5 Excuses That Sabotage Personal Growth

You have a calling from God, a destiny.

So why aren’t you moving forward? What is holding you back?

The roadblock to personal growth and success in life for many people is: EXCUSES. As a career educator, counselor, and life coach, I have heard multiple reasons people give to explain away their failures and lack of achievement.

Here are 5 excuses that sabotage personal growth:

Excuse #1: I don’t have time.  

People believe this answer gives permission to say no or be released from an activity they want to avoid. They may follow up the statement with details of their schedule-packed day or week or year.

“Okay,” I say. “I have 24 hours every day the same as you do, as we all do. How should we determine the use of the time? It will pass for us all. What do you have to show for your time spent?”

No time is a common complaint in today’s fast paced world, but a real problem when used to explain lack of progress toward selected goals.

Use time for what it can do for you – not an excuse for not doing.

Excuse #2: I am too busy.

This popular justification is a twin to #1 but deserves its own mention, as it frequently hijacks rational discourse about setting priorities. I refuse to use the word busy in my conversations. I think the term makes people insecure, comparing their significance to those who claim such demanding lives. What does busy really mean anyway?

I try to help clients unpack their busy and see what activity is worthy to keep, but reorganize. Other endeavors may need to be booted out to make room for balanced living and growth.

For both these excuses, hear God’s answer in Psalm 90:12(ESV): So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.


Excuse #3: I tried before and I failed.

Fine. That was then and this is now.

“Define failure,” I say. “Tell me what happened.” I listen carefully to help the client discover the lessons, the take-aways that can help inspire him/her to try again. Perhaps the goal needs tweaking or releasing altogether. Together we can often find the gain from the pain of failure.

Romans 5: 3-4 ESV says: Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope

Excuse #4: I am too undisciplined.

Here is some honesty, but still a cop-out.

All of us need training and new behaviors at various points in life. When something is important enough, valuable enough, desirable enough, we find the strength and endurance to obtain the prize.  How do handicapped and semi-paralyzed individuals run races and create amazing artwork? They learn new things, hard things, by pressing through the I-want-to-quit stage. You can too. Work hard. Be proud of your accomplishment.

Hebrews 12:11(ESV) says:  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Excuse #5: I am afraid. I need help.

Now we are getting somewhere.  

Sharing your hopes and goals with a trusted friend, counselor, or coach can be the first step toward moving ahead and busting out of the failure box. God gave us one another. His power multiplies as we combine our giftedness and ask for His guidance. Together we can push back the darkness and enjoy the radiant lives we have been given.

Philippians 2:4 (ESV) says:  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Which excuse(s) is sabotaging your personal growth today? What action will you take to press toward the hope of your calling?