Stop Making Excuses and DO Something!

sometimes we build our own cages


Between the drama with my son, dealing with my cousin’s finances (including a billion late bills because he never bothered to pay them), and somehow fitting in time for my own life, I’ve been super stressed this week. As some of you know, when I get frustrated, I tend to get all ranty. So I’ll just tell you like it is.

I’m not special. Neither is anyone else. We all have crappy days or weeks, we all get stressed, and sometimes we all have more than we can handle. It can be very therapeutic to whine to your friends, but eventually, you only have two choices. You can keep whining until your friends don’t want to talk to you anymore. Or you can do something about it.

I’m so tired of excuses. Everyone has them, including me. Now some people have reasons - for example, you can’t run a marathon if you don’t have any legs. That’s a reason. But saying “I can’t run a marathon because [insert just about any other explanation other than not having legs]” is just crap.

I am capable of running a marathon. But I choose not to. Because I’m lazy and out of shape and I smoke so much I’d probably fall over in the first three minutes. That’s the difference, though. I will never say I CAN’T. I’ll just say I choose not to or I won’t.

Stop saying, “I don’t have time.”

I’m horrible about this. For some reason, I’ve got it in my head that I spend my days doing super important things that cannot be interrupted by other things. Yet I never miss an episode of The Walking Dead. I never go an entire day without checking my email, Twitter, or Facebook. Hell would freeze over before I would miss FINCON12 in September.

We make time for the things we want to do most. Let me repeat: We make time for the things we want to do most.

If you aren’t accomplishing something, it’s because it’s not as important as something else. Period. Instead of saying “I don’t have time,” tell the truth. “I had other things to do that I decided were more important.”

Obviously if you work 24 hours a day and never do anything else, you are exempt. But then again, you wouldn’t be reading this post because that’s time you don’t have.

Stop saying, “I don’t know how.”

We live in a society where we can literally find out ANYTHING we want to know. Want someone’s phone number and address? You might have to pay, but you can get it. Want to learn how to toilet train your cat? There are YouTube tutorials. Want to build a bookshelf? Go to and knock yourself out.

Google is your friend, folks. If googling doesn’t lead you to an answer, you need to improve your google fu. (It’s like kung fu, only geekier.) I cannot think of a single question that Google cannot answer.

Too many people want someone else to do their work for them. Or they just want to whine “I don’t know how” and not do things at all. I’m tired of it. Shut your mouth and freaking ASK SOMEONE. Or read a book. Or google it. It’s really not that complicated. Otherwise, be honest and say, “I am not willing to learn how.” Then pay someone else to do it for you, because that’s what happens when you won’t learn to do things yourself.

If your IQ is below 70… Well, no, that’s not an excuse either, because Forrest Gump never said he didn’t know how to do something. Okay. If your IQ is so low that you cannot feed yourself, or if you are a vegetable, you are allowed to say you don’t know how. But again, you wouldn’t be reading this post right now, so I’m not talking to you.

Stop saying, “I can’t take the risk.”

A friend of mine wants to audition for one of the TV singing competitions; I’m not sure which one. He talks about it constantly, and he really does have an amazing singing voice. But he gets hung up on what ifs. What if he doesn’t make it? What if his voice cracks? What if there’s a snowstorm and he wrecks his car and damages his larynx, rendering him unable to speak or sing ever again?

My question for him is always, what if you DO make it? And what really happens if you fail? I’m pretty sure no one kills you or takes your birthday away. But how will you ever know if you sit around worrying that something may not work out?

Being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid. It means you take action despite being afraid.

I’m not advising anyone to leap without a parachute. Don’t blindly run after opportunities to the detriment of everything else in your life. For instance, I would never audition for a singing competition because I know I can’t sing. That said, if you know you have a talent or passion for something (which means at least 3 people outside your family have told you so, because friends and relatives lie), give it a shot!

If you fail, at least the question is answered. The chapter is finished. Time to move on.

Instead of saying, “I can’t take the risk,” say, “I’m too scared to take the risk.” And work through your fears. Otherwise shut up about it or hire a therapist, because after awhile people just think you’re fishing for compliments.

What’s Your Excuse?

All of us put things off or avoid taking action at times. I could make a list of all the things I’m avoiding right now, and I could give you a reason for every one of them. But anything I said would be an excuse.

The fact is, there is nothing on my to-do list that is impossible. There are things that are undesirable. There are things that are difficult. And there are definitely things that are boring. However, no matter how much I complain, none of those tasks are going to disappear.

You can whine and stress out, or you can take action. Those are your choices. Anything else is crap.

What are you avoiding right now, whether in your financial life or elsewhere? What excuses do you use to justify procrastinating, and what are the REAL reasons you aren’t taking action?

  • Elaine

    LOL Consider my behind well and truly kicked. I am off to finish plastering my sons room - been putting it off all day

  • YourFinancesSimplified

    My excuse for procrastinating problem stems from my fear of failure. I have this weird thing were I think I work better with 5 minutes to go. Some things literally require me to have a gun to my head before I start working on them. Thank goodness it hasn’t been anything financial (like creating a spending plan :::snickers::). Right now I’m avoiding creating the advertisements for my staff writing business.. I need to get that done before the weekend. Oh and don’t get me started on cold calling for my financial planning company

  • Bridget


  • Rachel

    Need to write more content for my upcoming site and finish the design. Putting it off cuz I’m scared it’s gonna suck and be horrible. I need to get my list together and get to writing. Maybe I’ll do that after my blog reading this morning unless our systems are miraculously repaired prior to that. Hmm.

  • Shannyn

    Tell it like it is sister! Can I get an amen? AMEN!

  • Joe

    There are plenty of reasons why people can’t run a marathon. I can’t run a marathon because of a muscular disorder. I can probably walk it. Other than that, good rant.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      I would put that in there with having no legs - a physical disability is definitely a reason not to run a marathon. But it’s the only reason I can think of.

  • Alice

    I like this post a LOT! I have a saying on my wall, “Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.” That’s what I feel like you’re saying here. Keep it up!

  • Kris @ BalancingMoneyandLife

    Love this post! I actually wrote something similar on my fitness blog last week - no more excuses, just DO it! Today, I *chose* not to go to the gym and swim, because I was tired. But I made a choice. I will go run, because I’m feeling better now. As for my debt - I’m *choosing* to take a fairly pricey vacation for my 40th birthday. I have a plan to pay for it, but I’m not making excuses. I do have problems with making excuses about marketing my services to do freelance work though - I’m afraid, I’m lazy, I have no idea where to start - but I’m working to get over those excuses. And Google is your friend.

  • mtlady

    Good blog!

  • Dr. Jason Cabler

    I love it! When you cut the crap and get rid of the lame-o excuses, only then can you really start succeeding in life. More people need to learn that.

  • 1winnie


    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      ME TOO!!!!! If you’re on Twitter, follow me and you can join the discussion! We like to gasp and freak out during commercial breaks.

  • Melissa@LittleHouseintheValley

    Your point on time management hit home for me. I do have too many things to do, who doesn’t, but I need to change my priorities a bit and make time for other important things in my life.

  • Jeff @ Sustainable Life blog

    Great post. I know exactly what you mean.
    And do your friend the “what if” machine - next time he says that say “well what if your aunt had balls”
    and he’d say “I dont know” then you say “well she’d be your uncle”

  • Rafiki

    Preach It!

  • Insomniac Lab Rat


    I’ve been avoiding making an eye doctor appointment, and I say it’s because I “can’t find time”… but it’s really because I hate getting my vision checked and I don’t want to go.

    I’m also avoiding cleaning, but I don’t even make any excuses for that one- I just don’t want to, and I’m not afraid to admit it!

  • Money Infant

    My problem isn’t so much a lack of time, but rather a profusion of ideas.

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  • Broke Gal NYC

    I cannot STAND when people say “I don’t know how” and leave it at that. Seriously, google and wiki what you don’t know and then seek out qualified professionals for input. What “I don’t know how” really translates to is “do it for me, because I’ve survive on learned helplessness.”

    Great post!

  • Vtsioriginal

    Well said. One thing I realized when I got to be about 30 or so is that all of those people you see - politicians, businessmen, managers, rock starts, etc… are all just people. They had the same worries and feelings of inferiority we all have. They just decided to go for it anyway, and kept working at it until they made it.

  • Marissa

    Time to tackle my to-do list and crush it.

  • Carrie Smith

    The “I don’t have time” excuse is a huge pet peeve of mine too. I am in total agreement with your logic here. People only make time for the things that are important to them.

  • B. (Below Her Means)

    BOOM! Could this post have come at a better time for me to read it? Nope. See what I just posted on my blog about feeling stuck.

    Thanks for saying this. Reminds me of the Ani DiFranco lyric in the song Pixie, “Maybe you don’t like your job, maybe you didn’t get enough sleep, NOBODY likes their job, NOBODY got enough sleep, maybe you just had the worst day of your life, there’s no escape, there’s no excuse, so just suck up and be nice, be nice, be nice, be nice.” It’s one of my mantras.