No More Excuses: Own Your One-More-Thing-Itis

Excuses

I have a confession: I suffer from “one-more-thing-itis,” a minor ailment marked by a tendency to run 5 minutes late.

I used to complicate this dis-ease with guilt and excessive excuses, but I’m happy to report that it’s a manageable condition. I’ve learned to offer explanations and accept responsibility, without beating myself up (too much).

In the old days, before walking into any appointment on the late side, I would craft creative excuses en route (“I hit every red light,” or “have you ever noticed how slow those garbage trucks can be?”). I would apologize for my tardiness by explaining why it wasn’t really my fault.

Here’s the thing. Yes, the lights were red, or the truck was slow. But those would not have been problems had I planned my time better. The truth is: I was late because I didn’t allow enough time to get there.

So what’s an ADDer to do to minimize the impact of one-more-thing-itis (that is, besides the obvious choice to use time management strategies)?

Stop making excuses, and own your explanations. This is a corollary to Diane’s tip last week, Apologize.

When we make excuses, we point fingers, or blame, or find any number of reasons for a failure point to be ‘not my fault.’ An explanation, on the other hand, takes full responsibility. When you take responsibility, over time, it actually starts shifting your behavior. For example, if you know you’re going to tell on yourself when you arrive late, you’re more likely to avoid that embarrassment and make more effort to get there on time.

This can apply to anything, honestly. When you offer sincere apologies for mistakes without excuses — matter-of-factly — then your explanations ring true to people. Your integrity is in tact. And you actually motivate yourself to try harder.

Of course, it’s always better to plan ahead and be on time. Would that it were that simple for me. But in my world of one-more-thing-itis, at least I’ve had ample opportunity to model for my kids the art of taking responsibility for my mistakes!

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