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13 Common Bad Habits That Hold You Back From Success

13 Common Bad Habits That Hold You Back From Success

Habit-forming goes hand in hand with success. There’s no ‘if’s’ or ‘buts’ on this one; it is essential to create solid habits that align with your values for you to make a success in whatever area of your life you wish. Creating habits that will serve you is all well and good, but have you ever honesty sat down and assessed the areas that might be holding you back?

It’s almost as if you are sitting in your car, foot firmly pressing down the accelerator, but you are going nowhere. Until you release the handbrake you are not going to move. Bad habits are your handbrake and for every great idea you will need to release the handbrake. Below are 15 habits that are currently holding you back from getting exactly where you want to go.

1.Waiting for the right moment

There never really is a right moment, so waiting around for one is pretty much a waste of your time You have to pick your moment – the one that suits the direction you want to go in right here, right now.  Waiting for the right moment can be disguised as procrastination, or if I may say so, fear. If you live true to your values then every moment should be acted on within the best of your interests. In every second of each day you have total control of each moment so aim to make each one fit right with you. Be aware, take the opportunity and create, create, create.

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2. Needing approval from others

Once you understand that you are responsible for everything that has come and gone in your life you’ll realise that everything from here onwards depends on you as well. Taking action and having faith in your own decisions will make you a leader and therefore will not wait around for the opinion and approval from others.

3. The need to always be perfect

Striving for perfection is almost a form of self-harm.  It’s like being that dog in the cartoons chasing its tail. It’ll never happen, because perfection doesn’t exist. Think about it: when is anything ever perfect? Life is always yin and yang so you have to accept that striving for perfection can be damaging to your success. It brings with it unhappiness as there is always ‘something else to do’ when at times its better to be proud of your achievements thus far.

4. Too stubborn to let go

Ideas will come and go, so will good people, business colleagues, employees, partners… but for your creativity to blossom you have to find a way to allow these things to leave your universe as easy as they came in to it. Nothing lasts forever so learn that letting go will allow you the freedom of thought to make better of your life and move you further in the direction of success. Be careful not to create an emotional attachment to things, as they will become harder to let go. Know that the person, idea or whatever you are holding on to does not define you so there is not need need to cling to it. Lose the emotion, lose the stubbornness and make way for the new.

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5. Not apologizing for making mistakes

Apologizing can really hurt your pride, right? Admitting liability for things gone wrong is not something that we are too comfortable with. What about stepping out of your comfort zone and having a look around you? The people you value the most, and have the best connection with, are the ones that are honest and open to you. If you want to move on in business and in life and want to be respected learn that apologizing for your mistakes is vital in moving forward. People respect honesty and any trust barriers will be broken.

6. Not learning from people “less” than you

I was once told by good friend that “everyone has something to offer” and at times when I’ve felt like like I haven’t needed input from anyone else I have reminded myself of this and allowed myself to open my mind. The truth is there is no one “less” than you and once you accept that your stubbornness will disappear. This doesn’t mean you have to take in everything that everyone says, but listen and give people your time as you may find that you will discover a little diamond of information that you just needed.

7. Not willing to do something beyond your duties

A little more effort goes a long way. You’ve heard the saying “you get out what you put in” right? Well it’s true, and you’ll find that those that are super successful do not sit around and revel in their accomplishments, they are always figuring out how they can do more and continue excelling. This also extends to stepping out of your comfort zone a little and surprising yourself by doing something you don’t usually do. You’ll feel great about it too, and it’ll become addictive.

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8. Spending too long worrying about the outcome

We all worry at times but letting worry take over you is not going to propel your success. There is only so much in your control so you can do something about it but there are many things that are out of your control and therefore will not serve you to worry about.  put in the hard work and from there onwards relax and let be what will be.  if you worry you will clog up your brain power and lose your creativity to continue your creative work.

9. Comparing yourself to others

Success should be a personal matter. Each individual should define what success means to them and you have to be doing that yourself. Find what’s important to you and what success looks and feels like to you and be in total control of that feeling. Looking at others and always knocking yourself down because you haven’t achieved what they have or own what they own is unnecessary. You have your divine right to create the kind of success that you have worked for.

10. Not assessing your mistakes

Mistakes are part of life; we all know that, but if you’re making the same ones over and over again don’t you think that there is something going seriously wrong? It’s time to assess your mistakes honestly. Break them down and ask yourself honest questions, first of all why they may be happening and why you didn’t act differently from last time. This will help you find better solutions for the future.

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11. Not working on your weaknesses

I’m sorry to break the headline news to you, but yes, you have weaknesses. That’s a great thing, though, because for every weakness, you have a strong area. Once you identify your weak areas spend a short amount of time each day working on ways to improve them. For example, if you know you need to improve your anatomy knowledge for your work, spend 15-20 minutes a day reading up on areas that you find difficult to understand and slowly but surely you will gain a much better understanding of what you need to learn.

12. Spending too long doing the things you don’t like doing

Is this contradictory of the point above? It certainly isn’t. What I’m getting at here is different to point 11. If doing your accounts drives you mad and takes up far too much of your valuable time, then hire an accountant and the job will be done properly. People often think about the expense of getting others to do work for them but trust in others’ expertise and let your mind focus on the things that you do well.

13. Taking life too seriously

Life can get you down for sure, but when you feel like the world is caving in on you remember how wonderful life is and think about all the great people and moments that have contributed in bringing you to where you are today. Remember when you were a child and you used to run around with youthful exuberance free of pain, stress and worry? Sure we have a lot more on our agendas as adults, but bring yourself back to that feeling of freedom because at any one time when you feel yourself sinking you have the freedom to take off and act upon making things better.  Your success is important, but you have full control of making of it what you wish. Smile more, love more and great things will inadvertently come your way.

Featured photo credit: brian carlson via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 22, 2019

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

4. Get up and Move

We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

The Bottom Line

It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

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Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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