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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

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 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, 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.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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