A list of 101 excuses that you need to discard now

Presenting a list of 101 excuses that are preventing you from living your happiest and healthiest life—throw them out of your life now!

101 lame excuses imprinted on the back of a shaved head

— With inputs from CW editorial team

There are many things we’d like to do—join that course, take that vacation, reach on time, go for the daily jog, start that business and so on. These are things we really want to do but….

Then, there are several things we already do—like smoking, procrastination or overspending—that harm us one way or another. We do them because…

The ‘buts’ and ‘becauses’ are nothing more than justifications for our self-defeating behaviours. Strip them bare of their deceptive cloaks and you’ll see them for what they really are—lame excuses. Lame as they are, these excuses are also tricky. Because, they are disguised as genuine rationales.

Excuses become our allies in avoiding discomfort, escaping responsibility, evading blame and continuing in our self-limiting comfort zones. Above all, they reassure us that our actions serve us.

Experts say that excuses are traitors that rob us the chance at realising our potential and experiencing life at its best. We undertook the mission of exposing the imposters and went looking for excuses in different areas of life—career, health, nutrition and even self-growth. And you’d be surprised at how many we dragged out—101!

Watch them closely as we parade them in front of you one by one, exposing their deceit. Pay special attention to the first 10 excuses, for they are the master deceivers—flexible enough to be used by anyone, anytime, and for anything and everything. These generic excuses are followed by 91 specific ones that we often use and abuse in different areas of our life.

Once we uncover their guise, it’s up to you: continue embracing them or simply let them go. Here they come…

A list of 101 lame excuses you ought to discard now

~ COMMON EXCUSES ~

1. I’m too old / too young

Bill Gates was 20 when he founded Microsoft. George Bernard Shaw was 94 when he wrote one of his plays. At 65, American Fitness Legend Jack LaLanne swam, handcuffed and shackled, pulling 65 boats weighing 6,500 pounds with his strength. These individuals could achieve their respective feats because they knew that age is only in the mind. What about you?

2. I’ll do it when…

Procrastination is the number one excuse in the world. But by using it, you’re fooling no one but yourself. There is no better time than now to do what you really want or need. Dragging your feet may have short-term gain but it is accompanied with long-term pain.

3. I’ve never done it before / I don’t know how to do it

Aren’t you glad you didn’t use this excuse when you began to walk as a baby? Unless you do it once, how will you do it again? Look back at your life and you will discover that there was a first time to many things that you do with ease now: reading, writing, cycling, driving, swimming… the list is endless.

4. I can’t find time

If you can’t find time for yourself, what is it that you are so busy doing? Ask yourself if what’s keeping you busy is really worth your time. If you can’t find time to exercise, to be with your family, to relax, to take a vacation, to eat well, to meet friends or to meditate, there’s only one reason for it: they are much lower in your list of priorities. Make space for them in your life and you’ll find time for them.

5. It’s risky

There is risk in everything—even walking on the road isn’t risk-free. You don’t stop living because living is risky, do you? The degree of risk-averseness is a factor of your beliefs. Once you know that risk is inherent in all aspects of life, you can alter your belief and be more open to taking risks.

6. This is how I am/I was born this way

Blaming your genes appears to be the most irrefutable excuse. It’s also one of the most overused. But when you cite this excuse, what you’re really saying is that you’re only a puppet and there’s nothing in your control. The truth is that you are the master of your own thoughts and you can make any change you want in your thinking the moment you decide to.

7. I’ve always been unfortunate

Have you ever wondered why successful individuals do not accredit luck? They have several ‘failures’ behind them. Rarely does great success come without several unsuccessful attempts. Stop labelling failure as bad luck and see your luck change.
Read Why failure is good for you.

8. I don’t have the patience

If your impatience is coming in the way of your goals, ask yourself: what’s the hurry? In this Universe, every phenomenon follows its own time-table and if you come to terms with this unalterable reality, patience will become your ally.

9. I don’t deserve it

Who decides this and what are the parameters? Those who get what they want, do so not because they ‘deserve’ it but because they desire it. You deserve everything you would like, provided your desire, and willingness to get it, is strong enough.

10. Everybody does that!

That’s an over-generalisation we all can do without. Sure, many people bribe, break traffic laws, or cheat on taxes. But for every one person who does something wrong, there are several who do the right thing. Why not take the latter as an excuse to do what is right?

101 excuses: Hourglass with red sand
Making time for what’s really important in life is the key to health and happiness

And now, for the unique excuses each one of us makes in the various areas of our lives…

~ EXCUSES FOR POOR EATING HABITS~

11. My wife doesn’t cook healthy

Hmm… sounds like a serious problem. May be you could limit your intake of those foods that you feel are unhealthy and supplement them with fruits or salads. Besides, if you explain the benefits of switching to healthier foods to your wife, we bet she will join in.

12. If only healthy foods were tastier….

There is a lot more to healthy food than bland and boiled veggies. A quick search on the internet or a neighbouring bookstore will give you more than enough options to satisfy your body’s nutrition requirements… and please your taste buds. Check out our recipe section for healthy and tasty recipes to get started.

13. Eat healthy? Duh! I eat all my meals outside

Are you sure you really want to eat healthy? Because, not all outside food is unhealthy. For the determined, there are plenty of healthy options to choose from—salads, sandwiches, roasted or baked dishes. All you need is to make a decision. Here’s an article that explains how you can stick to healthy eating even while eating out.

14. Healthy foods burn a big hole in my pocket

Better than getting a big hole in your heart, right? Please note that in the long-term, healthy food saves you a lot more money that you would spend on the so-called ‘inexpensive’ food—like doctor’s fees or even the cost of hospitalisation. And if you still feel the pinch, shop for healthy foods at discount stores or the wholesale market.

15. I  finish leftovers only to avoid wasting food

But if you eat more than your body needs, you’re still wasting food—either your body will throw it out or then store it needlessly. Besides, stuffing affects your health adversely. If you feel compelled to not throw food for some reason, reduce your own portion size so you can eat those leftovers without stuffing yourself.

16. Turning down offer of food is impolite

First, be polite to your body. If you force yourself to eat when you don’t feel like, it is being rude to your body—it’ll retaliate. There are many good ways to say no. Think of a few and keep them handy in case of emergencies.

17. I overeat only when I’m feeling sad / lonely

Do you really think that a donut or a pastry has the power to make you happy? Emotional overeating is almost always followed by a further deterioration in your emotional state. That is why, the only reason to eat is hunger. Everything else is an excuse that harms more than helps.

18. I endure those dumb TV shows only to pass my time during dinner

Eating while watching TV increases your food [read calories] intake and ups your chances of obesity*. Also, since your attention is on the TV, you don’t chew the food properly and this affects your digestion. Why not have your meals with your family instead? Not only will this strengthen your bond, it will also take care of your boredom.
*Canadian Institutes for Health Research

101 lame excuses: woman eating with pleasure
Make it a point to eat only when you’re hungry and you will never regret

~ EXCUSES FOR POOR PERSONAL CARE ~

19. Yes, I wear high heels. How else do I get people to notice me?

High heels cause back and ankle pain because our feet are not designed to wear them. But if you want to look taller, opt for wedges, platforms, chunky heels or restrict the heel height to less than three inches. And by the way, people stand out because of values such as character and talent, not because of their height.

20.  Why floss when I brush?

Because, flossing is not an alternative to brushing. Flossing removes food remnants and plaque from areas between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. Besides, according to recent studies, it reduces the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Need more reasons?

21. Sun rays are bad but sunscreen makes my skin prone to pimples

UV rays from the sun can cause more serious damage than pimples. Skin cancer, for instance. Besides, they make you look 50 even when you’re in your 30s. If you’re still concerned about an outbreak, why not look for non-comedogenic, oil-free sunscreen brands? Read what a skin doctor has to say about choosing sunscreens.

22. I love dressing up but isn’t it vain?

If you dress merely to impress, then your fears are justified. However, if you dress for yourself, you will look good and feel happy—and you won’t care about what others think.

23. Bathing twice is a criminal waste of water

It’s important to bathe twice a day—especially if you are outdoors a lot. In fact, taking a warm shower after a tiring day, just before going to bed, can be very relaxing and de-stressing. BTW, all you need for a good bath is a bucketful of water, not a water tanker.

24. Washing makes my hair dry and frizzy

Does that mean you will let the oil and sweat build till the scalp gets itchy and dirty? Try washing it with a mild shampoo followed by a conditioner. Here are a few steps to help you revive your dry and damaged hair.

25. Shaving makes the hair grow coarser. Besides, a stubble looks macho

Shaving does not affect the texture of your facial hair; in fact, it helps remove a layer of dead skin cells from your face, leaving it healthier and suppler. As for looking macho, there are better ways.

26. Of course one must wash hands before eating, but mine are clean… can’t you see?

Alas! Our eyes don’t come equipped with a microscope. Germs are too tiny to be visible to the naked eye, so looking clean does not mean being clean. Face it—you’re being plain lazy. Washing hands before eating is as important as it is after using the washroom.

27. I use old make-up, and nothing’s happened to me so far

This is toxic, bacteria-laden stuff that you are applying on your skin. Most cosmetics don’t carry an expiry date, but if your make-up has become lumpy and smells funny, the right place for it is in the bin, not on your skin.

28. Stink? It’s my overactive sweat glands

Your generous sweat glands are no reason for ignoring body odour. Save yourself the embarrassment [and others the torture] by investing in a good deodorant/perfume. Find out ways to smell good.

101 lame excuses: Women's hands washed inthe basin
The importance of washing hands properly cannot be emphasised enough

~ EXCUSES TO AVOID REGULAR EXERCISE ~

29. The gym is for well-built fitness freaks — I am out-of-shape

Those fitness freaks are well-built because they go to the gym. You must understand that shaping up takes time, effort, perseverance—and regular visits to the gym!

30. I need a partner to exercise

Why not join the neighbourhood sports club or your local gym, where you’ll meet many people with fitness goals similar to yours? You can befriend them with a simple hi or a smile. You can then work out together.

31. I am not obese

Congratulations! But who said you had to be obese to exercise? Did you know that each year at least 1.9 million people—both thin and fat—die as a result of physical inactivity? Exercise keeps your body working at its optimum and keeps you energetic and strong. Read about the top 10 workout misconceptions.

32. My daily schedule is no less than a workout

Unless you are into manual labour, your daily chores amount to zilch and they certainly can’t substitute for a good workout session. Stop fooling yourself and get some real exercise.

33. There is no gym in my neighbourhood

OK. But a gym is not the only place to exercise in. You can work out just as efficiently at home using basic fitness equipment. You could also go brisk-walking or jogging or try playing a good physical sport. Whatever you do, do it regularly.

34. Whenever I workout, I end up hurting myself

So? It only means you are doing it wrong. Every person’s body has unique endurance levels and limitations. Consult your trainer to design a fitness programme according to yours. It’s just a matter of doing it right. Read about workout injuries.

35. Exercise is so monotonous…

That’s a good one, but we have a solution for you. Ask your trainer to add some variety to your exercise programme or make it interesting yourself. Or find interesting ideas in fitness books/magazines and on the internet. Just be sure to verify the credibility of the information before you try anything.

36. I feel more tired after working out, what’s the use?

Are you trying to do too much, too fast? If you overexert yourself, it is bound to make you sore and exhausted. A proper workout should, on the contrary, energise you. Take it easy my friend, there’s no hurry.

101 excuses: happy woman exercising with a gym ball
Make exercise part of your daily routine — no excuses!

~ EXCUSES THAT HARM YOUR HEALTH ~

37. Checking my blood pressure makes me nervous

Dealing with nervousness is easier and cheaper than dealing with those hospital bills. If you don’t check your blood pressure, you will not know if something is wrong and won’t be able to take corrective measures in time.

38. Why waste money on health check-ups? My reports are always normal

Are we missing a point here? You ought to be celebrating if your reports are clear, not complaining about it. Health checks are for you to detect a problem well in time. Maintenance is always better [and more elegant] than repair.
Read 9 ways to a healthy and long life.

39. What a whiner I’ll look like if I tell people about my constant knee pain

Should we say kudos on your bravado? Concealing physical pain doesn’t prove how brave you are, it just worsens matters. Share your problem with your family and physician and take steps to treat it.

40. I am feeling better now; why continue the antibiotics?

Feeling better doesn’t mean getting well. The bacteria need to be totally eliminated from your system. If you discontinue the meds midway, they may come back with a vengeance. You may then need stronger antibiotics… and for longer.

41. My doc will feel offended if I keep sharing my doubts

Would you rather offend your own body then? Don’t hesitate to have questions about your disease or medicine answered. Doctors should only be glad to help you. And if yours gets offended or doesn’t have the time, then it’s better to change your doctor.
Read Between You and Your Doctor.

42. My tooth is hurting but not so bad that I need to visit the dentist

Of course, you should wait longer for it to decay… then the visit to the dentist would at least be worth the fees. Get your tooth treated when the pain is still bearable, and your visit will be brief. If you don’t, your procrastination will certainly cause you a lot of grief.

43. Alternative therapies don’t have a scientific basis

What do you need—hard-bound reports of their credibility? Many alternative therapies have been around for centuries because they work. Accept or dismiss a therapy based only on your experience and understanding, not just accreditation and approvals.

44. I don’t need to consult a doctor, I’m half a doc myself

Half knowledge is worse than ignorance. You’ve probably read a lot about medicine and diseases, but trust us, there is still a lot that you don’t know. Give your physician due credit and always consult him/her on medicines.

45. Warm up is for beginners; not for me

Beginner or not—injuries happen to anyone. By not warming up, you are increasing your chance of getting one. Never miss your warm up before a workout, no matter how experienced you are or what your fitness level is.

46. I smoke because I enjoy smoking

It’s like stabbing yourself because it’s fun.  Don’t you realise you are hurting yourself? There can never be a reason for smoking, only excuses. And this is a real bad one.
Read 7 rules that helped me successfully quit smoking.

47. I drink alcohol but I’m not hurting anyone else but myself

Ouch… that hurt! Aren’t you the most important person to yourself? And you might like to believe that your drinking is not hurting anyone else but that’s only your delusion—it hurts those who love you.

101 excuses: Blood pressure monitor
Monitoring your health parameters regularly can save money—and probably your life too!

~ EXCUSES FOR POOR SLEEPING HABITS ~

48. I sleep a lot because it helps lose weight

Better beware of oversleeping then; it may make you vanish! Sleep does help lose weight, but only as a result of regularly completing your sleep quota. So if you are using sleep to lose weight, it’s time you changed your weight loss programme.

49. Why bother now? I will have plenty of time to sleep when I’m old

If you stick to this attitude, chances are you may not reach half the age you think you will. Prolonged sleep deprivation takes a toll on your immunity, affects your cognitive and motor abilities, and increases your risk of cancer and diabetes. So sleep to keep healthy—today and forever. Read more about the dangers of sleep deprivation.

50. I oversleep on Sundays to compensate for the week

This is like hogging on a Sunday because you didn’t eat much during the week. If you sleep straight for several hours on Sunday, your biological clock cannot readjust itself suddenly affecting  your night-time sleep. Come Monday morning and you are bleary again. Experts recommend sleeping a little extra every day till you feel fresh again.

~ EXCUSES RELATED TO MARRIAGE ~

51. I am not myself when I hit my spouse

Looks like a serious case of multiple personality disorder. ‘Not feeling like yourself’ is no excuse to mistreat or hurt another human being, let alone someone you love. If you really feel that your actions are beyond you, then you need get a hold on yourself. Couple’s counselling may help. You could even try meditation.

52. I didn’t want to drudge up my partner’s mistakes, but he provoked me

Does that mean you will even jump off a cliff if provoked? No. Then the next time you feel provoked, just stop and think who’s in charge of your behaviour. If it’s not you, then you need to do something about it. Pointing fingers, besides straining your bond, reveals as much about you.

53. My marriage has become hell, but then marriages are forever

How idealistic! But what good are ideals if they are depriving you of a happy, fulfilled life? Experts warn that remaining in unfulfilled marriages increases your risk of having serious illnesses.* Conversely, those in happy marriages remain healthier. The message is clear: if you can’t make it work, quit.
*Australian Institute of Family Studies titled ‘Why Marriages Last’; Journal of Health and Social Behavior, June 2009

54. I spy on my husband because it reassures me of his faithfulness

Spying is simply not done—no excuses. Even more so in a love relationship. If you have the slightest doubt in you mind about your partner, discuss it with him or her and clear the air.

55. I want to express my feelings but I’m a man and men are not ‘emotional’

Don’t be gender-biased! Nature gifted both genders with feelings and emotions for a reason. Repressing emotions disrupts the levels of cortisol in your body, making you susceptible to a host of immune-system related diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, infections, and cancers.

101 Excuses: A young man expressing love to a young woman
Honest communication is the foundation of every successful relationship

~ EXCUSES THAT DISTURB FAMILIES & FRIENDSHIPS ~

56. I hate myself for missing birthdays but I’m just not good with dates

You remember your own birthday don’t you? In the 19th century, this excuse could have earned you sympathy. Today, it will attract daggers, as it shows how little you really care. With the reminder features on mobiles phones, emails, and social networking sites, ‘not good with dates’ is simply not good enough an excuse.

57. Household chores are not for men. Besides, the women folk do it better

Breaking news: research indicates that sharing chores is the 3rd most significant factor in a successful marriage; you’ll earn more respect, love and consideration from your wife and everyone else. Also, if you never do anything because of your gender, you’ll never get better at it, as only practice makes perfect.

58. I would love to stay in touch with friends but I am only giving them space

Sorry to break your bubble, but you have got it all wrong. Relationships are like plants: if you don’t water them frequently, they wilt and die. And, staying in touch doesn’t mean talking on phone for hours or intruding in someone’s life. A simple ‘hello’ on email or an occasional message on a social networking site suffices.

59. My family bears the brunt of my frustrations because I am stressed at work

Office stress is not a license for misbehaviour. There are better ways* to cope with stress or vent out your frustrations—sitting in meditation, doing yoga, indulging in a hobby, or even kick-boxing.
*Pew Research Center report

60. I don’t visit my parents ‘cos I can’t see them getting old

We doubt anybody likes to see his/her parents age. You have to accept it as life. In fact, the more you visit them, the happier they’ll be. It’ll also make them feel and look younger and give them the inner strength to cope with their health problems.
Read Challenges in taking care of ageing parents

~ EXCUSES THAT MOST PARENTS MAKE ~

61. If I hug my kids they’ll take me for granted

Do you want to discipline your kids at the cost of their wellbeing? Expressing your love verbally and physically is extremely important for their emotional and physical health. The more you hug your children, the more they feel loved and more oxytocin [the cuddle hormone] is released in their bodies making their immune system stronger.

62. I’m wary of pointing out my kids’ mistakes

If you don’t point out their mistakes, it’s unlikely anyone else will and they would have to learn the hard way. Being a friend to your child is important but so is being a parent. Don’t deprive your child of that.

ALSO READ » To be a good parent, you need to show tough love

63. Comparison encourages my child to become better

Do you feel encouraged when your boss compares you to your colleagues in front of your subordinates? There are other ways of encouraging your children and boosting their confidence than comparing them to their peers or siblings. This is difficult for most parents but worth the effort.
Read Healthy competition – an oxymoron?

64. Sparing the rod means spoiling the child

In 29 countries around the world, it is illegal for a parent, teacher, or anyone else to spank a child, and 113 countries prohibit corporal punishment in schools—and for good reason. Punishment makes children bitter and resentful, besides harming them physically. Forgiveness and reason* on the other hand, get the exact opposite results. Read Disciplining your child: the way around the rod.
*Global Initiative to End Corporal Punishment of Children

Father hugging child
Hug your child as often as you can—express your love to them freely

~ EXCUSES TO SHOP NEEDLESSLY ~

65. My spouse buys expensive items, why shouldn’t I?

We didn’t know that shopping is now a competitive sport. Sure, you deserve as much comforts as your spouse. But an expense is justified by its need and not by an instance of a similar expense by another.

66. I bought it because it was on sale

Happens to the best of us. We buy something at a discount only to regret later when we realise that we didn’t need it. When a ‘sale’ tempts you, consider if you’d to buy even without the discount. It will save your money, space in your house… and heartache.

67. Credit cards make me overspend

Poor, helpless you! The plastic monster really holds you at ransom, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the problem is with you and not the credit card—the card merely brings out the compulsive shopper in you. But there’s a way to end it all—leave your card at home.

68. Shopping is my daily stress buster

Shopping is indeed therapeutic, but so are many other things—watching a comedy movie for instance. It’s not only about needless spending of money; you may never realise when therapy becomes addiction. Buyer beware!

Woman shopping in a souvenir store
Retail therapy often becomes an addiction | Image courtesy: Kasjan Farbisz from Pixabay

~ EXCUSES NOT TO TRAVEL ~

69. I wish I could travel but it’s too expensive

Sure it is, if you move around in a chartered plane. If money is a constraint, look for low-budget holidays—there are ample of them all around. Also, save money by booking your flights well in advance.
Read For your next vacation, skips hotels; try homestays instead.

70. If I go for a vacation, my business will crash

So it’s better to wait till YOU crash? A vacation does not always mean long trips to a foreign land. It could even be a weekend getaway to a place you’ve never been before. Focusing your energies on work is futile if you can’t even spare yourself a weekend. Come on, you deserve it.

71. I wish I could travel light

You will, once you realise that you’re only travelling, not moving homes. Travelling light does not mean you don’t carry the essentials. But it does mean that you don’t take a pair of shoes to match every outfit.

72. I don’t need a vacation; my work always takes me away from home

If you think work-related travel equals a vacation, ask your family if they think the same. Remember, when you’re travelling for work you’re still working and you normally don’t take your family with you. It’s not leisure travel. And how many times has your work taken you to the place you’ve always dreamed of visiting?
Read 4 types of travel that you absolutely MUST explore.

Suitcases packed fully
Travelling light means that you don’t take a pair of shoes to match every outfit

~ EXCUSES THAT COMPROMISE YOUR SAFETY ~

73. I hate getting ‘helmet hair’; besides helmets are so not stylish

Let’s see… what would be easier to fix—messed up hair or a messed up skull? With the wide range of fits and colours available today, it’s hard to not find a helmet that suits your style quotient. You could even have one custom made.

74. Safety practices prolong a task. In any case, what are the odds of any untoward incident?

In your hurry to finish your task, you may end up finishing your career or even your life. Safety measures are designed to avoid this—and only if you follow them do the odds of an accident go down.

75. We manage just fine without the safety measures

Congratulations on your track record. If you’ve had no accidents, it’s because you’ve been plain lucky, and not because safety measures are useless. Our advice: don’t stretch your luck so much that it snaps.

76. I can drive safely while I talk on the phone because I use a hands-free device

You’re wrong. Using a hands-free device might seem like a safer option compared to texting or talking directly on the mobile phone, but you’re still distracted, making it a dangerous practice. Remember, our brains are physically incapable of giving 100% of our attention to more than one task. So, when we drive while talking on the phone, we are splitting our attention between driving and talking. If you must talk, stop your car on the roadside and finish your call before resuming driving.

Man talking on cell phone while driving
Talking on the phone while driving—with or without a hands-free device—poses great risk to your life | Photo by Alexandre Boucher on Unsplash

~ EXCUSES THAT RETARD YOUR CAREER~

77. Switch careers? I’ve spent far too long getting the degrees

Don’t stick to an unsatisfactory field just because of your education—you’ll never find success. Many successful people have left behind fields they were qualified in because they didn’t enjoy it—software engineer Shankar Mahadevan and chemical engineer Nagesh Kukunoor are but two examples of those who have made a successful career in music and films respectively. As for education, it never goes waste.

78. If I change my job now it’ll appear bad on my CV

If you stick around for this reason, it will still affect your CV. How? Obviously you aren’t enjoying working where you are, so you won’t try to excel and hence never get a promotion or a raise. Go ahead and look for a new job, most employers appreciate when a candidate is honest and gives lack of job satisfaction as a reason for quitting a previous job.
Read The disastrous job interview that changed my life.

79. I don’t have the right credentials to switch careers

Then cry. It’s your attitude and talent that will get you a good break, not your credentials. Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle has no qualifications in cricket commentary, yet he is one of the most sought-after in his field.

~ EXCUSES THAT CAUSE WORKPLACE WOES ~

80. What’s the use? My boss takes all the credit

Are you sure it is not a bias? If it is a fact,  do something about it—either talk it out with your boss, or consult your HR department. If nothing works, leave. But don’t ever stop yourself from giving your best—do it for the sheer pleasure of it, not for credit. Read https://completewellbeing.com/article/help-boss-from-hell/

81. The company won’t go bankrupt if I make an occasional long distance call or take stationery home

The company will be just fine. But chances are you may not, if someone notices you engaging in such activities, you might have to face disciplinary action. At the least, your reputation will suffer.

82. I do it all myself because it’s quicker that way

Then why not fire everyone and save the salary bill? Obviously there are different job profiles because work is never a one man show. If delegation hasn’t worked for you, you have either delegated the right job to the wrong person or your team is inefficient; replace them ASAP. They’re not only hurting your business but even you.

83. If I share my idea, someone will steal it

But if you don’t share your idea, someone will think of a similar idea and share it before you do. Better speak up when you get the idea and enjoy the early bird benefits.

84. I’m the boss, I ‘have’ to be mean

You might as well hang a ‘closed’ sign on your office because eventually that’s where you’ll end up. There is a difference in being firm and being mean. If your staff can’t talk to you about what they feel and need, not much will get accomplished.

85. Good performance is punished by more work

Remember, good performance is also rewarded. What you need is to learn to negotiate your responsibilities well and manage expectations.

86. It’s not what I’m paid to do

Then forget about ever making more. Career gurus emphasise the importance of taking initiative. Such narrow-minded thinking prevents you from growing both as a professional and as a person, because you’ll never learn anything new.

executive on his cluttered office desk
There is a difference in being firm and being mean

~ EXCUSES THAT MESS UP PERSONAL FINANCE ~

87. Planning finances is too much effort

And not planning them is too lazy [and costly]. Financial planning helps ensure that taxes don’t eat into your income, keep your investments inflation-proof, and tap the right opportunities. Besides, you need not do it yourself, just hire a good professional.

88. I will make my will… what’s the hurry?

Death doesn’t serve a notice. In case of an eventuality, imagine the legal complications and mental agony your loved ones will have to go through in the absence of a will. If you have substantial assets like property and gold, make a will now!
Read Why not making a will is a BIG mistake.

89. It’s the scary documentation that keeps me from paying taxes

But it’s nothing compared to the scare IT officials will give you. The red tape is just an excuse to not pay taxes. Perhaps a part of you believes that the government doesn’t deserve your hard-earned money. If you really wish to be a conscientious tax-payer, hire an expert or find help online.

90. I pay my minimum due on credit cards on time

This is one of the lamest excuses that only serves to mess up your personal finances. The minimum amount due is only the interest levied on the money you’ve borrowed; it doesn’t really reduce your debt but is designed to trick you into a debt trap. With interest rates as high as 30 per cent, credit cards are the most expensive debt. If you’re smart, you’ll keep outstanding on your cards to the minimum and use them for convenience and other benefits rather than a way to spend money that you don’t actually have.

91. Investments are for the year end. Why bother now?

Not necessarily. There are many benefits to starting your savings earlier in the year. Your investments—Public Provident Fund [PPF] in particular—will earn you more interest since you’ll be investing for longer; you will have ample time to evaluate all options; and what’s best, you’ll be relaxed when everyone else is scurrying around to meet their deadlines.

Credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Use your credit cards judiciously and keep the outstanding to the minimum

~ EXCUSES THAT IMPEDE SELF-GROWTH ~

92. I desire to improve but change is hard

Change is only as hard as you think it is. Most of us harbour pre-conceived notions about how change is difficult and also fear the uncertainty that comes along with it. Do not let your beliefs undermine your progress towards becoming a more improved version of yourself. Your desire is enough to get you there—if only you rid yourself of all self-doubt.

93. I’d like to explore spirituality, but I haven’t found a guru

Seek and you shall find. There are many evolved beings out there, willing to share their wisdom with all. But you don’t have to wait for one of them to come to you. You could pick up a book or a CD, or even sign up for a workshop by one of them.

94. Spirituality intrigues me, but so does materialism

What if we told you that you could choose both? Spirituality does not mean renouncing material acquisitions. You can choose the spiritual path and yet progress materially.

95. Spirituality? No way! My friends will tease me

Being spiritual is not something to be ashamed of. Spirituality is about discovering yourself. Also, if your friends are genuine, they will only be too happy to see you pursuing your heart’s desire.

96. I can never be as successful as Bill Gates

Once, while addressing a gathering at the University of Washington, Warren Buffett said: “Everybody here has the ability to do anything I do and much beyond. Some of you will, and some of you won’t. For those who won’t, it will be because you get in your own way, not because the world doesn’t allow you to.”

97. I’ve read several self-help books, but nothing works

If only transformation was so simple! But don’t give up yet. Deciding to change is huge in itself. To begin with, make sure you’re reading the right books. Besides, self-improvement books need reading, re-reading, reflection and, most importantly, action.

98. I’ll be happy only when…

Happiness is not an ad with a ‘conditions apply’ caveat. According to wise men and women, happiness is experienced in the present. It is not something you achieve, but something you experience. Ironically, when you are happy, all else falls in place.

Beautiful and happy young woman wearing a hat
Happiness is not the outcome but the cause of good health, fulfilling relationships and success in life

~ EXCUSES FOR AVOIDING MEDITATION  ~

99. If only I could sit in the lotus pose

Meditation does not require you to contort your body into discomfort. If you can do the lotus pose, it’s great. But even if you can’t, you can meditate in any position that you find comfortable.

100. Just give me a room to myself

If you wait for the right place and the right time, you’ll probably have to keep waiting. If you really want to meditate, start here and now… even as you read this. Meditation is about being fully present in the moment. It could be while you’re walking, sitting in your car or even taking a shower.

101. Meditation is not for everyone

You’re right. It’s only for those who think it’s for them. If you want to be one of them, but aren’t, we recommend you explore it further. Sign up for a workshop or pick one of the several books and videos on the subject.
Read How to kick-start your meditation practice.

That’s it then. We compiled this list of excuses to help you see how we often make our own life unnecessarily difficult. The above list is in no way exhaustive but we hope the list would help you become familiar with the mind’s tendency to find reasons to continue self-defeating patterns and behaviours. So why not create your own list of excuses that you use unconsciously to keep you from living your best life?


A version of this article first appeared in the November 2010 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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Manoj Khatri
Manoj Khatri considers himself a student and teacher of the wisdom of love. He is also a writer-editor and has written on topics ranging from strategic marketing and business management to art, culture and even philosophy. His more than 1200 published stories—articles, interviews, full-length features—have appeared in some of the leading newspapers and magazines of India. A certified cognitive behavioural therapist, he works as a personal counsellor too. He is the author of What a thought!, a critically acclaimed book based on powerful ideas of some of the greatest thought leaders. Manoj runs Complete Wellbeing and believes that "peace begins with me".

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