Of course, your intentions are great. This time, you’re going to make it to the movies on time. To the office staff meeting. To the workout appointment with your trainer. To your counselling session. This time, today will be different. But now, once again, you’ve gone ahead and done it. You’ve failed to achieve what seems like such a simple goal. You show up late.

Well, don’t slink around feeling guilty. Instead, think about why your tardiness keeps happening so you can choose to do something different next time. Read this post to figure out your motivation for showing up late. There’s not lateness gene, so all you can do is look in the mirror and admit that these might be one of the reasons you’re using for being late.



The Top 4 Reasons You're Chronically LateIf you grew up in a household where mom and dad, or mom or dad, were always late, you are automatically behind the eight ball. Between the ages of one and 18, the subconscious mind accepts belief systems that may or may not be healthy. For the child that always sees mom and dad struggling to be on time, well, that reality is normal. So the number one reason why people are late is because they saw this modeled , by an important role model, growing up.

You can’t use learned behaviour as an excuse to keep this highly selfish act moving forward. And being late is one of the most selfish things you could ever do. Being late basically tells the other person “my time is more important than yours.” And I don’t care if it’s a boss, lover, child, or best friend. If you’re late on a regular basis, it’s a high form of disrespect. The other way that we model, or go against the model of what we saw growing up, would be if I mom and or dad was extremely punctual. Military type. We might rebel.

One of my clients from Australia, who I worked with for four months via Skype, found out that her rebelliousness against authority for being on time began because her mom and dad were extremely punctual, and chastised her for being lazy. So as she grew up, she pushed back against authority. It began in high school against teachers. Then college. Then when she entered the workforce, she continued to rebel and it cost her the potential of several promotions. After we did all of this work together, she now arrives if not on time, 10 minutes early every day. Incredible success story, knowing that she had struggled for 30 years and in a few months we turned it all around.


The Top 4 Reasons You're Chronically LateActually, laziness is another trait accepted by the subconscious, where we just decide that it’s not worth the effort to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. So we’re lazy in regards to time. We could get somewhere on time, but it’s easier sort of hanging out and doing something else that we’d rather do.

Now, if you are your own boss, if you’re dating yourself, if you are your best and only friend, then it doesn’t matter if you’re lazy because you’re not hurting anyone else in the process. But as you can see, this tongue in cheek example will not work in the real world.

Years ago, I worked with a gentleman who dated a woman who could never arrive anywhere on time. She was simply extremely lazy. It didn’t matter if it’s going to a child’s school function, or meeting him at the movies, she never could get there on time. And it ended up destroying the relationship.

Laziness? It’s a reality.


The Top 4 Reasons You're Chronically LateSome people use arriving late as a way to get attention. Now these very people swear they don’t do it. But the reality is they are looking for people to notice them. Another former client’s wife would show up late at every holiday function. And when she walked in, everyone would say, “The queen has arrived. Now we can begin opening the Christmas presents.”

Everyone laughed it off, but it really wasn’t funny to most people there because they had been waiting, which is never fun. And the fact was, she wanted attention. When I worked with her for several months at first she became angry at me when I mentioned that it could be for attention. But as we looked at all the examples over the years how she used her tardiness to have people notice her, she couldn’t help but accept the truth: it was one of the fastest ways to be noticed in her life.

Healthy? Hell no. But it worked.


The Top 4 Reasons You're Chronically LateSome people use tardiness, or being late on a regular basis, as a passive aggressive move against their partner. What does that mean? It means they’re unhappy, but they don’t have the strength to talk openly about their dissatisfaction, so they do something they know is going to frustrate their lover.

A client of mine would beg his girlfriend to please be on time at the movies. She would promise over and over again she would. But as he entered the theatre, looking around for her, once again, for the 10th time in a row, she was nowhere to be found. As the movie began and he was sitting in his seat, he would get a text from her that read: So sorry I’m running late. I needed to clean the kitchen floor…I’ll be there as soon as I can. 

Can you believe that? That’s the question he kept asking me. The relationship eventually disintegrated, and when I worked with her in the months later, she admitted that it was her own way to get back at him for her unhappiness in the relationship. Pretty sad. But pretty true.

David Essel, is a number one best-selling author, counsellor, master life coach, and international speaker whose mission is to positively affect 1 million people or more every day, regardless of their current circumstances. 

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