For you visual learners out there, here is a description of the process I recommend for transforming excuses:
1. Become aware of your excuses.
Make a list of the reasons why you aren't making progress toward your goal(s). You can do this for one area of your life for now, but feel free to do it for multiple areas if you're feeling ambitious.
2. Find a creative solution.
Even if the circumstances are factual (most prep books are heavy, a full practice test takes time, etc.), once you've identified your excuses, you will very likely be able to find creative solutions so that you can keep making progress in spite of the circumstances. Be willing to view the situation differently, and see what ideas occur to you! As in the previous step, you can brainstorm for one excuse or multiple excuses. The more excuses you can dismantle, the more progress you will make. But brainstorming on one excuse is a good place to start because dismantling even one excuse enables you to make progress that you wouldn't have made otherwise, which puts you ahead.
3. Take action toward your goal.
Once you've come up with one or more creative solutions, you no longer have that excuse to keep you from making progress. So it's time for the follow through! Show up. Do the work. Take action in the direction of your goals without that pesky excuse weighing you down.
Of course, sometimes you will actually need to show up and do the uncomfortable thing you've been making excuses about—times when there's no other way to make meaningful progress. But even then, you can find ways to "make it work," in the words of Tim Gunn.
Excuses undercut progress. They literally allow us to "excuse" ourselves from showing up at our best. But if a goal is important to you, then you owe it to yourself to show up. Once you start to relate to showing up for the work as non-optional, it will change the way you relate to excuses. Because necessity—the need to show up and do the work—truly is the mother of invention.
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