons…
Someday I’d love to walk through the Holy Land…
We all have these lists of activities or goals we want but most of us seem content keeping them as a wish list.
Okay, maybe not so content.
We love to daydream of what life would look like if we said goodbye to the daily grind of our 9-5 job and started our own business, or how fulfilling it would be to help out at the teen pregnancy center in town, but that’s as far as we get. We dream. We let the voices of doubt creep in and set our dreams and wishes aside.
Before we can even begin to think about moving forward we need to face our excuses head on and learn how to break through.
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Three types of excuses holding you back
I know I’m a bucket of excuses when it comes to putting off what I know I should do. It wasn’t until I saw my excuses laid out in black and white in The Brave Art of Motherhood by Rachel Martin that I realized just how often I default to an excuse.
There are spaces in our lives where we cannot ignore what’s reflected back. Choosing to mutter “It’s no big deal” or “I’m fine” is choosing to stay stuck.
Ah, denial. Pretending that all is dandy when you know deep down you are simply ignoring the truth. It’s not a big deal that you put off touching up your resume for that incredible job offer and missed out. The mortgage being late again is fine, it still got there.
My biggest form of denial is the “if/then” version. If all the kids are in school, then I can focus harder on growing my blog. If we get a larger home, then we can host gatherings. If I lose the last of the baby weight, then I won’t feel so frumpy.
But the truth? The truth is I’m hiding behind these things. I’m nervous about the work it takes or about what others might think. I finally broke free of the larger home lie and I’ve loved having friends over, even if we are a little cozy ;)
Denial keeps us rooted in thinking that things can’t change because of some reason we’ve created, whether it’s finances, our routine role, or what the world says. But if we don’t try to break free, those situations can never change! We have to choose to shed off the denial in order to move forward with a single step.
We don’t automatically pick up a ton of weight and decide to run life’s race with it, but rather over the course of time this baggage accumulates. It is the slow, often imperceptible toleration of more baggage that slows us down and oftentimes absolves us from action.
Baggage comes in so many forms but I think the one that nearly every mother carries is guilt. We feel guilty when we hover and we feel guilty when we take time away. We feel guilty when we discipline and when we go a little lax. We feel guilty for their achievements and for their shortcomings. We feel guilty when we are at work and when we stay home. So much guilt!
The very idea of reaching for our own dreams while still raising kids will immediately turn on the guilt-o-meter. How dare we?
Baggage can also present itself as pride, worry, or emotional bonds. How often do we stay where we are because “I can do it without their help", even if we actually can’t. Or we think about everything that can go wrong instead of how wonderfully it could go right. And all the things or people we hold on to, long past needing to let go? Yeah… I didn’t need to ditch multiple car loads of items because I’m emotionally unattached to my belongings!
There is freedom in letting go of baggage. Ditch the guilt, tame the pride, write down and throw away the worry, and break the chains of emotional bonds. Lift the weight off your shoulders and feel the lightness.
Some excuses can make us feel extremely productive. Who doesn’t want to get stuff done? In fact, we exist in a culture that praises productivity… But sometimes the agenda we think is ideal and correct can be an excuse with a mask that stops us from doing what we need to do.
This is where the majority of my excuses are found. Oh sure, I’m busy and accomplish things each day… but are they the vital things? Are they the items that actually need to get done?
“I didn’t get the dishes done or the floor vacuumed, but man, my Pinterest board covers are so cute!”
“I didn’t finish my post for this week yet but I did get some boards sanded for a yet to be determined craft project.”
And let’s not forget the excuse of perfectionism, that paired with pride up above caused me to not push publish on this blog for a full year after the idea formed. A full year! And now looking back I realize how much time I wasted on graphics and fonts that I ditched within the first few months instead of learning how to reach readers, build an email list, or connect with other bloggers.
Throw in some procrastination, another agenda style excuse, and you’ve got me summed up perfectly. After all, if I can’t make it perfect today I might as well wait until tomorrow, right?
It’s a little disheartening to see every reason I’ve ever used for not stepping off home base listed in front of me. It would be easy to think of how much more I could have done by now had I ditched the excuses long ago… but then I’d be adding more baggage into my excuse suitcase and that’s the opposite of what I need to do.
Instead of being disheartened I’m encouraged. I’m encouraged because along with the excuses Rachel offers practical ideas for combating them. Ideas that she herself used to get out of a crumbling marriage, bankruptcy, and a cycle of excuses for why it wasn’t her fault.
Are you feeling stuck? Feeling like you have put your life on hold because you are busy being mom? You are worth fighting for. You are worth chasing your dreams. Take a breath, step away from the excuses, and move forward, even an inch at a time. You are worth it, mama.
“Full-time FindingJoy.net blogger, speaker, marketer, podcaster, and single mom of seven, Rachel Marie Martin presents a wake-up call to those of us who have found ourselves stuck in the 'I'm just a mom' phase of life.” - From Amazon.com
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