Is that a reason or an excuse?

I’ve been reflecting on the difference between reasons and excuses lately. It is the beginning of May as I write this post. We are five months into 2016 and there are a few goals I haven’t achieved that I hoped to have reached by now. Sure, I have accomplished some significant things such as launching a podcast and getting a couple of new clients so far this year, but I still had hopes I would have accomplished more.

So, do I have good reasons for not meeting my goals? Or am I just making excuses?  I could say that there have been extenuating circumstances - my daughter had a baby, my mother-in-law passed away. These things have disrupted my schedule to some degree. But, really, I think I would be making an excuse. These are not reasons.

I have been reading a variety of blogs on this topic and one thing everyone seems to agree on is that when people make excuses they are shifting the blame outside of themselves and not taking accountability for the situation. A reason offers an explanation for what happened without the defensive language and behaviour.  

We usually can pick up an excuse pretty quickly when we hear one or offer one. “I didn’t get my blog post written because I had to take my car in for service.” It’s an excuse. A reason would be, “I didn’t get my blog post done because I prioritized my car over writing my blog post. I made a choice to not get my blog done so I could take my car in.” There is a sense of ownership with a reason.

I think it is important to take responsibility for where we are - especially during a transition. It’s being honest with ourselves and with others that is going to help us get through this time and identify what we really want. If we keep making excuses, well, we may be deluding ourselves and that will get in the way of knowing what is really important to us.