Just like finding habits that can be useful for you it's important to find habits that are holding you back.

 

Most of these 6 habits can easily become such a normal, everyday part of life that you hardly notice them (or how they affecting you).

 

1. Not showing up.

 

Maybe you've heard this quote by Woody Allen:

 

"Eighty percent of success is showing up"

 

One of the biggest and simplest things you can do to ensure more success in your life - whether it is in your social life, your career or with your health - is simply to show up more. 

 

If you want to improve your health then one of the most important and effective things you can do is just to show up at the gym every time you should be there.

 

The weather might be bad, you might not feel like going and you find yourself having all these other things you just must do. If you still go, if you show up at the gym when motivation is low you will improve a whole lot faster than if you just stayed at home relaxing on the sofa.

 

I think this applies to most areas of life. If you write or paint more, each day perhaps, you will improve quickly. If you get out more you can meet more new friends. If you go on more dates you chances of meeting someone special increases. Just showing up more can really make a big difference. Not showing up will not get you anywhere.

 

2. Procrastinating half the day. 

 

To keep it short, two of my favorite ways to get out of a procrastinating state are:

  • Do the most important thing first. What this means is simply to do the hardest and most important task of the day first thing in the morning. A good start in the morning lifts your spirits and creates a positive momentum for the rest of the day. That often creates a pretty productive day.
  • How do you eat an elephant? Don't try to take it all in one big bite. It becomes overwhelming which leads to procrastination. Split a task into small actionable steps. Then just focus on the first step and nothing else. Just do that one until it's done. Then move on to the next step.

3. When actually doing something, doing something that isn't the most important thing right now.

 

One of the easiest habits to get stuck in, besides procrastinating, is to keep yourself busy with unimportant tasks.

 

To be effective you probably need some kind of time management-system. It might be something really simple, like using the 80/20-rule at the beginning of each day. The 80/20 rule, or the Pareto Principle as it's also known, says that you'll get 80 percent of your results from only 20 percent of your tasks and activities. So you need to focus most of your energy on those few important tasks to be effective.

 

When you have prioritized using this rule just write down the top 3 most important things you need to do that day. Then, from the top, start doing them. Even if you just get one of the things done then you have still done the most important thing you could do today.

 

However you organise your work it is of highest priority to find the most important tasks so you don't spend days, weeks or months doing busywork that isn't that essential anyway. Just getting things done faster isn't that useful if the things you get done are unimportant to you.

 

4. Thinking too much.

 

And thereby seldom taking action. Paralysis by analysis can waste years of your life. There is nothing wrong with thinking before you do something. Do some research, make a plan, and explore potential upsides and problems.

 

But compulsively thinking and thinking and thinking is just another way to waste your time. You don't have to examine everything from every angle before you try it. And you can't wait for the perfect time to do something. That time never comes. And if you keep thinking you'll just dig yourself down deeper and deeper and taking action will become more and more difficult. 

 

Instead you just need to stop thinking. Shut of your mind - it just helps you up to a point - and go do whatever you need to do.

 

5. Seeing the negative and downsides in just about anything.

 

When you see everything from a negative perspective you quickly punch a hole in your own motivation. You find faults everywhere and problems where there are really none. You cling to details. If you want to find a reason to not do something then that's no problem. From a negative viewpoint you can find ten reasons every time.

 

And so very little gets done, you whine to anyone who wants to hear - and many who don't - about how crappy your job, life and boss is. Which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as you create the life that is appropriate considering how think and see your world.

 

A solution is to realise the limits of a negative perspective. And that your perspective isn't some kind of 100% true picture of the world. Then try other perspectives. You can do so by using more helpful questions such as:

  • What is good about this situation? Or what is good about my life right now even though this one thing may have gone bad?
  • What can I learn from this situation?

6. Constantly on information overload.

 

With information overload I don't just mean that you read a lot. I pretty much mean an overload in all input. If you just let all information flow into your mind it will be hard to think clearly. It's just too much stimuli. A few more potential downsides to this habit are:

  • Some of the input you receive will be negative. The media and your surroundings often put a negative spin on things for various reasons. If you aren't selective about what input you want in your life then you'll be dragged into this negativity too. This affects how you think, feel and act.
  • It creates an urge to keep up with what's happening but there are always ten more things happening so you can't keep up. This makes life stressful.
  • It becomes hard to make decisions and take action if your mind is constantly bombarded with information or trying to sort through it all. Personally I find that if I get too much information it leads to a sort of paralysis. Not much gets done. Or you get stuck in habit #3 and keep busy, busy, busy at high speed with low priority activities.

To be able to focus, think more clearly and take action it's useful to be more selective about what you let into your mind. When you work shut out as much distractions as possible. Shut off the phone, internet and shut the door. It is strange how much you can get done when you aren't interrupted every fifth minute or have the opportunity to procrastinate by checking your inbox or Facebook.

 

Now I'm not suggesting that you should stop reading all websites or newspapers. But think about what you really want to read and what you read just read to fill your time. And have a look at other areas of input where the doors are wide-open.

 

For instance, you don't have to let in all the negative emotions from your surroundings. If everyone else are procrastinating or are anxiously keeping themselves busy by doing low-priority tasks at warp speed it's easy to be influenced by that mood and way of thinking. If you have a door, then it might be good idea to shut it and focus on doing more important things.

 



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