Excuses vs. Reasons
By Steph Beth Nickel
Do you scold yourself when you don’t get everything done on your daily To-Do List or when you don’t achieve everything you’d hoped to achieve?
Beating yourself up about it rarely, if ever, gets the job done.
However, we all must be honest with ourselves and evaluate if we’re making excuses or have legitimate reasons for failing to cross everything off our list.
Excuses include the following (just ask me how I know):
- Watching “just one more” episode of a show we’re enjoying…or, at least, tolerating.
- Scrolling through our newsfeed for “just a few more minutes.”
- Thinking, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” (Trust me; I put the PRO in procrastination.)
On the other side of the coin are legitimate reasons for not achieving the things on our list:
- Something truly urgent comes up that demands our immediate attention.
- Our expectations of ourselves are unreasonable.
- Our physical and/or emotional well needs refilling.
These are only a handful of examples, but you get the idea.
And now for the good news!
Whether you’ve been making excuses or have perfectly good reasons for what you do or don’t get done, there are ways you can silence that finger-wagging inner voice:
- If you make a To-Do List or simply record deadlines and occasions you don’t want to miss, prioritize your list. What is time-sensitive and something you must/really want to remember? To make sure you don’t miss anything important, write it down somewhere you will check often—whether in a paper planner or on an app.
- While it’s important to take other people’s feelings and ideas into consideration, be careful not to allow their priorities to influence your schedule unless those priorities line up with what you believe to be God’s plans and purposes for you.
- Be reasonable. There are only so many hours in the day, and you’re only one person.
- If you don’t achieve everything on your list, be honest with yourself. Did you have legitimate reasons, or did you find yourself making excuses?
- If you find you’re making excuses, choose ONE to work on until it’s no longer a default. Don’t try to eliminate all the excuses at once, or you’ll simply become frustrated and scold yourself even more.
- Get into the habit of making an Accomplishments or Victory List. Record what you get done and regularly review the list. It will help when you’re tempted to become discouraged. (Include household chores and running errands. It may feel like you’re getting very little done, but an itemized list will put that misconception to rest.)
- As believers, committing our day to the Lord before we get out of bed, praying over each task, and laying down what we did or did not achieve before Him each night will make a huge difference in how we create our To-Do Lists. It will also help us keep our focus where it belongs and will make us more sensitive to His leading.
Be positive. Be patient. And be prayerful.
Steph Beth Nickel is an editor, writer, and birth doula. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org;
join her Facebook group:
or visit her website-in-progress: nurtureandinspire.com.