The #1 Way to Coach Yourself Around Excuses

“If you want to take the island, burn the boats.” — Julius Caesar

When it comes to coaching ourselves to become better so we can be happier, more fulfilled, and have a better life, EXCUSES can hold us back, giving us an alternative to ‘taking the island,’ moving forward and becoming even better. 

Our excuses can become like the boats that could have been waiting for Caesar’s men, just in case their conquest of the island of England didn’t turn out and they decided to retreat from the army of defending Celts. 

If you want to take the island, burn the boats.

Our excuses are always waiting for us, ready for us to hop in and sail in the other direction whenever improving ourselves and our lives gets tough… which is pretty much all the time. Right?

I’d like to improve but…

…I don’t have enough time right now.

…I can’t afford to hire an expert to help me.

…I don’t know where to start.

Any of those sound familiar? 

The good news is, that coaching ourselves to move past situations like this starts with awareness of this tendency that we all have.

Now that you’re aware, here’s a quick shift that can get you out of feeling bad for yourself and allowing those excuses to hold you back from working to make some real changes.

Ask yourself: What if I had no other choice but to (INSERT YOUR THING… i.e. get fit, change jobs, have that tough conversation, quit procrastinating, etc).

For example, if you are working on a “side hustle” and you’re not sure where to start or what the best next step might be, ask: What would I do if I lost my full-time job today? What would be the first thing I would do if my security net was suddenly gone?

In working with clients who have fitness goals, we’ve used this question which also uses the “no other choice” approach: What if someone was holding a gun to your head and they told you they would pull the trigger if you didn’t come up with a plan to lose 5 pounds this month? What would you do first (other than scream and try to run away)?

Of course that question has to be delivered in a fun way, but it always ends up leading us to a productive place. 

For people like you and me, there really is no other option other than moving forward and becoming better. 

So, what’s the thing you need to do next to become even better?  What would you do first if suddenly you had no other option other than to move forward?

I’d love to know your answers to those important questions and to get your feedback on this method. You can connect with me at


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Nate Sleger is the CEO and Head Coach at Even Better Coaching, where clients learn to coach themselves through real conversations. You can get a free copy of Nate’s first book, Exercising Backwards, a guide to fitness self-coaching, HERE.

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