Do you believe that some people are just plain lucky? That they get all the success in the world even if the rest of us also exerted plenty of effort- even more effort than they did? Is this just the universe playing tricks on us? Or do you believe that there’s a formula for success? Maybe they’re more diligent, they’re more friendly, they’re more (gulp) able and skilled. But sometimes, it’s about the small habits. These small habits make the big difference.
Here are some habits that might seem like attitude of “winners” but are actually counterproductive.
Making too many resolutions at once
This usually happens during the start of the year, mid-year, and birthdays. You’re so pumped up to change yourself right away that you make a very long list of resolutions right away. You want to wake up at 6 am everyday; you want to write one blog post every week, you want to read one good book a week. The problem with this “new-you” project is that it isn’t very sustainable. Sure you can keep it up for a day, even a week, but one month later you know you won’t be able to keep up. And then you try not to think about it coz you’ll just hate yourself. This happens everytime you make resolutions! This is bad because you’ll start to lose confidence in yourself. You start to doubt your capacity to take charge of your life and make good changes. But actually, it’s not because you have low EQ or that you have no sense of discipline, it’s sometimes simply because it’s sooo darn difficult to practivce 20 new habits and end 10 old ones in one go.
Solution: Drop those big resolutions. Instead, just deal with one to two things at a time. If you want to wake up at 6am everyday, that’s a big order. Work on that for a month until it becomes a habit before trying to remove/add another habit.
Having “Working Lunch”
You probably think you’re such a hard worker for working in front of the computer while you munch your lunch. Although it might increase your productivity, this has a negative psychological effect. Working in front of the computer gives you a feeling that you’re working too hard. You may feel good about yourself a little for being “more diligent than others” but if you do this often, it will burn you out. Take a break when it’s breaktime. Sit in the cafeteria and savor your lunch, for Chrissakes. The feeling of working too hard and being deprived will catch up on you (and your social life, family, health) and it will do you more harm than good.
Solution: Don’t work during lunchtime. Ever. If you’re already doing this, ask a colleague to pull you out from your chair and drag you to the cafeteria. And maybe you can have a bet. If you insist working during lunchtime, you have to pay him $100.
Obsessing with Your To-Do List
Making a daily list of to-dos is a great way to stay on top of your work. However, there is one pitfall-it can make you inflexible. “A lot of people feel their day’s been wrecked if they have to change their plan, but the most effective people understand that’s part of the job.
Solution: When something goes wrong, don’t think you day’s schedule is ruined. Inhale, exhale, then try to restructure your day without sacrificing anything. But if your schedule is totally ruined, then there’s tomorrow. Loosen up.
Too much time on Facebook
Or Twitter. Or Pinterest. Or silly online games…and they’re totally unrelated to your job. Instead of stalking random people on Facebook, why don’t you use this time to make more productive things that might take you closer to your goal. I’m not saying that you should stay away from Facebook all day long. You can check maybe 15-30 minutes a day but more than one hour is wasting time.
Solution: Discipline yourself or let Google Chrome discipline you. Google Chrome’s website blocker allows you to set restrictions to your online time by either totally blocking your favorite websites or just restricting the timeframes within which you are allowed to check them.
Sleeping Too Late
They say early to bed and early to rise will make you healthy, wealthy and wise. Healthy- of course. Not only will it give your body the rest it needs from all a day’s work, it also helps create a healthy lifestyle. If you sleep early, chances are you’ll wake up early. And although some artists want to work late at night because that’s when they become more imaginative, it will be bad for them in the long run, too. Again, this is psychological. Winners, except those who have exceptional talent, tend to start their days early. If you wake up at 6am, you have a 4-hour advantage to those who usually wake up around 10am. This makes you feel good. And because you feel good, you want to become more productive.
Solution: Sleeping pills. Also, wake up early each morning and your body will look for sleep earlier at night. And, if you wake up early, you probably won’t have as much unfinished businesses at night.
Desire Without Much Action
Desire will never be enough. Some people just romanticize and envision what they want and then that’s it. They’re so inspired but they don’t do the actual steps to reach their dreams. Maybe they think that it will come someday…they’re too confident that they’ll achieve their dreams. But they don’t get out from their routine and actually start the small steps required to reach their goal.
Solution: Stop dreaming and start taking steps. Even one baby step a day. If you just keep on fantasizing, even if it looks so real you can touch it, nothing will happen. Always include baby steps to your to-do list.
Slacking off during the Third Act
There are some people who get too excited during the first act. They plan every nitty gritty detail, they make a very long (and detailed) list of what needs to be done for the project. They become control freaks and want every single thing organized. They’re always on time. All signs of a successful person. But on the final stages, their energy wanes and there are times they just can’t be reached or seen or felt. They start to act the exact opposite of how they acted on the first stage. Are you one of them? Then you are not alone. Many people are like this. And that is why only few people really succeed.
Solution: Just don’t slack off. Period. How you deal with this depends person to person so just find what works for you when it comes to disciplining yourself.
Sticking too Long at Something That Isn’t Working
There are just some endeavors when quitting would do you more good than bad. But this is very tricky. How would we know exactly that it’s really time to quit? Others say we should never quit because who knows, we might be so close to our goal when we decided to stop. An article in Psychology Today about knowing When to Quit says that you have to ask yourself this question: “What do I need to reach this goal, and can I get what I need? Look at the whole picture. If successfully reaching this goal means more time and effort than you can spare without sacrificing other important goals, you may need to walk away.”
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