The year of no excuses

By on March 3, 2013

We are now well into March and a majority of people have already fallen off their New Year resolution wagon. Most have good excuses for doing so and are still telling themselves that they will get on with it “tomorrow”.Then there are those who have been through the resolution/excuse cycle so many times they have given up making resolutions altogether. Don’t be fooled. All of those slightly smug “I don’t make resolutions” people aren’t really so enlightened. They’re just tired of letting themselves down year after year and have decided the best way to preserve their self-esteem is to stop setting goals and try to be happy with whatever they achieve by default. I know, because since the birth of my son four years ago I have slowly but surely become a not so proud member of this second group.

You see, since giving birth to my son four years ago my main fallback excuse for not losing the last 10 pounds, not nishing even one of the three books that I had almost completed before he was born, not exercising as much a I would like and not following through on a multitude of other resolutions has been that I was tired. So tired. Incredibly tired.

The rst year I kind of relaxed into it and gave myself permission to not write, or exercise, or do anything that wasn’t an absolute necessity between running my business and getting used to this whole motherhood thing. I excused myself by saying that I would get back in the groove when my son was sleeping through the night. But the second year came, and the third and the fourth and, though he was sleeping through the night there never seemed to be enough time – and more importantly enough energy – left over to do anything else. I was just too tired.

Late in 2012 something shifted. I was mucking around online seeking inspiration for my next Tokyo Families column when I came across the phrase “moushiwake gozaimasen”. This is used in the same way that an English speaker would say “my apologies”, but literally means “there is no excuse”. As I read over the phrase and poked around about its meaning I had an epiphany of accountability. I clearly understood that being tired was simply an excuse. I saw that I had the power to make no excuse acceptable for not doing what I wanted to do. Strangely, as I saw this power of choice, I was able to apologize to and forgive myself for not seeing these excuses for what they were and letting them stop me.

Next I asked myself, “What do I want badly enough to stop making excuses and commit to achieving it ”? One clear answer emerged. I was tired of being tired. All of the other things I wanted to do depended on me getting my old levels of energy back. I was not prepared to use being tired as an excuse anymore. I decided that this year I was making only one resolution – to get my groove back.

Then a funny thought occurred to me – maybe there was actually a legitimate physical reason I was tired! This may sound painfully obvious, but because my pre-baby self had always lived from the “there is no excuse” mindset, I believed that being tired was all in my head. I thought I was just being lazy, needed to get a bit more sleep and exercise or needed to push myself harder. What if I just needed to see a doctor?

Sure enough, a bit of blood work uncovered a few things gone wacky in my body chemistry – not the least of which was a very low iron level. One week later, the iron supplements the doctor prescribed are already having a huge impact. My “too tired” excuse is already becoming a thing of the past and I am feeling excited about catching up on four years of unrealized resolutions!

In my situation, it turned out that my “excuse” had some legitimacy. The reality, however, is that all excuses do. The older we get the better we get at nding legitimate excuses for avoiding the things that scare us, and for putting off the pursuit of that which would make our hearts sing. Furthermore, I wasn’t able to eliminate this excuse until I looked it square in the face and saw how I had been letting it stop me from doing things I really wanted to do for the last four years.

It wasn’t until I got curious about where I was stopping at incomplete that I was able to see a pattern in my excuses. And once I saw this pattern in my excuses I was able to evaluate a path to eliminate the excuse. While the rst step on this path involved seeing a doctor, I was half expecting to nd nothing physical to back up my tired excuse. If this had been the case I would have proceeded to whatever next step I could think of to get my energy levels back up to where I want them to be.

I am making 2013 The Year of No Excuses. If you want to join me, here are the steps:

– Apologize to and forgive yourself for letting excuses get in the way of doing what you really want to do.
– Identify where you keep stopping at incomplete. What excuses do you use to justify stopping?
– Get clear on what you want badly enough to stop making excuses. Let go of anything else.
– Decide what you need to do to eliminate the excuses that stop you once and for all.
– Make a plan to achieve your goal and stick to it – no matter what.

Yes, I can hear you saying, “yeah but…”

My apologies, but there is no excuse.

Andrea Jacques, founder of Kyosei Consulting International, has spent more than 20 years developing the potential of individuals and organizations worldwide. Five of these years were spent in Japan where the core philosophies of her work on the relationship between passion, performance, and pro ts took shape.  A dynamic speaker, coach, and facilitator, her work integrates leading eastern and western thought with top-tier leadership, engagement, wellness and sustainability consulting to build the capacity of people and business to thrive. Her clients represent a diverse cross-section of industries including banking, retail, government, insurance, academia and high-tech. She can be contacted through her website at www.kyoseiconsulting.com

About Andrea Jacques

Andrea Jacques is the founder of Kyosei Consulting and the author of Wabi-Sabi Wisdom: Inspiration for an Authentic Life (available on Amazon.com). She has spent more than 20 years developing the potential of people and businesses worldwide, five of which were in Japan. A dynamic speaker, coach, and facilitator, her work integrates spiritual insight with top-tier leadership, wellness and sustainability consulting to help individuals and organizations build thriving, purpose-driven cultures where employees know their work truly matters. She can be contacted through her website at www.kyoseiconsulting.com