For every success in life, whether it’s a job promotion, good parenting, or losing extra pounds, you need to have the right mindset. Set your goals and a plan. You also need, though, to get rid of habits that hold you back. They act as a kind of gravitational pull, holding you back from soaring.

5 Small Habits That Are Holding You Back from Success

5 Small Habits That Are Holding You Back from Success

Habits like this come in two types: what you do and how you think. Do your best to remove these actions and thoughts from your life.

What You Do

1. Procrastinating.

You make plans to succeed. They’re good plans, well thought through and actionable. But then…you just don’t do them. Maybe it’s improving your health by running every morning. On Wednesday, it rained, and you thought: “I’ll do it Thursday.” Thursday you had to get out the door early for a meeting. No dice. It seemed okay to put it off on Friday because the workweek was almost over. See how it goes? Your plan wasn’t put into action all that week. Make sure you stop putting things for later (Check out these 5 easy steps to stop procrastinating).

2. Wasting time with e-mail or social media.

Yes, it’s important to keep up with your e-mail. Social media can be an effective means of communication too. But they all too easily turn into time sucks. If you check your e-mail every 15 minutes, you are diverting your energy from forward-moving tasks. Ditto checking social media every 15 minutes. The key here is planning. Make it a goal to only check e-mail in the morning, around lunch, and at the end of the day. Unless social media is related to your job, keep it to weekends or evenings – and limit it to an hour, tops.

How You Think

You also have to think in ways that don’t hold you back. Many life goals and successes are determined by how we conceptualize our abilities and limitations. The remaining 3 are related to how we formulate success plans.

3. Being reactive, not proactive.

In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, Stephen R. Covey cites becoming proactive as a key shift in perception that makes people more effective. Think there’s a problem with your son and his teacher? Is the teacher not appreciating him? Is he avoiding all homework as a result? Don’t wait for the problem to become overt. Have a frank discussion with both and proactively avert a problem.

4. Setting the bar too high.

It’s fine to have goals and plans. It’s key to being successful, in fact. When can it hold you back? When your goals are too high to be achievable. Say you want to get healthy by running. You commit to running 10 miles a day right off the bat. However, it’s too much. You’re tired and overwhelmed. Change — all change — happens in increments. Start with 2 miles and work up gradually.

5. Waiting for approval.

If you have a plan for success, go boldly forth. Yes, there are times when others have a legitimate say in what you do. You can’t enact changes to a sales plan without your boss’s approval. You probably shouldn’t make family vacation plans without your spouse being on board. But you are your own boss for success in other areas. If you want to learn Chinese, change careers, or build a patio, you don’t need approval from friends and neighbors. Be the master of your own fate.


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