The bad habits you should give up if you want to be successful

Published December 29, 2016 by lagmen

Women stretch arms at a hot spring

Sometimes, to become successful and to get closer to the person we know we can become, we don’t need to add more things to our lives—we need to give up on some of them.

There are certain things that are almost universal. These things, if you give them up, will help you become more successful (even though each one of us could and probably should have a different definition of success.)

Some of them you can give up today, while others might take a bit longer. As the years draws thankfully to a close, it’s worth thinking about what aspects and habits of our lives we should let go of in 2017.

1. Give up on the unhealthy lifestyle

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” — Jim Rohn

To achieve anything in life you need to start with your body. Before you can take care of anything else, you have to take care of your health. On a basic level, these are the two things you need to keep in mind:

1. Healthy diet
2. Physical activity

These might seem like small steps, but you will thank yourself later. Believe me.

2. Give up the short-term mindset

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” — Mae West

Successful people set long-term goals, and they know that these aims will only be achieved through short-term habits that need to be observed and maintained every day.

These healthy habits shouldn’t be something you do; they should be something you are. There is a difference between: “Working out to have summer body” and “Working out because that’s who you are.”

3. Give up playing small

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”—Marianne Williamson

If you never try to take the big, bold opportunities, or trust enough in yourself to allow your dreams to become reality, you will never realise your full potential.

This means, in turn, that the world will never benefit from what you could have achieved. So voice your ideas, don’t be afraid to fail, and certainly don’t be afraid to succeed.

4. Give up your excuses

“It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.”―Randy Pausch

Successful people know that they alone are ultimately responsible for their actions in life, no matter their starting point, weaknesses, or past failures.

Realizing that you are responsible for what happens next is both frightening and exciting. But it’s also the best way that you can reach success. Excuses limit and prevent us from growing personally and professionally. Own your life; no one else is going to do it for you.

5. Give up the fixed mindset

“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.”―Robert Greene

In a fixed mindset, people believe that their intelligence and talents are fixed traits. Thus, so this line of logic goes, talent alone creates success — without effort.

This is wrong. And successful people know this is wrong. Instead of assuming talent will automatically create opportunities, successful people invest an immense amount of time developing a growth mindset, acquiring new knowledge, and learning new skills.

Remember, who you are today is not who you have to be tomorrow.

6. Give up believing in the “magic bullet”

“Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better” — Émile Coué

Overnight success is a myth.

Successful people know that making small continuous improvement every day, will be compounded over time, and give them desired results. That’s why you should always plan for the future but focus on the day ahead of you. Even improving a tiny percentage each day will add up over time. Be patient and trust in the process (and yourself).

7. Give up your perfectionism

“Shipping beats perfection.” — Kahn Academy’s Development Mantra

Nothing will ever be perfect, no matter how hard we try.

Fear of failure (or even fear of success) often prevents us from taking action, and putting our creation out there in the world. But a lot of opportunities will be lost if we wait for things to be right.

So, “ship,” and then improve (that 1%).

8. Give up multi-tasking

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”—Winston S. Churchill

Successful people know this. That’s why they choose one thing and then beat it into submission. Whether it’s a business idea, a conversation, or a workout, focusing all your efforts on a single task will pay dividends.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t start and complete multiple tasks overall. But being fully present and committed to one task at a time is indispensable.

9. Give up your need to control everything

“Some things are up to us, and some things are not up to us.” — Epictetus

Differentiating these two is important.

Detach from the things you cannot control, and focus on the ones you can. Everyone needs a reminder that sometimes, the only thing you will be able to control is your own attitude. This isn’t always a fun realization, but it’s an important one.

And remember, nobody can be frustrated while saying “bubbles” in an angry voice.

10. Give up saying yes to things that don’t support your goals

“He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.” — James Allen

Successful people know this that to accomplish their goals, they will sometimes have to say no to tasks, activities, and demands from friends, family, and colleagues.

On a short-term basis, this might force you to sacrifice your desire for instant gratification. But when your goals come to fruition, the monetary frustrations will all be worth it.

11. Give up the toxic people

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”―Jim Rohn

The people we spend the most time with help mold us into our future selves.

We must surround ourselves with people who make us better, both in our personal and professional lives. Don’t waste time with those who are trying to drag us down or who are content with the status quo. Instead, you should be seeking out people who exemplify the traits and successes you want in your own life. If you surround yourself with people who are more advanced than you, no matter how challenging it might feel at first, you will be more successful. Don’t let your pride hold you back.

This month, do quick survey of the people in your life and see if you need to make any changes.

12. Give up your need to be liked

“The only way to avoid pissing people off is to do nothing important.” — Oliver Emberton

Think of yourself as a market niche. There will be plenty of people who appreciate that niche, and there will be individuals who don’t. No matter what you do, you won’t be able to make an entire market like you, so stop trying to market yourself for mass appeal.

Instead, continue improving and contributing every day, and know that a growing number of doubters probably means that you are doing important things.

13. Give up your dependency on social media and television

“The trouble is, you think you have time.” — Jack Kornfield

Impulsive web browsing and television watching is a modern societal disease. These two should never be an escape from your life or your goals.

Unless your goals depend on either, you should minimize (or even eliminate) your dependency on them. Direct that time towards things that can actually enrich your life instead.

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