Stop Making Excuses

Back in 2007 my husband and I set a goal to pay off our mortgage “by December 2011 or sooner.”

Well, it’s the beginning of 2010 and we have paid off about 12.5% of our mortgage so far. To be on track, we would have had to have paid at least 50% of our mortgage by now. So we’re behind.

What happened? Well, we had some unexpected expenses. Just this past year alone I paid out over $10,000 in things I hadn’t planned on. And that’s just for my own expenses — there were additional things like big household expenses and vet bills too.

While all those things did happen, I’ve just spent the last paragraph deliberately lying to you to make a point. None of the things I listed are reasons why we are behind in progress on our goal. They’re just excuses.

The real reason we’re behind is that we haven’t made our goal the priority. Only about two of the unplanned things I mentioned actually had to be dealt with at all. Even then, those two things could have been dealt with less expensively. It would have been unpleasant, but it could have been done.

On top of what I mentioned, we could have forgone trips to Italy, Nebraska, Washington, Mexico, and New York. We could have decided not to do two complete bathroom remodels. We could have eaten out less. We could have gotten second jobs. We could have done a lot of things.

You get the point.

If you really want to reach a goal, make it the priority and stop making excuses.

That’s what we’ll be doing this year.


  • To stop making excuses is great, but I would be more worried about becoming discouraged since you are behind the plan of making your goal.

    Getting out of debt can be a long and arduous process–therefore, continuous motivation is a key.

    I would instead look at how much progess you’ve made–maybe that will jumpstart you again and allow you to put behind you this past year’s “excuses”.

    Good luck!!!

    • Hm, actually I’m not discouraged at all. I’m even more motivated than before because it’s apparent that I could have relatively easily been right on track before. So I still think it’s doable.

  • Terry

    I’m unemployed, unskilled, over 50, and can’t afford to go to school to get a skill. Those se all seem like valid reasons to me. What am I missing?

  • Terry, that seems like a tough situation, but you might be selling yourself short. I can tell right away that you have at least two skills: the know-how to use the internet and the ability to type. Have you looked into temporary work through an agency? (Assuming that your goal is to get a job.) You might also try making a list of your interests & hobbies. Many times those contain hidden skills. Do you qualify for any government-run job training programs?