Ditching Excuses, Building Habits: A Roadmap to Personal Growth

Published: April 26, 2023
Author: Heidi Uskaure
”Hey there, I'm Heidi! I launched this blog back in January of 2023 and I'm having a blast writing in a laidback style. Although, my ultimate goal is to become a pro writer one day. Thanks for joining me on this journey!”

Once upon a time, I had this grand plan of always kickstarting my healthy lifestyle on Mondays. But guess what? That plan went out the window faster than a toddler’s attention span. #nevergonnahappen #passmethatbagofchips

Oh, woe is me; why must the universe constantly test my patience? Does anyone else relate to this tragic comedy?

Excuses are a common and often frowned-upon phenomenon in human behaviour. They justify actions or lack thereof and shift blame or responsibility onto external factors. While excuses may offer temporary relief or escape from accountability, they can have detrimental effects on personal growth, relationships, and overall well-being.


What are excuses exactly?

Excuses can come in many forms and can be used in different situations. For instance, in the workplace, employees may make excuses for missed deadlines, poor performance, or lack of initiative. Students may use excuses to explain late assignments, poor grades, or failure to complete required readings. In personal relationships, individuals may make excuses for failing to keep promises, neglecting responsibilities, or not being emotionally available. Excuses can also be made for health and fitness, such as avoiding exercise or making poor dietary choices. Regardless of the context, excuses often serve as a way to avoid taking ownership of one’s actions or to evade facing consequences.

Excuses are like mosquitoes – they’re annoying, swarm around you, and if you don’t swat them away, they’ll suck all the progress out of you. You’ll soon find yourself stuck in a swamp of laziness and avoidance, with no problem-solving skills to paddle your way out. And let’s face it, blaming others is much easier than admitting you spilt coffee all over your keyboard, and now you can’t finish that report.


The Cost of Excuses

Moreover, constantly hearing excuses from others can be tiring and frustrating. It can lead to a lack of trust, as it may be perceived as a lack of commitment, reliability, or sincerity. Hearing excuses repeatedly can also be demotivating, as it can create a sense of futility in holding others accountable or expecting them to meet their obligations. Over time, the constant barrage of excuses can lead to disillusionment, disappointment, and a breakdown in relationships and communication.

In contrast, taking ownership of one’s actions and being accountable can have numerous benefits. It can foster personal growth, as it encourages self-reflection, self-improvement, and resilience in the face of challenges. It can also strengthen relationships, building trust, reliability, and respect. Being accountable can also improve one’s reputation, as it demonstrates integrity, professionalism, and a willingness to take responsibility for one’s actions and decisions.


How to break a habit?

Picture this – you’re planted at your desk, eyeballing a never-ending list of tasks, feeling like a sloth on a Monday morning. The mere idea of embarking on that journey seems like a trek up Everest, and suddenly you’re second-guessing yourself, concocting outlandish excuses to avoid the inevitable.

Last year I stumbled upon the holy grail of life-changing podcasts: Mel Robbin’s five-second rule was one of them. Now that I look back at it, it was like a superhero swooping in to save my sorry ass from the depths of despair. Although seemingly inconsequential at the time, the occurrence profoundly impacted my life.

The 5-second rule is not about waiting for motivation to strike or convincing yourself to feel differently. It’s about recognising that our minds can quickly develop negative thought patterns that hold us back from taking action. It’s about interrupting those thoughts and shifting our focus towards action within 5 seconds.

The 5-second rule can be applied in various situations. It can be a powerful tool to tackle procrastination, confidently make decisions, and overcome fears of taking risks or stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s a game-changer in breaking through self-imposed limitations and pushing yourself towards your goals.

What’s fascinating about the 5-second rule is that it challenges the notion that motivation is always necessary for action. It acknowledges that motivation can be fickle and unreliable; instead, it relies on momentum. Taking action within 5 seconds creates a sense of positive momentum that propels you forward, even when lacking motivation.

So, the next time you find yourself hesitating or procrastinating, remember the 5-second rule. Count backwards from five, and take action before your doubts take over. Embrace the power of momentum and watch how it transforms your ability to take charge of your actions and create positive change in your life.

When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running.”

James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

“Atomic Habits” provides practical insights and actionable strategies for understanding and improving our habits. It emphasises the power of tiny changes, the habit loop, and the role of the environment in shaping our behaviours. By applying these insights, readers can develop self-discipline, break bad habits, and build positive, life-lasting changes.

Meditation is not about getting rid of all your thoughts; it’s learning not to get so lost in them that you forget what your goal is. Don’t worry if your focus isn’t perfect when meditating. Just practice coming back to the breath, again and again.”

Kelly McGonigal, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It

“The Willpower Instinct” provides a scientific and practical understanding of self-control and offers strategies for improving willpower. It emphasises the role of the brain and the impact of mindset and beliefs and provides actionable techniques for strengthening self-control in various aspects of life.

The Map of Self-discovery

Self-discovery is like a treasure hunt, but you uncover new things about yourself instead of gold and jewels. It’s like those Russian nesting dolls; the deeper you go, the more surprises you find. It’s like a diving expedition, but you explore your mind instead of the ocean floor. And trust me, the deeper you dive, the more fun you’ll have with fellow divers. So get your flippers on and start exploring! Here’s a map I composed for you to follow.

Soul-searching adventure: Embark on a thrilling journey of self-discovery where you delve deep into your inner world, armed with curiosity and self-reflection as your trusty companions.

Passion pursuit: Unleash your inner explorer and uncover your passion. Let your adventurous spirit lead the way from trying new hobbies to indulging in activities that make your heart skip a beat.

Dare to be bold: Break free from the confines of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to take risks. Whether it’s conquering a fear, taking on a new challenge, or venturing into the unknown, embrace the excitement of pushing your boundaries.

Embrace your uniqueness: Discover and celebrate your strengths and weaknesses, quirks and idiosyncrasies that make you who you are. Embrace the beauty of your individuality and use it as a guiding compass on your journey of self-exploration.

Goal-getting game: Set yourself up for success by setting meaningful and achievable goals in different areas of your life. From career aspirations to personal growth targets, let your dreams be your guiding star and strive towards making them a reality.

Nurturing self-care: Treat yourself with the utmost care by prioritizing self-care practices that nourish your body, mind, and soul. From indulging in exercise, healthy eating, and quality sleep to practising mindfulness, self-care is the fuel that powers your self-discovery engine.

Learning from the past: Reflect on your past experiences, both good and bad, and extract valuable lessons from them. Embrace the wisdom gained from your triumphs and tribulations, and use them as stepping stones towards a brighter future.

Insights from others: Seek feedback from those who know you best, be it your trusted friends, family, or mentors. Gain fresh perspectives and insights about yourself from their observations, and use them as a mirror to understand your reflection better.

Embracing change: Embrace change as a thrilling adventure that opens doors to new possibilities. Embrace the twists and turns of life with an open heart and an open mind, as they can reveal new facets of yourself.

Patience and self-love: Remember that self-discovery is a lifelong odyssey that requires patience and self-compassion. Celebrate your progress, be kind to yourself, and revel in the joy of uncovering the mysteries of your being. Let the journey be as fascinating as the destination!

Be kind & don’t go changing,
x Heidi



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