**Note: This post originally appeared in 2010, when this book was newly published. It’s such a great book, I thought it worthwhile to post again for those of you who may not have been made aware of it yet.
“You are part of the same intelligence that creates worlds; in fact, your mind is that intelligence. Knowing this, how could you consider a part of you to be unreachable or unprogrammable?” -from Excuses Begone! How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits by Dr. Wayne Dyer
I love reading great books and often recommend them to others. But it is much rarer to read one that stays with me for a long time and really transforms my thinking. The quote above alone has changed me in a profound way, as does the whole premise of this book.
I don’t know anyone, myself included, who doesn’t have a built-in excuse for staying the same in some area of your life. Even though a change in our thought patterns might bring us exactly the better life we desire (healthier weight, a more fun career, better relationships), we have habitual excuses that keep us from moving forward. This book opens with a careful look at why you can indeed change lifelong habits, even offering clinical reasons why it is possible (“beliefs can override DNA,” page 26.)
I’ll pause here to say it is very hard to write a review of this book because it is so deep and there are so many quotable thoughts on each page that I really want to say just go buy it and read it! And I will admit that it took me a couple of months to read all the way through because I needed time to digest each chapter before going to the next. After all, we’re talking about changing life long habits and excuses. This book offers the background and blueprint for doing that, but you need to really grasp the concepts in the order presented to begin putting them into practice in your own life.
Anyway, that said, the book is not a difficult read – you just may want to allow adequate time to let it sink in.
The book goes into detail with a catalog of 18 common excuses people use to avoid changing old habits, such as “It will be difficult,” “It’s not my nature,” “There will be family drama,” and others. The following chapters walk you through seven principles for an excuse-free life, including things like awareness, contemplation and compassion, and applies them in detail to the common excuses.
There is a lot of 12-step-ish material in here, and that is o.k. After all, 12-step programs were designed to help people overcome unhealthy habits. But it is much more than that, offering a list of seven questions to ask yourself when making an excuse, including
- Is it true?
- Where did the excuses come from?
- What’s the payoff?
- What would my life look like if I couldn’t use these excuses?
- Can I create a rational reason to change?
- Can i access universal cooperation in shedding old habits?
- How do I continuously reinforce this new way of being?
There is a definite spiritual side to this book, though Dyer uses the term “the Source” and “God” seemingly interchangeably. The nice thing is that you can easily read the book within your own spiritual context. If you feel like your life isn’t moving forward the way you want it to or that something always holds you back, I strongly encourage you to get this book, read and re-read it. Many of the thoughts are not new, but they are worded in such a fresh way that you will find yourself smacking your head and saying “aha!” more than once!