Excuses Need to be Used Sparingly.

Excuses Need to be Used Sparingly.

Doesn’t life get in the way sometimes?  You’ve committed yourself to an action.  Prepared to follow through and get the job done.  Then the unforeseeable pops up.  It happens.  What do we call a change in plans?  Excuses, reasons, explanations or justifications.

Is this an isolated occurrence or does it happen on a regular basis?  That’s what we look at in this post.

An internal alarm should be sounding off when you hear an excuse forming in your mind.  It’s worth thorough examination.  This could well be a blind spot in your thought processors.  Unaware your words and actions maybe holding you back.  This behaviour may even impact others.

Have you ever heard the beginning of the following sentences come out of your mouth?

  1. I can’t exercise today because….
  2. I detoured on my diet because…
  3. I was late because…
  4. I behaved the way I did because…

The top two show lack of discipline.  The excuse is so you’re not haunted all day from breaking a commitment to yourself.  Sloppy justifications make something we wanted changed, remain exactly where it is.  This attitude stagnates progress.

I ate cake when I was on my diet ‘because’…  Who do you think the excuse is for?  Nobody cares about your weight more than you do.

Success is not obtained overnight. It comes in installments; you get a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow until the whole package is given out. The day you procrastinate, you lose that day’s success. ― Israelmore Ayivor

Numbers 3 and 4 are justification for others.  You’re late and it impacts people you’re committed too.  How many times do you think this will be tolerated before you’re ‘that person’ in the team, people would prefer not to work with?  Would you rely on someone who is consistently late?

The contradiction.

Every day your friend arrives at work on time.  Yet when they meet others outside of business they’re late.  Each time they have a different excuse.  You listen to their explanations politely.  Regardless of how much we love and respect this person, we’re annoyed.

The cry wolf mentality.

Your reliable friend does not show up like they said they would.  You automatically begin to worry.  You start making calls.  Hoping everything is okay.  When they arrive you listen intently due to such odd behaviour.

As opposed to your other friend who is always late.  On one occasion something major goes wrong.  It’s their first valid reason.  There’s no concern as it’s their usual behaviour.  They never arrive on time.

You eventually find out it was bad news.  Yet it’s not given half as much attention or credence as that of a person who rarely lets us down.

Like crying wolf, if you keep looking for sympathy as a justification for your actions, you will someday be left standing alone when you really need help. ― Criss Jami

RELATED:  Positive and Negative Reinforcement Create Patterned Behaviour.


  • ‘I can’t do this’. Is no different to ‘I can’t do this because…
  • ‘No I won’t’. Rather than ‘No I won’t because…’

The ‘because’ will be followed by an excuse.  It is never the detail you will work with.  It’s the non-action that affects you.


A few examples.  Excuses where others are impacted.

  • A soldier has been killed. Do you think the family’s pain changes because of the excuse?
  • Think about when a bully has done wrong. No excuse is acceptable for their behaviour.
  • A car accident. No excuse will change the damage.
  • Say you’re moving house. Everything is organised, ready to go.  The Remover phones to cancel.  Explaining their reasons.  The only thing you hear is, he is a no-show.  The rest is irrelevant.  You either fall apart or go into survival mode.  Working out how to fix the inconvenience.
  • A parent with an addiction lets their children down. Research highlights the tragedy this creates within the family.  We understand the pull drugs has over a person.  The kid doesn’t care about the studies on addiction.  The child is affected by the actions.
  • “Sure I can make dinner for your party of five”. On the day, you ring up and say, “you can’t make dinner ‘because…’.”  The person on the receiving end can’t work with the excuse.  While you’re busy detailing why you have let them down they go into overdrive.  Thinking about how to fix their newly arrived dilemma.
  • “Mum and dad I was late home because I missed my train”. Do you think they care why you were late?  They become worried that something may have happened to you.  Parents don’t care for the excuse.  You agreed on a time and you did not meet it.

We have become comfortable with telling the story behind the action or lack thereof.

Excuses are similar to accessories we wear to complete an outfit.  They’re fancy, colourful and easy to present.  They’re not required but certainly spruce up the detail.

Excuses are similar to accessories worn with an outfit. Not required but certainly spruce up the detail. @thedigger0 Click To Tweet


Unraveling the use for excuse.

Mortgage repayments.

A man walks into his bank, terribly burdened at his job loss.  He is three months behind in his mortgage repayments.  If only the Manager hears him out, it will all be understood.  The man eagerly tells the Banker about a couple of interviews he has lined up.

Financial Institutions don’t care about excuses.  The man is not provided with extra time to balance what is owed, due to his job loss or future interviews.  An extension on the house repayments is written into bank policies.  Interest is still charged.  If he doesn’t meet the extended terms, legal proceedings will begin.

The rehearsal

Have you ever rehearsed an excuse?  What about brain storming?  Thinking of a number of explanations not to do such and such.  Rejecting several ideas before you come up with one that you think will be acceptable.  Attempting to let yourself off the hook.  Lying to get out of a commitment.

We do this is to reduce another person’s disappointment in us.  Do we make up these colourful excuses for others?  Or do we have these explanations ready so we don’t feel bad?

RELATED:  Excuses, excuses, excuses.  Why people lie, cheat and procrastinate.

Make it count.

There will be plenty of valid excuses why you can’t fulfil an obligation.  The future is not foreseeable, plans are re-arranged or cancelled by life’s demands.   Make sure when you affect others it’s for reasons that count.  Don’t become ‘that person’ who is known not to pull through.

RELATED:  What’s your excuse?

When the excuse becomes too much.

Its evaluation time when you’re weighed down by the excuses of another.  You may have to question what the connection is all about.

  • Is the relationship one sided? Is the other person putting as much into the relationship as you are?
  • Is the other person taking you for granted?
  • Should you address the issues with the other person?
  • Ask yourself; will it be acceptable to constantly endure a particular behaviour and the excuse that goes with it? If the answer is no, then you have to decide what to do next.
  • It may be time to re-evaluate the relationship and see if it’s worthy of continuing.
  • In a work situation a Manager would be addressing apparent excuses. Teams function well when everyone is pulling their weight.  Morale is lowered when individuals have to constantly cover for a work colleague.
Will it be acceptable to constantly endure a particular behaviour and the excuse that goes with it? Click To Tweet

In conclusion

If excuses are not used sparingly they become nothing more than fluff.  Often meaning commitment has been reneged upon.  An action is meant to take place and yet the complete opposite will happen.

We all know life presents many twists.  Plans are changed and re-organised at the last minute.  Don’t be ‘that-person’ who impacts everyone with continued justifications.  Unreliable backfires and trust is hard to regain.

Agreeing to terms and sticking with arrangements shows consistency.  When you don’t do as you said you would, people become immediately concerned.  You’re known for follow through and not for excuses.  That’s a reputation worth keeping.

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    • Hey Ahmad,

      The next post could be about procrastination, its been a subject hanging around for a while that I have been putting off. I’m procrastinating over procrastinating.

      I see it like a post. A lot of people put them off and put them off until the last minute. Yet they know they will do them, but under duress and stress. Not enjoying the process as much as what they could. This confirms to the brain that I don’t really enjoy writing posts, but really it’s due to the time frame they have to work under.

      When we investigate our excuses we usually tap into what we underlying issue is.


  1. Hi Rachel

    It is so easy to believe in the power of the excuse. We often see finding a great excuse almost as good as finding an alibi. Circumstances are the guilty party not me. I had every intention of doing the right thing.

    Even a great excuse always carry a question mark. Is it true? That is why even the best excuse has a shelf life. Use it more than once and it turns into a transparent lie.

    The more you paint over your wrongs with excuses the thinner the paint becomes. The simple truth is that the more excuses you make the more you reveal yourself as weak. An excuse in essence is powerless speech. When you have no power people can choose to walk over you it they want to.

    Great article as usual.

    • Hey Igert,

      None of us a free from excuses. We all have well hidden agendas. I don’t think I have ever come across a person who does not struggle in their own way with this issue. However once we cut out the crap and really want change, there is nothing that gets in the way.

      Excuses are a great way to offload responsibility. It’s a sin on the ‘self’. One really harms themselves for thinking like this. Being unconscious to it, is no different than being conscious of it with no change.

      I agree when we become comfortable with the excuses that fly out of our mouth, we do more damage to ourselves more so than anyone. If others are affected then we have double the trouble. Firstly for believing our lie and secondly because someone else was impacted.

      Your last sentence is someone else’s behaviour that is under the spotlight. When you have no power (power is subjective), people can choose to walk over you. That is their action, their behaviour. They are answerable to themselves for that even if it impacts you. Thanks for your comments.


  2. Hi, Rachel

    I totally agree with you that we can use “excuses” as sparingly as possible. It does affect other people to see who you are.

    As you pointed out, “excuses” do not remove the fact that they affect other people greatly. I feel kind of upset that the word “because” can make the person off the responsibility for not show up.

    will pass along!

    Stella Chiu
    Stella Chiu recently posted…No Health/Wellness Program can be Completed without FastingMy Profile

    • Hey Stella,

      That ‘because’ word is such an alarm bell Stella. It informs that that what ever should happen will no longer. I ate cake on my diet because… Says I did the exact opposite to what I wanted.

      When we disappoint ourselves we get to right a wrong anytime we like. We can continually do it, or not. Once we learn the lesson we are ready for change. However when we impact others, well that becomes a major issue. We have to be accountable for our words and actions, other wise we get a shonky reputation and credibility. Mud sticks and never do we want that kind of mud. Its hard to escape that, if you can at all.

      Thanks for your comments.


  3. Hey Rachel,
    Why do we make excuses? Sometimes I think it is because we have a hard time telling the truth because when we told the truth as children we often got into trouble for it. I think it is a softer way of us trying to communicate at times.I know myself I used to find excuses for my girlfriends because when I told them the truth they wouldn’t accept it. In the case of when I didn’t want to attend their party because I wasn’t interested in buying something, they would then badger me. So I would start to make excuses because it was easier.

    Now I just tell people the truth. Sometimes they don’t like it, but life is too short and I don’t have time for that.

    I also think that people sabbotage themselves because they are not ready. I myself have done this and with good reason.

    Loved the post as it was a good overview of the many different excuses.

    • Hey Jennifer,

      Its your first time to my blog, so welcome.

      I agree we learn to tells fibs early on. However as adult we have to make choices about what we want to stand for. Ask ourselves how we want to represent ourselves. I too have made those excuses to friends who won’t take no for answer. That goes into another issue of your friends not respecting our choices. They need to be trained that no means no. It either takes a little while to persistently say no or you lose them along the way. Of course we would prefer they accept us for who we are but it becomes rather trying when others want from us what we don’t want to do. I have a post written called, ‘Saying No, Its only being assertive’.

      Sounds as though you got rid of the old and embraced truth telling. It’s so much easier isn’t it? I still have a soft approach to no sometimes, but if pushed, I can hold my ground rather firmly. Once again I’d prefer it not come to that. No means no regardless of what tone or attitude is used.

      Thanks for your insightful and truthful comments.


  4. Hi Rachel,

    Great post! I am glad you tackled it the way you did, carefully laying out each detail.

    I try to avoid making excuses for not doing something or even doing it and then trying to justify why I did. Another way I look at it is that procrastination is the sum of all excuses that are made on a daily basis or God forbid over an entire lifetime.

    I agree that excuses need to be used sparingly. I also think excuses is bordering on not telling the whole truth.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a great day.

    • Hey Yvonne,

      I believe that when we know ourselves well enough and know what we want we slowly shed the excuses and get on with it. I say this in response to your comment about avoiding making excuses. When we hear them popping up in our mind we take notice of them. Push them aside and continue as planned. It’s like we no longer allow them to live. They’re not acceptable.

      I agree Yvonne, if we’re not careful we can put things off on a daily basis. Time can get away from us, habits are formed and a life time has passed. How scary.

      Excuses are bordering on not telling the whole truth or not wanting to face something. As our own self-awareness grows we can use excuses as triggers that set us off on an investigation into ourselves. They can come in handy to see where new stop signs are within ourselves.

      Thanks for your comments.


  5. Hi Rachel

    If too much of everything isn’t good, then too much of excuses as you shared makes people doubt your commitment.

    I do love the way you discussed this important factor with so many illustrations.

    I do give excuses but seriously hate them and work so hard to avoid them. Thanks for this awesome post. Take care Rachel

    • Hey Ikechi

      Sounds as though you are conscious about the excuses you make Ikechi. That is a good thing. It’s when we make excuses and aren’t even aware that is what we do – its an issue. Letting ourselves down or other people and providing an excuse will only work for so long.

      Thanks for popping over.


  6. Excuses are the worst. You will never be able to get things done if you always find excuses. So, if you want to succeed you have to get rid of excuses. Great article, I will give it to my friend that always uses excuses to not do anything, I hope it will help.

    • Hey Eliza,

      I agree with you, every time we give ourselves excuses, we stop getting things done.

      Information is key to transformations, hopefully your friend may take something from the article and turn herself around. Fingers crossed. Thanks for your comments.


    • Hey Priyanka,

      Being labeled as a person that can’t be relied upon, is a knock to our reputation. Why would we commit to something and then make an excuse not to do it, later on down the track. Maybe we should have said no in the first place. But we must be careful not to let down people continuously because they slowly but surely lose interest, because our excuses impact them.

      Thanks for your comments.


    • Hey Rishabh,

      If our excuses are not genuine it really can hurt others. For myself, if I am using an excuse it had better be the truth or I feel I rip myself off first. There is nothing worse than when we become aware that others can’t depend on us because we have taken them for granted and expect them to continually accept us letting them down.


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