Success is not one simple act, it’s a summation of your habits. In today’s world so many people want to become an overnight success. However, what you don’t realize is that the most successful people work extremely hard. For example, Jack Ma (founder of Alibaba) credits his success to hard work and dedication. NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant would wake up at 4:00 A.M. to practice free-throws by himself before official practice started with the Olympic team hours later. He literally practiced before practice!
Perfecting and practicing your craft are keys to success. The best way you can systematize doing those things is by creating positive habits. Like Jim Ryuh says, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
Today, I want to share eight bad habits standing in your way of massive success, and how you can tackle them head-on to achieve your dreams.
Bad Habit #1: Not being disciplined with your time
Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, time is our most precious and limited resource. There are only 24 hours in one day. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that you’ll wake up tomorrow. That being said, it’s critical that you’re disciplined with your time. Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, gets up at 4:30 A.M. every day. How’s that for discipline?
Sleeping and waking up at the same time everyday is good for your body and helpful in setting a disciplined, daily routine. Besides being strict about when you wake up and go to bed, it’s also important to be protective of your time. A great tactic to do this is to designate a few days or specific hours throughout the week for “success time.” These are blocks of time where you only focus on doing things that contribute to your personal goals, whether it’s learning a new language or working on a side business. By designating your “success time,” you’ll be able to focus on the things that matter most to you and will be less tempted to say “yes” to last minute social invitations or distractions that can get in your way. You also have to be able to say “no” to committing to things that don’t interest or benefit you. Remember, the few hours you spend doing something you’re not that into are hours that you could have spent learning or growing yourself.
Bad Habit #2: Analysis Paralysis
Do you spend way too much time trying to decide minor things, like what you’ll order at a restaurant or which toothpaste to buy? Successful people have a track record of making tough decisions with limited time and information. You have to develop habits that can help you do the same. If you struggle with analysis paralysis, challenge yourself to make better decisions faster. Contemplating over minor decisions is inefficient and time-consuming. Humans have limited willpower, so you’ll want to use your willpower for decisions that really matter.
One of the best ways to simplify decision making is to limit the number of options to choose from. The paradox of choice (which has been proven in numerous studies) states that when we’re presented with too many options we become overwhelmed and are then unable to make any decision at all. By narrowing down your choices to the top two or three options you’ll be able to decide faster.
While you can limit the number of options, you can also limit the amount of time that you have to decide something. If you’ve ever had a job offer, you know how effective a deadline can be when it comes to forcing you to make a decision fairly quickly. So if you’ve been debating about an important decision for years, give yourself one week to decide and see how much faster you’ll pick a path!
Bad Habit #3: Dwelling on the Past
We’ve all done things that we may have regretted, perhaps it was that missed promotion or the company you could have joined that just IPO’d. While it’s great to observe the past and learn from your history, dwelling on the past will only hold you back. Like the Buddha taught, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream in the future, concentrate on the mind on the present moment.” Focusing on the present moment will help shift your mind’s focus from the past and into the moment. It will help you feel more connected and grateful for the journey you’re on now, rather than thinking about the mistakes of the past.
How do you break out of this nasty habit? Set a reminder that alerts you a few times a day to do what I like to call a “mental double check.” It’s simply a way to check-in with yourself to make sure that you’re focused and engrossed in the present moment. When you get the reminder, check-in on your mind and figure out where your mind is. If you find yourself focusing on the past, take a few deep breaths and close your eyes to feel grounded in the moment so you can reset and get present again. If you realize that you actually are living in the moment, celebrate that achievement!
Bad Habit #4: Negative Self-Talk
Does that little voice in your head get you down? Remember, we become the things that we tell ourselves. Like Henry Ford says, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t. You’re right.” Your mental habits can make or break you. It’s important to get a hold of that little voice in your head, especially when it’s telling you that you suck.
So how can you start controlling that voice in your head so it doesn’t control you? Start taking note of the cues that trigger negative self-talk, it may be when you make a minor mistake or step into the office. Next, realize the routine that you’re in, are you complaining and being negative or telling yourself you’re not “good enough” to be there? Finally, rather than give into that negative voice, transform that thought into a positive one. Rather than beating yourself up for making a small mistake, immediately turn that thought into a positive statement about yourself. Another alternative is to simply own the mistake and propose how you will make sure that you will improve the next time. By distracting your mind with a positive thought or brainstorming how you’ll improve the next time around, you’ll stop yourself from triggering the usual negative self-talk that makes you feel like crap.
Bad Habit #5: Taking Things for Granted
No matter what issue you may be facing or how horrible the world may seem at a given moment, there is always something that you can be grateful for, it may be a family member or friend or something “minor” like a roof over your head. Being grateful is such an important habit to develop. Successful entrepreneurs like Oprah and Tony Robbins constantly practice it. Practicing gratitude is not only good for the soul, but studies have shown that it also lowers stress levels and increases quality of life. Grateful people also tend to exercise more and eat healthier.
An easy way to practice gratitude is to make a daily or weekly list of things you’re grateful for. These can be big or little things from people in your life, to running water in your apartment! Write it down in solitude. Find a quiet environment to truly internalize the things and reflect on what you’re grateful for.
Bad Habit #6: Staying in your Comfort Zone
Being successful means trying new things, meeting new people, and being open to different opportunities. With big risk comes big reward, so don’t limit yourself to your current comfort zone of your job, usual friends, and activities. Switch it up and start challenging yourself! The road to success is not easy, so learning how to adapt in different environments now can help you down the road. Like successful business coach Brian Tracy says, “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”
So how can you start expanding your comfort zone? A great resource is Meetup.com. Explore an interest you don’t have a lot of expertise in but want to learn more about and dive even deeper. Get to know new people who you can learn from and aren’t part of your usual social circle. Other ways to step out of your comfort zone include reading books or watching movies that are totally out of the usual genres you expose yourself to.
Bad Habit #7: Hanging Around Limiting People
You are the company you keep, so be sure you’re surrounded by supportive and positive people. Take a quick survey of the people who you spend the most time with. Are those people optimistic and positive? On the road to success you don’t have any time for negativity or pessimism. If you notice that the people you spend time with aren’t supporting you, then distance yourself. Find people who share your interests and encourage you to reach your goals. In today’s age there are so many awesome forums to find like-minded people, like Facebook groups, Slack, online forums, and Twitter where you can find a supportive tribe or even create your own!
Bad Habit #8: Comparing Yourself to Others
On the road to success be sure to define your own path. It’s easy to look at other people in the media or on your social networks and feel jealous of what they’ve got, but you never know the story behind the story. What may seem like an “overnight” success was usually years and years of blood, sweat and tears. Comparing yourself to other people can make you feel like you’re not good enough. To kick this habit, limit your time on social networks. This study showed that more than one-third of respondents reported predominantly negative feelings after using Facebook. They were also more likely to feel envious and experience lower levels of life satisfaction.
If you want to be really vigilant of the time you’re using on social media you can track it using apps like RescueTime or MinutesPlease. Remember, you’re on your own unique journey. You’re the only person who truly owns your own experience, so don’t worry about what other people are doing. Spend your time focusing on your own growth and achievement.
The path to success is paved with twists and turns, in order to achieve your dreams you have to build the right habits to get you there. Understanding the boulders that can get in your way will make you better equipped to tackle them head-on so you can attain massive success!
Featured photo credit: Paxson Woelber via flic.kr