Jul 29, 2019

Part 1 of 6


“It’s not my fault.”

small belief

This is one of the oldest excuses I learned as a child.  It was a protective mechanism to avoid punishment. And embarrassment. And pain.

It’s a tiny sentence. Something all of us say. It certainly doesn’t sound all that bad. Or is it?

How often do we say a version of this sentence to ourselves? When we’re parenting, commuting, working, eating.

“It’s not my fault.”

These 4 little words create the fundamental belief that our problems exist outside of ourselves. That we aren’t the cause. We blame external conditions on our own conflicts and challenges.  And when we deflect our attention away from ourselves, we are no longer “responsible” for the things that get in the way of our success.

But the truth is, when we tell ourselves “It’s not my fault,” really what we’re saying is, “This problem is outside of my responsibility. So in the end, I’m powerless to change it.”



We all have things we want to change in our lives, whether it’s enhancing our relationships,  making more money or improving our fitness.  But ultimately, identifying these external goals isn’t the most important part of improving ourselves –  what’s more important is HOW you go about your day-to-day.  What choices are you making? How are you behaving? Until you really dig into your established patterns, you really can’t change anything long-term. You’ve got to start by TAKING RESPONSIBILITY.

So, I hate to break it to you…. But it IS your fault.



Until I took full responsibility for my life, the belief that, “It’s not my fault!” ran deep in my head.  So often I’d say to myself, “Well, I didn’t have time,”  “If only SO AND SO would do this… then I would…”, or, “I am just not a morning person.”

Do you see how often we PUSH OUT the responsibility?  Sure, bad things can happen to us.  But guess what? We can choose every day how we react.  We can say to ourselves,  “My life is MINE. I own it.  And if I’m not happy with how things are going, it’s my fault.

And do you know why changing this one little sentence is so empowering? Because now you can do something about it.



Let me give you a few coaching strategies I use with my individual clients:

  1. Identify your thinking without judgment (foster awareness/mindfulness)
  2. Reset your Mindset (break your pattern of thinking)
  3. Create a Turnaround (a new belief or decision or thought)


Identifying your thinking without judgement is the first step.  If you’re not aware of negative or self-defeating thoughts, it’s impossible to change them.  This is why SELF AWARENESS is a powerful skill to develop.  So stay aware and  see if you can catch yourself having the, “It’s not my fault/it’s them/it’s outside of my control”-types of thoughts.

Resetting your Mindset (pattern of thinking) is the next step.  Research on the brain tells us that we develop patterns of behavior (or, “pathways”) that become second nature.  Good or bad, the more we do this, the easier it is to mindlessly continue to behave in ways that aren’t helpful to us.  The brain is wired for survival and not happiness. But we know now that we need to do more than just survive. So we’ve got to reset this pattern by interrupting it and replacing it with a new thought or action. I like to wear a rubber band around my wrist as a way to SNAP myself into a new way of thinking when I catch myself doing it.

Creating a Turnaround for your thoughts is as simple as changing a statement you make in your mind.  For example, the statement, “I don’t have time,” can be turned around to, “I have time.”  Or – another version of the old time excuse,  “I’m not able to exercise today” can be turned into, “ I am choosing not to exercise today.”  And when you OWN that, you can now work on taking responsibility and shifting your behavior.



I’ve given you a powerful, life-changing concept:  your life is your fault – good or bad, happy or sad – so if you want to change it, it’s up to you.  It all starts with owning your life, what you do and how your respond to what happens to you.  The more you can develop this MENTAL MUSCLE the better you will get at empowering yourself to make lasting changes.

This week, slip a rubber band on your wrist as a reminder that you are going focus on taking 100% responsibility for your thoughts.  Take time to watch and listen to your mind.  Use the  3 strategies of IDENTIFYING, RESETTING and TURNING around that way of thinking so you can own it.  And then? See what happens to your week.  These may seem like small tweaks. But like all new and positive habits, when done consistently over time,  you’ll find yourself stepping into a stronger, clearer version of yourself.

And I’m with you every step.


Phil Dozois, Personal Coach + Entrepreneur