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5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Success (And Don’t Know It)

5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Success (And Don’t Know It)

Success is the end-goal du jour. We’re all striving, climbing, achieving our way to success. We’re working hard to achieve the lives we’ve always dreamed of. But success always seems just out of arm’s reach. No matter how far we climb, we never seem to be able to catch success. It’s always just around the bend or at the next milestone–five more clients, 50,000 more dollars, one big newspaper article. It’s frustrating. It’s discouraging. And it’s just plain inefficient.

Success has always been right in front of you, just waiting to be taken. You’ve just been sabotaging yourself to stop you from getting there. Here are five ways that you’re sabotaging your success (and just don’t know it).

1. Always striving for more.

There’s never enough. We always need to fill the bucket higher. We want more money, more fame, more clients, more partnerships–just more of everything. Because we feel like we’ll be successful once we hit a certain metric. And then we hit that metric and still don’t feel successful, so we extend it just a bit further. The truth is that you have to decide when you’ll give yourself permission to be successful and enjoy. There will always be more that you could do. There will always be more success to achieve. But when are you going to let yourself enjoy the success that you have right now?

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2. Trying to be prepared.

We work our butts off to make sure everything is ready before we take a step forward. We edit and re-edit, we hesitate, we doubt our abilities. We stop ourselves from doing anything because we’re afraid that it might not be perfect. We’re a culture of perfectionists. We don’t want anybody to see our vulnerabilities because that will show just how not good enough we are.

But nobody who’s ever changed the world started by feeling ready. They’ve just done it. They’ve gone forward and taken a step and learned along the way.

Self trust is the most important skill you can have to be successful. If you’re waiting until you’re ready, you’ll be waiting a long time to let yourself accomplish your dreams. Nobody is ever ready. It’s about digging deep, trusting yourself, and jumping off the cliff, anyway.

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3. Putting a limit on your worth.

Early on in life, we sized ourselves up and decided just about what we think we’re worth–how much love we should receive, how much money we should make, how much abuse we have to put up with. Any time we start to creep above that line, we shoot ourselves back down. Because we don’t feel like we deserve more than we’re worth.

If you are having issues raising your rates, asking for a raise, or just applying to that dream job, take a look at what you think you’re worth. Why are you afraid to raise that limit? Why don’t you think you deserve more than you’re getting?

It may seem outside of us, but the truth is that we’re the ones who decide our own worth, and then we tell the world what we’re willing to settle for. Don’t settle for anything because you’re worth way more than that.

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4. Misunderstanding failure.

The number one fear holding people back from success is the fear of failure. We’re all terrified that we’re going to fail. But who is the judge of failure? If I trip while I’m walking, did I just fail at walking? If I get fired from my job, did I just fail at business?

We’re the only judge of our failures. We can choose to see them as failures, or we can choose to see them as minor setbacks. We have the ability to keep getting back up when we fall down and learn new ways to do things. Failure is only what you decide it is. And, if you’re not ready to throw in the towel and fail, then you might as well take the lesson and try something new.

5. Waiting until you get “there.”

There is this magical place that we’re all trying to get to. All the time, I hear from clients, “When I get there, I won’t have to work so hard” or “When I get there, I’ll raise my rates.”

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The truth is that there is just an arbitrary milestone. We don’t need anyone’s permission to be as successful as we want to be. All we need is to decide today that we’re going to do what we want. Maybe we want to take off half the day and get a massage. Or maybe we want to raise our rates because we think we’re worth it. Or, better yet, we might just want to take a vacation.

We have the ability to do anything we want with our lives. We don’t need to wait for someone to tell us it’s okay. We don’t need to wait for a certain milestone to give ourselves permission. We can choose to be successful right now.

It has more to do with how much success you can allow into your life and less to do with how much you can achieve. If you want to be successful, commit to doing it right now. Do things before you’re ready, try and fail at everything, know how much you’re worth, and allow yourself to be successful today.

The only person who’s been sabotaging your success is you. And it’s time to change that. Because you deserve it.

Featured photo credit: Carbon NYC via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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