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Have you ever felt inspired to make a positive change in your life, only for your excitement to soon turn into uncertainty? Uncertainty, self-doubt and fear are natural emotions when contemplating change but for some, these feelings can stop them from getting started at all.
Have you ever felt inspired to make a positive change in your life, only for your excitement to soon turn into uncertainty?
Uncertainty, self-doubt and fear are natural emotions when contemplating change but for some, these feelings can stop them from getting started at all.
Instead of making changes they may subconsciously create excuses. Excuses may make them feel better about not taking action and can form the story of ‘why we can’t have what we want’ and holds them back from going after it.
Below are 5 reasons why we may make excuses:
1. Familiarity gets the better of us
Maybe you initially feel fired up by the thought of your new gym schedule or chasing after your dream job and as routine sets in, going to the gym may suddenly feel like too much of an effort, or the thought of studying or looking for a new job could feel like a bigger task that you originally thought it would be, as a result you may allow the comfort of ‘familiarity’ to take over. It’s at this point that some may believe that it’s easier to stick with their old ways, instead of pushing through their boundaries and so they may make an excuse to do just that.
Consider breaking down your goal into smaller realistic chunks. Instead of setting yourself a target of going to the gym 7 times a week, maybe start off by setting yourself the task of going 3 times a week. Instead of expecting to instantly leap into your dream career, consider what steps you can take over a period of time that could move you closer to your dream career. When you break your steps down into manageable chunks you can ease your way into change. You can also enhance your level of self-awareness and start to recognise when you are making excuses, by asking yourself if the reason is really true, breaking things down and remaining aware of your inner dialogue increases your chance of overcoming any resistance to sticking things out, we either make progress or we make excuses.
2. We doubt ourselves
Maybe you’re considering the idea of pursuing your passion, moving abroad, studying a new course or setting up your own business. Your enthusiasm may lead you to do some research and look into what steps you can take to make it a reality.
After filling yourself up with excitement, maybe you choose to share your idea with your friends, family or spouse only to be met with responses such as ‘are you sure’, ‘is it worth it’ ‘can you really do it?’.
Your enthusiasm may suddenly get replaced with an inner voice full of doubt that may question whether you’ve got what it takes or tells you that it’s impossible and before you know it, maybe you’re talking yourself out of your idea with statements such as ‘I can’t do it’ which may stop you from moving forward with your plans.
Revisit what it was that made you feel connected to your idea, what wouldn’t happen if you didn’t pursue it? You could also consider reaching out to those who have already achieved what you aspire to and discuss how they went about achieving it as well as consider joining a community of like-minded people who are driven by a similar goal to yours. Doing so allows you to spend more time around people who are as passionate and just as enthusiastic as you are which can help you to minimise your doubts.
3. We're scared
Trying something new and stretching out of our comfort zone can initially feel daunting, but usually underneath these feelings could be underlying fears such as encountering failure, rejection, making mistakes or being judged by others. Often, maintaining these beliefs can limit you from moving forwards and instead of embracing the unknown; you may resist the uncomfortable feelings or use them as excuses to avoid feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
If you feel uncomfortable with the thought of change, consider doing it at a pace that feels more manageable for you. Maybe you can make small changes such as trying a new class or visiting a new country on holiday and over a period of time it may strengthen your courage muscles to make bigger changes. If you feel you have underlying fears that are holding you back you could also consider working with an NLP practitioner who could assist you in overcoming them.
4. We're not ready
When we plan to make a change, feeling ready is a key factor that assists us to take action. Once you’ve planned the steps that you can take to move things along, taking the leap is vital. We may not always be 100% ready for everything and we do have the option to learn as we go but for some having a need to make everything ‘perfect’ before getting started can cause them to procrastinate and not move at all, which creates more excuses and can keep them feeling stuck in a cycle of ‘perfectionism’.
Write a list of what it would take for you to feel more prepared to move your plans forward, what actions can you start to implement that could help you to build your confidence to take the leap? You could also read inspirational stories, autobiographies or blog posts of people you admire to learn more about how they achieved what you hope to, which could provide you with some valuable insight into what they experienced and how they went about things.
5. We're not motivated
What are you motivated by? Are you enthusiastic about the reward of making a change or is the pain or stress of your current situation pushing you into making a necessary change? Some may try to motivate themselves by focusing on the ‘reward’ when their inner driver may be more connected to the pain of NOT overcoming their current challenge.
For example, if someone was focusing on the thought of losing weight, they may picture a bikini body (reward) when in reality what may motivate them more is that if they don’t focus on improving their diet they may not be overcoming a health challenge such as obesity, diabetes or any other condition (pain of not dealing with it). Focusing on the wrong driver can cause your motivation to quickly dip and create excuses to give up.
Become aware of what drives you and tap into those feelings to avoid forcing yourself to connect with an idea that doesn’t resonate with you. When you stay connected with your motivators and review them regularly to ensure they are still relevant to you, you put yourself in the best position to follow through on your goals. You could also work with a life coach who could help you to create a plan of action and maintain your momentum.
It takes courage to face your excuses and admit to them but in doing so you’re one step closer to conquering them so that you can move forward with your plans!
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