Tomorrow is always the easiest day to start something.
You can always start your diet next week. You can always make that big decision next month. Your partner will be in a better mood tonight, so better to have the difficult conversation then.
Why timing is the best excuse
Because tomorrow is never today.
Timing justifies not doing something. You’re not not doing something, you’re just delaying it.
It’s the ultimate justification. And further, you, and others, accept it as an excuse. “I can’t break up my boyfriend now, we’re going to the Maldives next month” is likely to be answered with “Oh of course, probably best to wait until you’re back”.
But in reality, as long as you continue to delay it, you’re not doing it. Make sense?
Why timing is not the best excuse
You might genuinely believe that circumstances might be better in the future. And they might be. But they also might be a lot lot harder.
Delaying may feel like you are in control of making a decision. You’ve thought about it, and you’ve decided that a future time is better. But in reality, that puts the decision completely outside of your control. You do not know what the future holds.
There are infinite opportunities for something else to come along and take priority. Or prevent you altogether.
Secretly, you might actually be wanting them too.
What is the real excuse?
Timing is often just a mask for the real excuse. You don’t want to start the diet because you know it will be hard. You don’t want to break up with the boyfriend because you know it will be painful.
When you find yourself giving timing as an excuse. Take a minute. Think about what the real excuse might be?
It’s perfectly OK to have other excuses. Hard decisions will never be easy to make. Naturally, if your body knows a decision is going to be difficult or cause pain, it’s going to resist it. That’s just a natural reaction.
Reassure yourself that it’s perfectly normal to have excuses. Then give yourself the opportunity to delve into these. Find out why. Seek help to overcome these.
By doing this, you are actually taking the first step towards taking the action itself.
Do it, schedule it or ditch it
This is such a powerful tool for so many things in life.
Identify the things that you are using timing as an excuse for. In whatever format works for you, place all the things into the categories “Do it” “Schedule it” or “Ditch it”.
Do it: if you’re going to do it, take the first step immediately. Even if that’s just messaging someone to tell them you’re going to do it. We live in a 24/7 world, you can always sign up for that course online or email the recruiter to say you’ll go to the interview.
Schedule it: this works well where you have identified a real practical reason for not doing it right now. Give yourself a firm date or trigger. Tell other people. Write it on your wall calendar. Sign up. If possible, pay for it.
Make it crystal clear to yourself and others that you will do it on a certain date.
Ditch it: consciously decide not do it. After exploring your real excuses you may discover you have no inclination or intention to do it. That’s OK. You’ve had the confidence to stand up and say “this is not for me” or “this is not for me right now”.
Then move on. Don’t dwell it. Don’t feel guilty. Know that you can always change your mind in the future.
Hold yourself accountable
If you have decided to Do it or Schedule it. Hold yourself accountable.
Accountability works differently for different people. Can you hold yourself accountable (this is rare)? Do you need others to hold you accountable? Do you need an emotional tie? Do you need to implement an incentive/punishment system?
Think about a situation that has worked for you in the past. Where are you successfully held accountable (work being an obvious starting point)? Then use the same method of accountability here.
I’d strongly recommend reading Gretchin’s Rubin’s work on this, which you can find here.
Recognise where you are using timing as an excuse. Identify the real reasons why. Do it, Schedule it or Ditch it. Hold yourself accountable.