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Stop Making Excuses and DO Something!

sometimes we build our own cages

sometimes we build our own cages

Between the drama with my son, dealing with my cousin’s finances (including a billion late bills because he never bothered to pay them), and somehow fitting in time for my own life, I’ve been super stressed this week. As some of you know, when I get frustrated, I tend to get all ranty. So I’ll just tell you like it is.

I’m not special. Neither is anyone else. We all have crappy days or weeks, we all get stressed, and sometimes we all have more than we can handle. It can be very therapeutic to whine to your friends, but eventually, you only have two choices. You can keep whining until your friends don’t want to talk to you anymore. Or you can do something about it.

I’m so tired of excuses. Everyone has them, including me. Now some people have reasons – for example, you can’t run a marathon if you don’t have any legs. That’s a reason. But saying “I can’t run a marathon because [insert just about any other explanation other than not having legs]” is just crap.

I am capable of running a marathon. But I choose not to. Because I’m lazy and out of shape and I smoke so much I’d probably fall over in the first three minutes. That’s the difference, though. I will never say I CAN’T. I’ll just say I choose not to or I won’t.

Stop saying, “I don’t have time.”

I’m horrible about this. For some reason, I’ve got it in my head that I spend my days doing super important things that cannot be interrupted by other things. Yet I never miss an episode of The Walking Dead. I never go an entire day without checking my email, Twitter, or Facebook. Hell would freeze over before I would miss FINCON12 in September.

We make time for the things we want to do most. Let me repeat: We make time for the things we want to do most.

If you aren’t accomplishing something, it’s because it’s not as important as something else. Period. Instead of saying “I don’t have time,” tell the truth. “I had other things to do that I decided were more important.”

Obviously if you work 24 hours a day and never do anything else, you are exempt. But then again, you wouldn’t be reading this post because that’s time you don’t have.

Stop saying, “I don’t know how.”

We live in a society where we can literally find out ANYTHING we want to know. Want someone’s phone number and address? You might have to pay, but you can get it. Want to learn how to toilet train your cat? There are YouTube tutorials. Want to build a bookshelf? Go to and knock yourself out.

Google is your friend, folks. If googling doesn’t lead you to an answer, you need to improve your google fu. (It’s like kung fu, only geekier.) I cannot think of a single question that Google cannot answer.

Too many people want someone else to do their work for them. Or they just want to whine “I don’t know how” and not do things at all. I’m tired of it. Shut your mouth and freaking ASK SOMEONE. Or read a book. Or google it. It’s really not that complicated. Otherwise, be honest and say, “I am not willing to learn how.” Then pay someone else to do it for you, because that’s what happens when you won’t learn to do things yourself.

If your IQ is below 70… Well, no, that’s not an excuse either, because Forrest Gump never said he didn’t know how to do something. Okay. If your IQ is so low that you cannot feed yourself, or if you are a vegetable, you are allowed to say you don’t know how. But again, you wouldn’t be reading this post right now, so I’m not talking to you.

Stop saying, “I can’t take the risk.”

A friend of mine wants to audition for one of the TV singing competitions; I’m not sure which one. He talks about it constantly, and he really does have an amazing singing voice. But he gets hung up on what ifs. What if he doesn’t make it? What if his voice cracks? What if there’s a snowstorm and he wrecks his car and damages his larynx, rendering him unable to speak or sing ever again?

My question for him is always, what if you DO make it? And what really happens if you fail? I’m pretty sure no one kills you or takes your birthday away. But how will you ever know if you sit around worrying that something may not work out?

Being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid. It means you take action despite being afraid.

I’m not advising anyone to leap without a parachute. Don’t blindly run after opportunities to the detriment of everything else in your life. For instance, I would never audition for a singing competition because I know I can’t sing. That said, if you know you have a talent or passion for something (which means at least 3 people outside your family have told you so, because friends and relatives lie), give it a shot!

If you fail, at least the question is answered. The chapter is finished. Time to move on.

Instead of saying, “I can’t take the risk,” say, “I’m too scared to take the risk.” And work through your fears. Otherwise shut up about it or hire a therapist, because after awhile people just think you’re fishing for compliments.

What’s Your Excuse?

All of us put things off or avoid taking action at times. I could make a list of all the things I’m avoiding right now, and I could give you a reason for every one of them. But anything I said would be an excuse.

The fact is, there is nothing on my to-do list that is impossible. There are things that are undesirable. There are things that are difficult. And there are definitely things that are boring. However, no matter how much I complain, none of those tasks are going to disappear.

You can whine and stress out, or you can take action. Those are your choices. Anything else is crap.

What are you avoiding right now, whether in your financial life or elsewhere? What excuses do you use to justify procrastinating, and what are the REAL reasons you aren’t taking action?

About Andrea Whitmer

Andrea is a freelance web developer and mom trying to maintain a sense of humor in an otherwise chaotic world. She blogs in hopes of helping others avoid the same mistakes she made in the past. Join in the discussion here on So Over This, or connect on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Google Plus. You can also subscribe to new posts via RSS so you never miss out!


  1. LOL Consider my behind well and truly kicked.  I am off to finish plastering my sons room – been putting it off all day

  2. YourFinancesSimplifi says:

    My excuse for procrastinating problem stems from my fear of failure.  I have this weird thing were I think I work better with 5 minutes to go.  Some things literally require me to have a gun to my head before I start working on them.  Thank goodness it hasn't been anything financial (like creating a spending plan :::snickers::).  Right now I'm avoiding creating the advertisements for my staff writing business.. I need to get that done before the weekend.  Oh and don't get me started on cold  calling for my financial planning company 🙁

    • I'm a horrible procrastinator. In college and grad school, I could NOT write a paper until the day before it was due. It's like I needed the pressure of the deadline to produce anything decent. I'm getting over it, though. On the weeks when I actually get ahead on posts, for example, I'm amazed by how much lower my stress level is. Just need to apply that consistently!

  3. I need to stop saying that I don't have time! Because I clearly do.

  4. YES.

  5. Need to write more content for my upcoming site and finish the design. Putting it off cuz I'm scared it's gonna suck and be horrible. I need to get my list together and get to writing. Maybe I'll do that after my blog reading this morning unless our systems are miraculously repaired prior to that. Hmm.

    • Don't be scared! I felt the same way when I started. Now when I go back and read my first few months of posts, I cringe because they're so awful. But I do like being able to see the improvements in my posts over time. And no one was reading in the beginning anyway, so it's okay!

      The important thing is just to get started. It won't suck. And it will take awhile, but people will read and you'll enjoy it. I can't wait to see it!

      • I should be ready to publish the first posts this weekend. I worked out most of the kinks (crossing fingers, toes, etc) last weekend. During the week I refuse to mess with the technical stuff because I end up staying up past my bedtime and rolling out of bed with about 5 mins to make it to work when I do that.

  6. Tell it like it is sister!  Can I get an amen? AMEN!

  7. There are plenty of reasons why people can't run a marathon. I can't run a marathon because of a muscular disorder. I can probably walk it. Other than that, good rant. 

  8. I like this post a LOT! I have a saying on my wall, "Put on your big girl panties and deal with it." That's what I feel like you're saying here. Keep it up!

    • OMG I hate the word "panties" so much! LOL

      But yes, that's what I was saying. I get so tired of hearing people (including myself) whine. The fact that we have computers and internet access tells me that none of us really have a justification for all the complaining we do.

  9. Love this post! I actually wrote something similar on my fitness blog last week – no more excuses, just DO it! Today, I *chose* not to go to the gym and swim, because I was tired. But I made a choice. I will go run, because I'm feeling better now. As for my debt – I'm *choosing* to take a fairly pricey vacation for my 40th birthday. I have a plan to pay for it, but I'm not making excuses. I do have problems with making excuses about marketing my services to do freelance work though – I'm afraid, I'm lazy, I have no idea where to start – but I'm working to get over those excuses. 🙂 And Google is your friend. 🙂

    • Ugh, I don't want to think about exercise. My excuses are NUMEROUS. I need a yoga mat because I have hardwood floors (you know, because a blanket won't work). I'm tired. I'll start on a Monday so I have a schedule. I might be coming down with something – better not exercise! I need better shoes. I don't have any workout clothes. I could keep going forever.

      The fact is, I hate exercise and I'm not yet at the point where I'm freaking out about my weight or my health. So until that happens, I'll sit around and make excuses.

  10. Good blog! 

  11. I love it!  When you cut the crap and get rid of the lame-o excuses, only then can you really start succeeding in life.  More people need to learn that.

    • I used to tell my clients in therapy constantly, "Unless you look past your excuses, you'll be paying for appointments with me for the rest of your life." Surprisingly that seemed to work for a lot of people, but some will never change. 


  13. Your point on time management hit home for me.  I do have too many things to do, who doesn't, but I need to change my priorities a bit and make time for other important things in my life.

    • That's the biggest one for me as well. I know I'm capable of accomplishing a lot more than I do now. But I waste a lot of time going, "What do I do next?" A little time spent planning better would probably go a long way for me.

  14. Jeff @ Sustainable L says:

    Great post.  I know exactly what you mean.  
    And do your friend the "what if" machine – next time he says that say "well what if your aunt had balls" 
    and he'd say "I dont know" then you say "well she'd be your uncle"

  15. Preach It!

  16. Truth.

    I've been avoiding making an eye doctor appointment, and I say it's because I "can't find time"… but it's really because I hate getting my vision checked and I don't want to go. 

    I'm also avoiding cleaning, but I don't even make any excuses for that one- I just don't want to, and I'm not afraid to admit it! 

    • I actually like going to the eye doctor, but that's because I'm legally blind without my contacts. By the time my annual exam comes up, I've usually been squinting for months and can't wait to get my new prescription! I dream of the day I can afford Lasik.

      I have no comment on cleaning. No comment at all. =P

  17. My problem isn't so much a lack of time, but rather a profusion of ideas.

    • That happens to me as well, though maybe not in the same way. I keep thinking of new stuff I want to do, and I plan it all out, then realize I need to focus on some urgent thing that I neglected while I was thinking up the new thing. I keep saying I would be fine if I could just stop thinking of new ideas!

      • Yep its exactly in that way Andrea.  I end up neglecting the things that really need doing as I flesh out or research each new idea.  I've short circuited that somewhat now by writing these ideas down when they come to me and only allowing myself Sunday's to pull that notebook out and work on new things.

  18. I cannot STAND when people say "I don't know how" and leave it at that. Seriously, google and wiki what you don't know and then seek out qualified professionals for input. What "I don't know how" really translates to is "do it for me, because I've survive on learned helplessness."

    Great post!

    • Yep! All I hear is, "I want someone to do it for me." And it gets on my last nerve. Personally, I HATE admitting I don't know how to do something. I prefer to pretend I know what I'm talking about, then go home and google frantically to figure it out. 😉

  19. Vtsioriginal says:

    Well said.  One thing I realized when I got to be about 30 or so is that all of those people you see – politicians, businessmen, managers, rock starts, etc… are all just people.  They had the same worries and feelings of inferiority we all have.  They just decided to go for it anyway, and kept working at it until they made it.

  20. Time to tackle my to-do list and crush it. 

  21. The "I don't have time" excuse is a huge pet peeve of mine too. I am in total agreement with your logic here. People only make time for the things that are important to them.

  22. BOOM! Could this post have come at a better time for me to read it? Nope. See what I just posted on my blog about feeling stuck.

    Thanks for saying this. Reminds me of the Ani DiFranco lyric in the song Pixie, "Maybe you don't like your job, maybe you didn't get enough sleep, NOBODY likes their job, NOBODY got enough sleep, maybe you just had the worst day of your life, there's no escape, there's no excuse, so just suck up and be nice, be nice, be nice, be nice." It's one of my mantras. 🙂

  23. Never believed in excuses, only that we make our own choices based on what is important to us at the time.  I agree with others who commented about fear of failure being a factor in why we don't take action.  

  24. I love this article.  You really do make time for whats important and you have a choice every day, make more time for what you want to do and sacrifice time on other things.  You can't have everything and you have to prioritize.  I've been jogging ever day since the beginning of lent.  And on days when I'd rather sleep than hop on the tredmill for ten minutes all I can think is that tehre are people out there who have way more on their plates than I do and they manage to work out, manage businesses, and juggle social lives too.  If it's important to me I better put in the time.

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