Have you heard of the spiritual ritual of fasting? It’s giving up something for a period of time, to focus on something more important to you. I’d like to convince you to fast from…excuses!

  1. Recognize the futility and powerlessness of excuse-making. I’ve heard it said that “Excuses are the loser in you talking” and “You can make progress or make excuses—never both.” When you realize how destructive excuses are to your path to success, it’s a wake-up call for restricting yourself from declaring them.
  2. Decide to fast from excuses for 30 days.  Similar to the campaign to be “complaining-free” for a set period of time, declare to your circle of influence on social media that you will not make an excuse for any inaction you’ve committed to. Saying your resolve aloud and putting it in writing gives it more power, and allows others to hold you accountable if they hear you slip back into old patterns.
  3. Develop a simple feedback system.  Whether it’s moving a wristband from one wrist to another when you excuse your behavior, or moving a coin from one pocket to another, find a tactile way to keep score if you stay on track or mess up. You could also journal how well you did on your fast or make a simple chart on a calendar or white board.
  4. Replace excuses with ownership. To fill the void of not blaming something/someone else for dropping a ball, start a new habit of taking responsibility for the miscue and apologizing for the impact on that individual or your team. Simply say something like: “that’s on me. I’m sorry for not getting it done on time. You can expect it by ___, and I promise to keep it on schedule from now on–or give you a heads-up sooner.”  The model is to:
    1. Own it. “my bad”
    2. Apologize to the person/group who are affected.
    3. Make amends to make it right.
    4. Re-up the commitment to being dependable.

After 30 days, you may want to incorporate this into your way of life. It’s worth it. And respect for you will skyrocket!

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