Conventional self-help says to ignore your excuses. They are just excuses after all. Don’t believe them.

But your excuses are desperately trying to tell you something. They are trying to tell you about the limiting beliefs you have that are holding you back.

Susan came to me because she was struggling. She wanted to spend more time at the gym but found herself missing workouts. She wanted to see results and she knew that she wouldn’t get results if she didn’t show up.

“I just don’t have time,” she said frustrated. I could hear her beating herself up. “What’s wrong with me that I can’t seem to do this? Everyone else does.”

She’d been told a million times before (both by others and by herself) to make the time. Prioritize, schedule, plan. Ignore your excuses. She tried, but it just felt like there were too many things to plan. “I really wish I had more time, but I just don’t.” She felt defeated.

Susan knew it was an excuse, “I don’t have time,” but what was she supposed to do? She had work, a family, house cleaning, and a never ending to do list.

Her excuse was trying to tell her something, but she’d been ignoring it. Her excuse was trying to tell her that she mistakenly believed that she didn’t have any power over how she spent her time.

Think about that for a minute.

“I don’t have time,” left Susan feeling powerless. There was nothing Susan could do about not having enough time. She was giving away all of her power to this limiting belief. She stated it like it was a fact. Sure, she’d love to workout, but she doesn’t have time. It’s not her fault, right?

Except she forgot something.

Susan wasn’t powerless. Susan had total power over how she chose to spend her time. Time isn’t something we have or don’t have. Time is there, and we choose what we do with it. As long as she continued to give her power over to this limiting believe she was going to keep feeling stuck and overwhelmed. She couldn’t solve this problem, because she was telling herself she had no choice, there just wasn’t enough time.

Looking at her excuse allowed Susan to step out of this self-sabotage circle.

Once she started to realize that she chose how she spent her time, Susan shifted her from feeling helpless and frustrated to feeling empowered. She could choose to spend more time at the gym, but she could also choose to not spend more time at the gym. It was totally her choice.

She didn’t have to keep telling herself “I don’t have time.” Instead she started asking, “How do I want to spend my time? What do I want to do with all these hours that I have?”

This left Susan feeling inspired. She no longer felt like there was never enough time. Each day, she got to choose what she would do with those 24 hours. Whenever she started to see herself believing in the idea that she “didn’t have enough time,” she’d stopped and asked herself, “How do I want to spend the time I have?”

Excuses are a sign that we have a limiting belief that is holding us back. Taking the time to really listen to our excuses lets us question our limiting beliefs so that we can move past them.

What’s your go to excuse? What is this excuse trying to tell you about what you are choosing to believe?