Hardly anyone is ever satisfied about their lives. Most people complain how they are unable to achieve their goals, how they are too tired, too overworked to follow up on their dreams. Yet almost none of them actually tries to change something. Recently I also was trying to change my life. I was sick of all of the negativity, so I decided to create my own list of bad habits which keep stopping me from achieving what I want. I hope they will help you as much as they helped me.
- WAITING FOR “PERFECTION”
The biggest enemy of all.
Spending too much time waiting for the right moment is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. Be it needing approval from others, waiting for the right moment, preparing too long, postponing stuff for a better opportunity. They all are creating a trap for your time and potential. While you’re giving yourself another day off, believing today is not the right time to start, continue or finish, someone out there is taking your chance away.
If you want to break this habit, follow one simple rule. When you have an idea – do it right now. Have you been thinking about starting exercise? Get on it right now. The 20 minutes you have been putting off for weeks, can be done right in this moment and the 20 minutes into the future, you will thank yourself for it.
Do not excuse yourself with lack of resources or tiredness. Taste of accomplishment will keep you going.
- PERSEVERANCE VS STUBBORNNESS
Perseverance is what gets you past difficulties and helps you achieve all that you set yourself to do. Stubbornness however, will get you stuck in front of a wall, that you will not break through. Sadly, very often people mistake their stubbornness with perseverance, ending up wasting their time and resources.
Stubbornness is connected to your ego and to you trying to prove something, either to yourself or to the world. This makes you end up loosing all of your energy in the wrong place. Perseverance is powered by your goals. It helps you keep going and figure out a solution to even the toughest of problems.
- THE EXTREMES
Extreme number 1: you are too nice. There is nothing wrong with it, however, if you frequently apologize, if you’re too afraid to ask, to step your feet into the door, you won’t get far. Constantly worrying you might be rude and out of line, letting people walk all over you, will hold you back even more than a two concrete blocks tight to your legs as you sink to the bottom of the river.
Just be honest, reasonable and don’t let other people take advantage of you.
Extreme number 2: you’re too full of yourself. You never acknowledge your mistakes, you believe you are smarter than anyone else. This leaves you underestimating the circumstances. People will not be willing to cooperate with you due to your arrogance. Not to mention, that you can’t improve this way, your attitude will stop you from seeing a clear picture of the situation.
- THE UNDECIDED
You keep worrying so much about the outcome of your action, that you’re spending most of your time trying to figure out whether you should or should not make a move. It can take months or even years for you to make up your mind. But of course, after such a long hesitation, the opportunity will be long gone. In that time you could have already tested it out and analyzed the results. No one says you should jump into any situation without managing the risks. But planning and strategizing shouldn’t take forever.
- THE AVOIDANCE
Many of us have a terrible habit of avoidance. We often pretend a problem doesn’t exist, just because we do not have the guts to face it. What is even worse, we avoid admitting our own weaknesses, because they might be too difficult to fix.
This is the source of all procrastination. This is also, where blaming others about every little bad things that happens to us takes it roots. Just how easy it is to point a finger at someone else. For sure way easier than actually admitting your own faults.
And here is the bad news – there is no gain, without the hard work. If you want to break this habit – simply man up and face your issues.
- THE LIES WE TELL OURSELVES
We tend to undermine the things we want but cannot get. For example, you yearn for a home cooked dinner but you cannot do it on your own. So you convince yourself and even tell your friends, cooking at home is waste of time or that you’re too busy with your work. You have a hundred of excuses why you are not doing something. But the truth is you are too afraid to try and possibly fail. Be honest to yourself and don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is how we learn and move forward.
- THE STRUGGLE
Someone once told me, if you’re already exhausted and still haven’t finish your work, this means you haven’t managed it well enough. We struggle so much, trying to do everything by ourselves, when there are things you can outsource to other people. If you try to do everything by yourself, you will end up feeling like there’s the weight of the world on your shoulders. That might drive you away from your original task and you will waste your time and energy. Outsource, prioritize… And you won’t struggle.
- THE NEVER-ENDING COMPLAINS
Complaining is high on the list of worst habits you can get. Yet, almost everyone complains all the time. You can believe something is always wrong, or too difficult or unfair… Or you can accept the fact and focus on what you can do. For example some of us spend hours complaining to our friends how busy we are, when we could have use this time to actually finish a task. There’s plenty of other things you could have done in that time, that will be healthier for you, as many scientific research suggests that complaining leads to negativity that will take over your mind, health, coworkers, friends… Negativity is infectious and most people reaction to it, is stay away from the source of it.
- THE NEGATIVE BEING
Has it ever happened to you that you answered someone with “no”, even before your brain actually processed the question? And you did that because you’re used to starting sentences with “no”, “I can’t do it”, “this won’t work”. Later you’re gonna complain that nothing changed, nothing happened, which will drive you even deeper into your negativity.
How about next time, you will think through a proposal before refusing it? Think clearly about the possible outcomes, what you may gain. If you’re afraid, think where that fear is coming from? Are you afraid of networking, because of poor social skills? Well, the best way to improve your skill is practice.
You’d be surprised how much, turning no into a yes can do for you.
- THE FLOW OF EXCUSES
Excuses, complaining and negativity follow one another, combining into triple danger that is highly difficult to escape from.
Probably you haven’t finish your goal so you explain to yourself, how tired you were, or someone was disturbing you. Maybe that goal was too difficult. You tell yourself, you will do it tomorrow… But tomorrow something was wrong again. So, there is another tomorrow. And another and another…
Here is one of my favorite quotes, that helped me stop saying “tomorrow” and do it right now. “Tomorrow never comes, because when you wake up, it’s already today.” Again, whatever you have to do, do it now.
- THE LACKING OF GRATITUDE
For some, when they hear they are being ungrateful, they will tell you they say thank you to people, when they do something for them – it’s simply good manners. However, the gratitude most of us lack is the appreciation of yourself, people around you, the things you’re lucky enough to have. Being grateful and appreciative is something that shows through your attitude, makes you more positive and draws people to you.
Spend a few minutes a day to be grateful, honestly and simply grateful. You will see how quickly things will change for better.
- THE CLOSE-MINDED
Networking, openness towards change and new possibilities are a must if you want to succeed. That’s why if you have a rather close-minded attitude, you will miss out on a lot of stuff. If you stick with only your opinion or idea, your chance for improvement will decrease. That’s the beauty of mankind – we improve through connecting our ideas and efforts.
If you decide to change any of those given habits, a good way to control them is to log into a journal everyday situations that made you face those habits and how did you change your behavior instead of following the bad, old way. It really helps you stay aware of repeating the same mistakes and gives you space to analyze yourself and see which behavior you want to keep and which to avoid.
Article written by Dagmara Chen, a 26-year old entrepreneur based in Poland. This article is part of a series – The Lateral Journal. First appeared here