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8 Things Successful People Sacrifice For Their Success

8 Things Successful People Sacrifice For Their Success

Four years ago, I went through one of the most difficult times of my life. I’d recently given birth to my third child. I was breastfeeding up to 6 times in a night. My husband was working night shifts. I was also trying to get my writing career off the ground. I would often feed my daughter and type with the other hand. I had broken sleep for months on end and still took my other two children to school on time. I made many sacrifices to follow my dreams. And every single one of them have paid off in the end. If I hadn’t made those sacrifices, my writing career wouldn’t be where it is today.

In order to achieve what we really want in life, we have to make sacrifices. Here are 8 things successful people sacrifice for their success.

1. Time

I am often asked how I juggle being a mother of three young kids, with work and study. I often jokingly respond with, “Lots of coffee.” But in reality, it’s how I make use of time. Truth is, there are so many things to do in a day – it’s not about having enough time, it’s about making use of your time. We all have the same 24 hours and we all have the opportunity to use our time wisely. When we sacrifice time, we’re prioritising a certain task over another one. That task and all the others we accomplish – are the key to our success.

I write to-do lists every day and I stick to them. I set my own deadlines. I try my best not to procrastinate. But if I do, I don’t beat myself up about it. Negative self-talk and thinking, “I wish I had more time” simply takes away the time you still have! You can think, “I only have 20 minutes to do my work.” or you can think more positively, “I have 20 minutes to do my work. If I use this time wisely, I’ll be 20 minutes closer to finishing the task.” If we don’t make better use of our time and achieve our small goals, then we’ll never achieve the bigger ones that are most important to us.

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2. Stability

My family has always been on one main source of income. Although my writing pays, it doesn’t provide us with the stability of a second income that we require. In order to follow my dreams, we are sacrificing stability and leaving ourselves with unpredictability. There are weeks in which we earn more money than others. There are weeks in which I have no articles to write and others in which I have two to write several every day.

It’s not the most ideal way to live your life, but it’s a sacrifice I have to make to move my career forward. Successful people have to deal with instability, financial or otherwise, and their life can feel like a rollercoaster. But the good news is, roller coasters go down but they also come back up. If we don’t risk instability, we’re giving up the chance to make our lives better.

3. Personal life

I have been happily married for almost 7 years, but we’ve had our challenges. There are times where I have sacrificed time with my husband to finish an article on time. There are times where I postpone a playdate with another mother to a more convenient time. When we are determined to succeed, we have to make changes in our personal lives – in our friendships and our relationships. It’s not about neglecting your loved ones – it’s about working around your personal life.

Each one of us has their responsibilities and sometimes we simply have to compromise with other people. If we don’t learn to say ‘no’ or give up a night out with friends to study/work, we are the ones who suffer. These are the moments in our life when we have to think of our needs, be sensitive to our loved ones’ feelings and hope that they’ll understand that we need to do what’s best for us.

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4. Sleep

There are nights in which I plan to take a break from writing and I fall asleep on the couch. As much as I’d love to be in bed cuddling with my husband, I know that things will not be like this forever. When I’ve had a much needed nap, I wake up feeling very refreshed. It’s late at night, everybody is asleep and I’m feeling energised. Some nights I really push myself but I always try my best to sleep 6 hours a night. And if I can’t, I make up for it another night.

Sometimes, no matter how productive you are during the day, you need those extra hours at night. Without those extra periods of peace and quiet, you may not be able to get everything done. For those wanting to achieve success, the rewarding feeling they get when they’ve accomplished their task always makes the reduced amount of sleep worth it.

5. Health

The reality is, when we’re determined to achieve our goals, we might start to neglect our bodies and our minds. We start to eat less healthy, do less exercise or maybe reduce it to none at all, we might even put our emotional and mental health at risk. It may not be the most ideal thing to do, but those determined to be successful know that it’s only a temporary solution.

We may not be able to put our full attention into our physical, mental and emotional health but we have to be aware of when our body is being overworked. Successful people may start to neglect parts of their life in order to improve other parts of their life. But this can only last for a while. Sooner or later you have to live a healthier life or you’ll regret it in the future.

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6. Quiet times

My life is pretty jam packed at the moment. I’m often rushing around trying to fit everything in. My husband and I want to move to a bigger house. We want to give our kids more room to play in, more room to entertain their friends, a more comfortable house for them to grow up in. So this is why my life is so busy at the moment.

I work from home to support my husband’s income. I study from home so when our kids are at school full-time next year, I can have the qualifications to look for a job. I always keep in mind that I need to cherish the moment, but I know that I need to plan for the future as well. Successful people know that the busyness will not last forever.

7. Sanity

There are days when I’m feeling more stressed, tired and overworked than on others. There are days when I question whether what I’m doing is really worth it. But I know it is. Working hard towards our big goals in life was never meant to be easy. These goals and aspirations for the future are meant to test us, challenge us, and help us to realise how badly we really want them.

Maybe your family and friends call you crazy for working so hard. But you need to do what’s right for you. Don’t forget to take breaks, to relax when you really need to, to take time out for yourself. But know that in those temporary crazy moments, you are a step closer to having what you truly want.

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8. Immediate desires

There are so many things that each of us wants right now. Things that might encourage us to procrastinate when we really shouldn’t. We might want to do something simple like check our Facebook feed. We might want to do something more significant like buy a new car. But the question is – what is most important to us? We have to make the choice between our immediate desires and the needs that will propel our dreams forward.

Fact is, it’s not wrong of us to have these immediate desires, these temptations to choose the ‘easier’ option’. It’s normal to feel that way. However, when we sacrifice what we want right now, we are saving our time and energy for something more important. Something that will bring us one step closer to our real goals. Something we truly want, not just something we want right now.

Maybe we don’t want to sacrifice our time, stability, personal life, sleep, health, stillness and sanity. Maybe it just feels too difficult. But I’ll tell you right now, I’ve sacrificed every one of these things at one point or another. I wouldn’t have gone from writing on a personal blog to working as a freelance writer/journalist, if I had chosen the easier option. I wouldn’t have grown as a person if I hadn’t made those sacrifices either.

If you want to be successful and achieve what you really want in life, you’ll have to make sacrifices. But when you reach the end of that mountain, you’ll be so very glad that you never gave up the journey.

Featured photo credit: Close up of handsome young businessman via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on November 15, 2019

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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