I’m Done Making Excuses (Again)

October 10, 2012

I’m doing it again.

I’m hitting snooze 4x before getting out of bed. I’m ignoring the running shoes sitting beside my dresser. I’m getting up so late I don’t have time for breakfast. And I’m procrastinating my evenings away in front of my laptop and the television.

I’m tired. Scratch that, I’m exhausted. I’m still getting used to my new time zone. I wasn’t hungry. I can’t miss this show. I need to relax. And it’ll all happen eventually.

Please slap me if I say any of those things to you. I’m just making excuses.

Do you remember this post? I do. I wrote it almost 2 months ago and I’m sad to tell you it was full of lies. I wasn’t back and better than ever. I was stuck. I wanted to be better… but I wasn’t better. And I’m still not.

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve been the same since I finished school in July. After a year of barely sleeping, in-between working full-time, going to school basically full-time, interning at LearnVest and writing here, I crashed. Hard.

Then I picked up an old habit I had missed dearly during my crazy schedule: socializing. More specifically, partying. If you remember, I barely drank at all during my first year of writing this blog. In fact, I made excuses to stay in, just so I could save money.

That all changed, in July. Wine nights went from a monthly event to an almost every other day event. With them came food (mostly take-out) and cab rides home. And soon, the extra money I used to put on my credit card debt was being flushed down the toilet.

It didn’t take long for one old pattern to turn into other old patterns. I stopped working out as often. I stopped budgeting. Fortunately, I didn’t rack up any credit card debt, but I did spend too much money – money that could’ve done a whole lot more than fund a few nights I can barely remember.

I have a feeling this topic could turn into a series of posts but, for now, I will just say this: it’s shocking to look back and see how one excuse can turn into one hundred. In my gut, I knew I was making excuse after excuse… but I needed a friend to tell me I was, before I could admit it. (Thank you, friend.)

All I know right now is: I am a better person, when I don’t drink. I may not be as confident or as fun at parties, but I am a better person in every other moment of the day. And there is no more proof of that than looking back at everything I accomplished in my final year of school.

There is a reason I was able to accomplish so much in one year: I was driven. Not only was I determined to finish my degree, I was motivated by the fact that my spare time was spent writing meaningful content. Getting out of debt was my personal goal but showing people how I did it was my passion.

I want to find my passion again.

It’s time for me to take some of my own advice: If you aren’t willing to admit what you really want, it probably won’t ever happen. But even more so than saying it aloud, you have to take whatever action is needed to accomplish your goal. “Nobody said life would be easy, they just said it would be worth it.”

Goals for the next 5 days: get ahead at work, join the GoodLife Fitness down the street, and start writing content for the second site I’ve been daydreaming about for months. Screw waiting until I’ve caught up on sleep, made a plan, or feel ready. No one is ever ready and there is never a right time.

I just need to start where I am, use what I have, and do what I can. And if that includes getting used to the idea that I may be better off without alcohol in my life, so be it.

  • Rob October 10, 2012 at 4:31 am

    I’ve never joined a gym or fitness center; instead I’ve just got up early each morning – rain or shine or snow – and went jogging in my neighbourhood. It got my energy up and my motivation going, plus it was free. With that as a habit I then had the energy to hit the day running and each night slept like a baby – always at the same time. Routine for the body helps the mind I find and with that comes the motivation to tackle the goals (large and small) that I set out to accomplish for myself. Sure I’ve slacken up at times over the years. We all do that because we’re human but I’ve always caught myself whenever that happened and returned to flying right. And so can you. Just be persistent and don’t mentally beat yourself up when things slide at times. A self pep talk and then get back in gear. But be as determined and motivated as you can when you do and all will turn out just fine. Been there, done that.

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      I don’t mind running but I genuinely do enjoy hiking and lifting some weights. No road in Toronto is going to offer me that… treadmill, it is!

  • Travis Pizel (@DebtChronicles) October 10, 2012 at 5:06 am

    I’m going through a very similar experience right now as well, Cait, so I can identify. As you know, I ran a marathon on Sunday. That was a goal that has been THE driving force behind my exercising for the last two years (two years!). The first year I had plantar faciitis and couldn’t run at at all…..I worked to lose weight and rehab my feet back to health. About a year ago when I could start running again, running the marathon on 10/7/2012 was the focus each and every time I wok up at 4:30am, every time I stepped in the gym.

    I took Monday off (planned), but stepped in the gym yesterday and felt lost. I got out of bed and drove to the gym out of habit, but I didn’t know what I was doing there. I didn’t have a focus….I didn’t have a reason to be there. I have to have a new goal, a new focus, and new driving force. I have some ideas, but I haven’t bought into any of them fully. Until I do, I’m exposed to dropping out of my exercise habits. So, I need to come up with one….and fast.

    As far as alcohol is concerned….well, from the time I was able to spend with you in Denver, you certainly don’t have to worry about being “unfun” if you don’t drink. I came to the realization a few years ago that when I got together with a certain group of friends, I always drank alcohol – because that’s just what we did – whether I really felt like it or not. One night I just didn’t feel like it, and grabbed a bottle of water instead. I was on the receiving end of some good natured ribbing, but I still had a great time. I don’t let the situation dictate whether I drink or not…..I let my own state of mind do that. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t – but I’ll have a good time either way. :)

    Good luck in finding your focus and getting back on track. See you in the #pfworkout stream. :)

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 8:46 am

      Thanks for letting me know I’m still fun when sober. It’s good to know my lame jokes + the fact that I laugh at them = ok in your books, haha.

      How are you feeling this week? Have you picked a new goal to work towards?

  • Anneke October 10, 2012 at 5:24 am

    Hi there

    Thank you so much for sharing this post. It’s a very brave thing to do to admit that you have lost your way. I’ve been struggling with the exact same things. I’m trying so hard to figure out what I feel truly passionate about so that I too can make a change in other peoples lives.

    We need to go through all these phases in order to find ourselves again. Looking forward to your new ventures and great content.

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 8:47 am

      Thank you for your comment, Anneke! I’m excited to see if this blog shifts direction at all, going forward. Hope you’ll continue reading :)

  • Jordann @ My Alternate Life October 10, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Hey there,

    I wouldn’t be so hard on yourself. My first year out of university I just took whole year off to relax. Sure I had this blog, but I didn’t work on it on weekends, and I didn’t have any side hustle or anything like that going on. It was really helpful to just rest and recharge after four years of high stress living.

    You seem ready to jump back in now, but maybe that unwinding was necessary in order for you to be ready now. Either way, I’m glad you’re getting back onto the healthy and productive living bandwagon.

    • Lauren Bee (@Lbeemoneytree) October 10, 2012 at 6:25 am

      I agree with Jordann, I think you are being a little hard on yourself. You do deserve a break, and it takes TIME to adjust to a new/job/city/life. You did it once before, so eventually you will find that fire again.

    • Jordann @ My Alternate Life October 10, 2012 at 6:36 am

      ** I also had a full time job, I wish I could’ve not worked at all!

      • Cait October 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm

        Thanks, ladies.

  • bogofdebt October 10, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Hey lady,

    • bogofdebt October 10, 2012 at 6:21 am

      Wow, apparently I can’t leave a comment :) As I was saying, I’ve pretty much given up on alcohol and it was a gradual change. I still feel fun but I also feel better as I don’t feel it’s a “have to” thing anymore. And its okay to take some time off-it really is. Sometimes that is what is needed to help motivate you back to doing what you want.And once in a while, I go a few days without exercsising because I really don’t feel like it. Eventually I find my will power to go back and it looks like you have found it too.

      • Cait October 16, 2012 at 8:48 am

        Thanks for your comment, lady! I’m ok with not working out for a few days… but I just went a month without doing anything, haha. Slowly getting back on track with it all. *Hug*

  • Sean @ One Smart Dollar October 10, 2012 at 6:25 am

    Cait we all go through these moments. I have been having a terrible time getting myself out of bed in the morning. The motivation isn’t there when your alarm goes off and its still dark outside. Just the fact that admit that you have fallen into a rut is good. It wont take long before you snap out of it. One good run or one good evening of productivity with do the job.

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 8:49 am

      Thanks, Sean! And you were right. I went for a good jog on both Saturday and Sunday morning and am already starting to feel better.

  • Canadianbudgetbinder October 10, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Chin up Cait and thanks for sharing these strong emotions you have inside. The best part is you are recognizing them and want to make a change. Drinking at parties is overrated really it is. Learn to have one or 2 drinks, stay alert and you will see how much fun it can be. I remember when I was younger and thought I had to drink to have a good time, what a load of crap that was. You will find your way back Cait… always here to help and motivate my friend. Cheers Mr.CBB

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 8:51 am

      Well, that’s where the the struggle comes in. Do I know how to only have 1-2 drinks? Yes. But do I want more after even just 1? Also, usually, yes. It’s best I just avoid it altogether. But I appreciate your thoughtful comment and support!

  • Plunged in Debt (@PlungedinDebt) October 10, 2012 at 6:57 am

    I agree,don’t beat yourself up, we’re human and not near perfect all the time! Especially don’t beat yourself up for changes you had to make (moving/adjusting etc). Sure partying more that your use to may have been a slight lapse in judgement but you’ve realized it and will get back n track, life is too short to beat yourself up or hold personal grudges. I agree with Sean that one good run/productivity day will make you feel so much better. Good luck!

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 8:51 am

      You were both right! Thanks :)

  • Budget & the Beach October 10, 2012 at 7:20 am

    I think we all go through these cycles in life. It’s good you recognize your own patterns and can make a new plan. Don’t beat yourself up, just get back on the horse and you will feel back to yourself in no time! BTW I have this same problem when it comes to spending. Just this month as I have finally gotten some freelance work, I’ve loosened up a bit and haven’t paid as close attention to things as I should have.

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 8:52 am

      It happens so easily, doesn’t it? And then all of a sudden it’s been happening for a month. Bah. I’ll keep you on track, if you do the same for me? :)

  • Chad Ryan (@chad_ryan) October 10, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Cait, your post inspired me to stop with the excuses in my life. Just this morning I slept in until 45 minutes before I had to be at work. My excuse was that I was up late last night and needed the rest. It’s my own fault for being up late. I want to thank you for this post.

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 8:54 am

      Your comment made me so happy, Chad! You should always catch up on sleep you’ve missed, or your body will start to hate you… but if getting up early is a priority, make no excuses, and go to bed when you know you should. Have a great week!

  • MoneyMateKate October 10, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Actually, I think you’re ahead of the curve. Most people keep the party going after college for years. The thing to watch out for is… being around people who are drinking is generally fine, but isn’t fun being around people who are getting trashed. Pick your social situations wisely.

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 8:55 am

      Absolutely. I’ve been sober at many parties before and, depending on who I’m with, can still manage to happily dance my way until 3am. But the situation has to be right. Thanks, Kate!

  • Cassie October 10, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Congratulations on catching yourself so quickly!

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 8:55 am

      Thanks, Cassie! xx

  • eemusings October 10, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    I always appreciate your honesty. The thing is that you’ve recognised those patterns and can now DO something about it.

    None of us are perfect – we all struggle with balance on a daily basis. It’s especially hard when you’re going through a transition period, as you have with graduation, moving, and generally doing some soul searching.

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 8:56 am

      You’re right – none of us are perfect. And I don’t want to be perfect. I just want to be the best version of myself that I can be. Thanks, lady. :)

  • Frugal Portland (@frugalportland) October 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    I’m right there with you, Cait, and this was a lovely, honest read. Alcohol is a depressant. Plain and simple. I’m sticking to two glasses a night, three nights a week, and never ever alone. Also I need to exercise. I am grumpy and I think that will help.

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 8:57 am

      Exercising definitely changes your attitude! About life, about yourself, and more… Do it, do it! And thanks for your support, hun.

  • ownyourawesome October 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Sometimes we have to get THERE to go somewhere else. I hit THERE on Sunday also..and now…it’s about something else. And it’s fun! And exciting and I don’t have a clue how to get there..which is the best part. Way to go! Rita

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 8:58 am

      Rita, we need to meet in person one day. Seriously. I need some of your “cheerleading” abilities to rub off on me! Thanks for your comment, xo

  • Mrs. PoP @ plantingourpennies October 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    What’s the somewhat pithy phrase for this situation? “Recognizing you have a problem is the first step to solving it.” Good for you for realizing that you’re living a life you don’t want to live.

    Good luck making the changes to get you where you want to be… and don’t beat yourself up too much if it takes longer than you hope.

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 8:58 am

      Thanks. Mrs. PoP!

  • Mo' Money Mo' Houses (@momoneymohouses) October 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I do find that I’m more productive and driven when I don’t drink, and even one beer or glass of wine will make me just want to veg out instead of write, or anything really. I have cut back now that it’s fall (summer it seems like the drinks are always flowing) and I’m glad because I also want to focus on exercising more and putting all that possible wine money into my savings.

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 8:59 am

      I agree with everything in this comment. It’s like you read my mind. Thanks for adding everything I forgot to say :)

  • ND Chic October 11, 2012 at 7:18 am

    I think you were probably making up for the time you were in college. I think the most important thing is that you recognize that it can be a problem for you. I honestly don’t think that anybody who is drinking actually cares that somebody else may not be drinking.

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      Maybe not. But I’ve been sober at a lot of parties before and people always bug you about it.

  • moneyrabbit October 11, 2012 at 7:51 am

    I officially sentence you to come running with me. That is all.

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      Sigh. Ok, I’ll try to keep up… lol

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  • Drop that Debt October 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I’m a little bit late on commenting, but I just had to once I read your post. I do think you need to give yourself a break. I just got out of school in April and it’s okay to not have motivation when you’ve been working SO HARD. You’ve burnt yourself out, so let it heal until you feel up to doing things again (which sounds like you may be now, but even if not, give yourself time). As with drinking, there was a few years ago that I was drinking excessively to deal with my issues, and it just ended up compounding them even more. Maybe you are wanting to relieve the stress that you have been under for months. All I can say is, try to remove yourself from those situations as much as you can, or have one drink and then water, because alcohol just tends to make things worse (plus costs money !!)

    Good luck with everything. :)

    • Cait October 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm


  • Singletothepenny October 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    End of the day, you only have to answer to yourself. When ever I feel down, people always try to point out how much I have accomplished and in a short period of time. All I can think is, I am exhausted and don’t want to do it anymore.
    And then, just like you did, I wake up. I put myself together and move forward.
    It’s life, Cait, and we all figure out how to live it: one day at a time!

    ps. We have to plan a date!