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8 Simple Ways We Don’t Realize We’re Holding Ourselves Back From Success

8 Simple Ways We Don’t Realize We’re Holding Ourselves Back From Success
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In an increasingly fast-paced world, there’s more pressure than ever to be your most successful self. While many of us think we are doing all we can to get there, there are several things holding us back that are easy to miss. Whether it’s bad habits, flaws in our thinking, or lack of bravery, it’s easy to get comfortable with where you are and forget where you’re trying to go. Whether you’re pursuing new professional heights or a well-rounded, emotional view of success, avoiding these pitfalls can make all the difference in your road to success.

1. Overthinking holds us back.

One of the more common ways to keep yourself from success is by hesitating instead of acting. One fundamental rule of business states that if you have imagined a solution or product, it’s likely that someone, somewhere in the world, is working on the same thing. In order to be truly successful in your line of work, it’s important to jump in as soon as you have a good idea.

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2. Fear is our worst enemy.

Another way we shortchange ourselves out of success is by being afraid to follow our ambitions. Whether coworkers, the task at hand, or personal insecurities are at the heart of our anxieties, it’s important to recognize when you are afraid for no good reason. Fear of the unknown can prevent you from taking the leap of faith you need to catapult yourself to real success.

3. Procrastination is self-sabotage.

Another way we sabotage our own success is by procrastinating the crucial tasks in our lives. Procratination is a bad habit that’s easy to sink into. It’s easy to get carried away with day-to-day errands that take time away from commitments that are more important. Avoid getting caught in a vortex of email, spending too much time cleaning, and being overly social, if you really want to find your road to success.

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4. Those who self-obsess miss out on great oppurtunities.

Just as important as avoiding being overly social, is making sure you are not overly self-obsessed. By not being dedicated to your friends, or being disingenuine with your coworkers, you may lose connections that may have otherwise helped your career. Professional networking is important, but some of our best opportunities sometimes come from our personal social circles. Try and avoid being to self-obsessed, and be genuine with your social circles so they know you will be there for them professionally, as well as personally.

5. Busyness is not the same thing as success.

Another all too common way to take time away from working toward success, is to mistake busywork for important work. Avoid over cluttering your life with errands in order to make time for the unexpected problems and commitments you’ll need to tackle on your way to personal and professional success.

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6. You know what’s best for you.

Another way to cheat yourself out of success is to be overly cautious and avoid going with your gut. Following the rulebook is important in any professional setting, but real rewards await those who are creative and innovative. Following your gut may be scary or unconventional, but ultimately will be the most rewarding path.

7. If we only accept perfection, we can’t appreciate what we already have.

Another simple way that we are unaware of standing in the way of our own success, is by failing to value our accomplishments. Being overly concerned with perfection, or undervaluing the progress we’ve made so far, gives yourself less credit than you deserve. By failing to see what we’ve already done, we may find ourselves with a lower self-esteem, or lower confidence, and may be less willing to go after challenges in the future.

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8. Hesitating is the death of initiative.

Finally one of the most important things to make yourself successful is to take initiative. In a world of ever-increasing connectivity, learning new skills only takes a click of a button. Take initiative to go after the skills you need in order to take the next step in your life. If you jump at the opportunities you have now, you will find that success is soon much closer.

Featured photo credit: hotblack via morguefile.com

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Alicia Prince

A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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