There’s a simple reason you keep failing at your goals. It’s because you’re lying to yourself.

Have you ever asked someone who recently accomplished something impressive how they did it? They probably said something about working really hard, or being extremely fortunate/lucky. They may have mentioned a specific technique they used to get something done. But it doesn’t make a difference what they said, because you weren’t listening anyway. You were busy queuing up some excuses in your mind for why their solution couldn’t possibly work for you.

Oh you lost all that weight by swimming every morning? Yeah there isn’t a pool near my house, so…

Wow, you started a side-business by getting up an hour earlier every morning? Unfortunately, I’ve got a newborn baby so… that wouldn’t work for me.

You traveled where? That’s amazing! Unfortunately I can’t get that much time off of work at once.

Or what about these classics…

Sorry I’m late. My alarm clock didn’t go off.

Sorry I’m late. There was a huge traffic jam.

“Sorry I’m late. My car ran out of gas.

You’ve done it time and again. I’ve done it time and again. We all do it without even realizing it. Over the course of our lives, we’ve learned to rationalize away our failures. We all fail. But instead of owning up to it, instead of being honest with ourselves, we look for reasons why the failure was outside of our control. The truth: it’s almost never outside of our control.

From now on, pay attention to your self-sabotage. Try, “Sorry I’m late, I stayed up too late,” or maybe just, “Sorry I’m late.” It’s painful. It’s humbling. It forces you to acknowledge your failures. The benefit is that now you can start tackling the real reasons for your failures. And once you do that, it’s amazing what’s possible.

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About the Author

Hi. I'm Ryan Jenkins. I'm a husband, father, mormon, product manager, tech geek, and hamburger lover.