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4 Things That Hold You Back from Success

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4 Things That Hold You Back from Success

Imagine you are walking down a street in your local neighborhood. Suddenly, your eye catches a breathtakingly beautiful rose garden on your right. It is vibrant, bursting with a variety of bright colors, and emits a heavenly scent. You notice how beautifully manicured it is, with bright, colorful roses lining the garden and yellow sunflowers poking their heads out in the back.

But then, suddenly, your attention gets drawn to the garden directly next to this. It is an awful sight, completely overgrown and wild. The garden is dull and full of weeds with many ‘unwanted plants’ that have grown. It looks sad and miserable.

Life is very much like a garden. Each garden looks very different and every garden holds within it unlimited potential. What have you been sowing in your garden?  What are the results you have reaped?

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Perhaps you have been trying your best to create your ‘dream’ garden but you are just not seeing the results you want. Is there too much sun, too much water or too much shade? Getting a successful garden to grow, is not easy and you may be doing a few things that are holding you back from having success.

1. The law of weeds

What are you planting exactly? If you don’t plant flowers, weeds will grow for sure. In other words, if your thoughts and actions are not geared towards success, they will bring you results you don’t want.

Identify the weeds in your garden and spots the wild shrubs that are strangling the roses from growing. Every bad habit, limiting thought or action, does not only hold you back from success, but reinforces what you are not happy with, making it harder to change each time.

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2.  A half-grown garden

What will your garden look like if you only spend a few hours a week gardening? Some roses might grow here and there, but it will most likely be teetering between success or failure. Most people want to have more success in life but they don’t want to actually work for it. You can see it every day, people put comfort before results and that is definitely going to hold you back.

You also have to do some things you don’t like and no half jobs. You are going to have to prep the soil, get your hands dirty, etc. Put results before comfort, success is not about staying in your comfort zone.

3.  Always digging up your seeds

You need to be patient to see the results you want and to be successful. When you plant a flower, you believe and trust that it will grow. You don’t dig it up every day to see how much it has grown. Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough time to produce the results we really want or we half halfheartedly try something and we give up too easily. We live in a world where instant gratification is possible and we assume this means every area of life. Patience could be your missing link to success.

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4. Every flower is different

Every flower is different, unique and special in its own way. Just like you. Most people struggle to have success in an area because they are too influenced by outsiders. Do you feel torn between doing what you want and what others say you ‘should’ or ‘need’ to do; you must look, act and talk a certain way to be successful. Ironically, it is when we don’t give ourselves permission to be ourselves completely that we actually fail.

You cannot separate who you are from the success you achieve and you need to give yourself permission to do it ‘your way’, you already know what is right for you.  You need to remain impartial sometimes to other people’s words and actions and how much you allow them to influence your success.

Lastly, if you really feel that you have been spending hours gardening, and you have applied what you have learnt, but your garden is still not growing, how can you identify why your garden is struggling?

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It isn’t easy to see your blind spots, so asking yourself similar questions to these could be your best next step

  • If you viewed things from another person’s point of view, what new information would that perspective give you?
  • How do you normally sabotage or hold yourself back – and what will you do differently this time?
  • What might you have to give up in order to be more successful?

We tend to focus more often on what is going wrong, rather than what is going right and sometimes we forget our small successes. Remember that success is a journey, not a destination!

To your success!

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More by this author

Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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