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How to Stop Bargaining Yourself Out of What You Want, Pt. II: Refuting Your Excuses

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about how we talk ourselves out of doing what we truly were born to do— in short, how we bargain ourselves out of living our life purpose. I also talked about possibility– imagining the possibility of what you might do if you didn’t bargain yourself out of living purposefully and how you might already be able to make space for your life purpose right now in your current life.

So, this week, I promised to talk about the excuses we make to bargain ourselves out of doing what we truly want to do.

Why write a column about excuses? Well, I believe that excuses are one of the biggest ways that we cheat ourselves out of living purposefully.

Need an example? Have you ever had thoughts like these when you thought about doing an activity related to your purpose?

* It’s not realistic.
* I can come back to it.
* I’ll do it later.
* It’s just one day.
* I really have to take care of ____ today.
* I’m not in the mood.
* I’m being selfish.
* I’m just going to do this one other thing first…
* It’ll bother my neighbors/my husband.

You get the idea. These are excuses— lies we tell ourselves. These self-statements sabotage our life purpose and they allow us to bargain ourselves out of doing what sustains and fulfills us. What’s worse is that you’re probably so practiced in saying and thinking these excuses that they are automatic to you. Maybe you’re not even aware that you’re making these excuses unless you really pay attention to your thoughts.

So, how do we deal with excuses that we use to justify avoiding purpose-led activities?
Well, allow me to propose a new way of looking at your excuses.

When I lived in San Francisco, I used to facilitate a cognitive-behavioral addiction recovery group called SMART Recovery. At SMART Recovery we did an exercise called Refuting Your Excuses (or RYE). RYE is typically used for behaviors that fit the following definition: any behavior that you do repeatedly or compulsively that interferes with or sabotages your own goals.

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