If you really want to become the person you were meant to be, say goodbye to these 9 habits

Have you ever felt like you’re just going through the motions, not quite living up to the potential you know you have? 

I was once in the same boat, caught in a cycle of habits that held me back from progressing in a meaningful way. 

What changed?

Well, I realized that that journey to becoming the best version of ourselves isn’t about adding more to our plates; it’s often about what we’re willing to let go of. 

With this in mind, we dive into nine detrimental habits that, once discarded, can pave the way for a more fulfilled, productive, and happier life. 

Let’s get to it.

1) Procrastination

“Maybe later,” “I’ll start tomorrow,” “Just one more episode.” Sound familiar? 

We’re all guilty of these phrases at some point, pushing tasks to an undefined “later” that somehow never becomes “now.” This habit of procrastination not only delays what needs to be done but also casts a shadow of guilt over our idle moments.

It’s a silent killer of productivity and contentment, trapping us in a cycle of inaction and regret.

We could all do with following Picasso’s advice: “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” Picasso’s remarkable legacy is a testament to living by this principle.

But how?

Having battled with procrastination myself, I discovered several strategies that helped me break free from its grip:

  • Time blocking: Allocate specific blocks of time for tasks. This transforms the abstract ‘someday’ into a concrete ‘today at 3 PM.’
  • Setting achievable goals: Break down your tasks into smaller, more manageable goals. The satisfaction of ticking off a small task can fuel the motivation to tackle the next.
  • Understanding your ‘why’: Connect each task to a larger goal or value. This makes the task more meaningful and motivation more intrinsic.
  • Eliminating distractions: Create an environment conducive to focus. This might mean turning off your phone or using apps that limit your use of social media.

2) Perfectionism

Striving for perfection might seem commendable, but it often leads us down a path fraught with stress and unrealistic expectations. The pursuit of flawless results can create an environment where we’re afraid to make mistakes, stifling creativity and innovation.

And as noted by The National Library of Medicine, it’s actually a significant cause of procrastination. The fear of not meeting our own high standards can lead us to delay starting projects or making decisions, ultimately hampering our productivity and growth.

To counteract the pitfalls of perfectionism, adopting a ‘good enough’ approach can be liberating. 

This doesn’t mean settling for mediocrity but rather recognizing that imperfection is a part of being human.

By focusing on progress rather than perfection, we can embrace our mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth, leading to a more fulfilling and less stressful journey toward our goals.

3) Saying “yes” to everything

This one was a huge one for me, as I would often find myself stretched too thin, overcommitted, and ultimately underdelivering. 

We all only have 24 hours in a day, and the reality is that we can’t do it all. 

The consequences of saying ‘yes’ to everything are far-reaching, often leading to burnout, a significant drop in the quality of our work, and a profound sense of dissatisfaction with our personal and professional lives.

So what’s the solution?

Say “no” to almost everything. As put by bestselling author Greg McKeown of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less: “If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.” 

This principle has been a game-changer for me. It’s about making peace with the fact that by saying ‘no’ to the non-essentials, we’re saying ‘yes’ to our priorities, to quality, and ultimately, to our own well-being.

The first step in this process is to ask yourself, “What is truly important?” This simple question can help us cut through the noise and focus on what truly matters. 

From there, it’s about setting clear boundaries and being intentional about how we allocate our time. It involves prioritizing tasks based on their importance and urgency and, more importantly, learning to be okay with the fact that some things just won’t make the cut.

4) Comparing yourself to others

personality traits more important to success than intelligence If you really want to become the person you were meant to be, say goodbye to these 9 habits

So you’re casually scrolling through social media and find yourself inundated with images and updates of people living seemingly perfect lives. 

There’s your former classmate, now a high-flying executive with a corner office view. Then, there’s that neighbor with the picture-perfect family, always on some exotic vacation.

And don’t forget about your college friend who just bought a house that looks like it’s straight out of a magazine, complete with a fancy new car parked outside. 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing our behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel. But does this constant comparison make us feel better? 

No. 

Instead, it leads to a spiral of self-doubt and diminished self-esteem. We stitch together the best parts of everyone else’s lives, creating an impossible standard for ourselves. One person’s career achievements, another’s happy family life, someone else’s luxurious home and lifestyle—it’s an endless, irrational comparison.

It’s senseless when we break it down, but we have all been guilty of it. So what should we do?

Well, experts like clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson emphasize the importance of comparing ourselves to who we were yesterday, not to someone else today. It’s the only fair comparison, as we’re all on unique paths with different challenges and starting points. 

Focusing on our personal growth and achievements, setting our own goals, and measuring our progress against our past selves is far more productive and fulfilling.

It allows us to celebrate our victories, no matter how small, and continue striving for self-improvement without the shadow of others’ lives looming over us.

By adopting this approach, we can avoid the trap of overcommitment, safeguard our well-being, and ensure that we’re always bringing our best selves to the tasks and people that truly matter. 

It’s not about doing more but about doing what’s essential and doing it well.

5) Neglecting self-care

We’ve all heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” yet how often do we truly embody this wisdom in our daily lives? 

The relentless drive to do more, to constantly “hustle,” as glorified in countless online narratives and podcasts, is not only unsustainable for most of us but also counterproductive. We simply cannot maintain such a breakneck pace without eventual repercussions. 

Don’t believe me? 

A Stanford study showed that productivity sharply declines beyond 50 hours of work per week, with those logging over 70 hours achieving no more than their counterparts who capped their workweek at 55 hours. More alarmingly, the study pointed to increased health risks associated with prolonged work hours. 

While there may be exceptions, for the vast majority of us, the costs of overdoing it far outweigh any benefits.

Besides, are your aspirations really rooted in career or financial success? 

For most of us, the answer is a resounding no, yet our actions often paint a different picture.

In light of this, the importance of self-care cannot be overstated. It is essential not just for our personal well-being but as a cornerstone of genuine effectiveness. Incorporating self-care routines into our daily regimen—be it through regular exercise, ensuring adequate sleep, or engaging in relaxation techniques—is not merely beneficial; it is crucial. 

By prioritizing self-care, we not only replenish our own reserves but also enhance our capacity to contribute meaningfully across various facets of our lives.

6) Not setting clear goals

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable,” 

Seneca

Without a clear destination in mind, our efforts and aspirations drift aimlessly, susceptible to the whims of circumstance and fleeting motivation. Goal setting is not just about establishing targets; it’s about charting a course for our personal and professional journeys, giving purpose and direction to our endeavors.

Setting clear, achievable goals serves as a compass, guiding our actions and decisions toward meaningful outcomes. It transforms vague aspirations into tangible objectives, providing a roadmap for progress. 

To harness the full potential of goal setting, it’s wise to adopt a structured approach. The SMART criteria offer a practical framework to ensure our goals are well-defined and within reach:

  • Specific: Clearly define what you want to achieve, avoiding vague or general statements. A specific goal should answer the who, what, when, where, and why.
  • Measurable: Establish concrete criteria for tracking progress and determining success. Quantifiable benchmarks help maintain focus and motivation.
  • Achievable: Set goals that are challenging yet attainable. Unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and demotivation, while easily achievable goals might not push you to your full potential.
  • Relevant: Ensure your goals are aligned with your values, long-term objectives, and current life situation. Relevant goals resonate on a personal level, driving engagement and commitment.
  • Time-bound: Assign a clear deadline to your goal. Time constraints create a sense of urgency and help prioritize tasks, keeping procrastination at bay.

By integrating these principles into our goal-setting process, we empower ourselves to pursue our aspirations with clarity and conviction. 

7) Skipping exercise

In a world that’s constantly on the move, it’s surprisingly easy to neglect one of the most crucial aspects of our health and well-being: physical activity. 

The benefits, indeed, are almost endless. Regular physical activity doesn’t just enhance our physical fitness; it extends its reach to improving memory, aiding relaxation, boosting energy levels, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, and even enhancing our sex lives, as noted by Healthline.

Yet, with the hustle and bustle of daily life, making time for exercise often falls by the wayside. This oversight, however, comes at a cost to our overall health. 

The solution?

It doesn’t necessarily lie in committing to rigorous workout regimes but rather in integrating more movement into our day-to-day lives in enjoyable ways. This could be as simple as taking a brisk walk, cycling, dancing, or any form of movement that brings joy.

8) Overlooking the importance of money 

youre genuinely good person If you really want to become the person you were meant to be, say goodbye to these 9 habits

While money might not be the most important thing in the world, it’s certainly not unimportant either. 

Poor financial management can lead to a myriad of problems, not least of which are stress and anxiety. These issues can stem from living paycheck to paycheck, being overwhelmed by debt, or simply feeling unprepared for future expenses. 

Adding to this, the limitations imposed by financial insecurity can significantly restrict our personal freedom and choices, affecting everything from our living situation to our ability to pursue opportunities for growth and development.

Effective financial management, on the other hand, not only provides us with options but also peace of mind. It’s a cornerstone of self-care that too often gets neglected. 

To navigate these waters more effectively, here are a few foundational tips on financial management:

  • Budget: Creating and sticking to a budget is fundamental. It helps you understand where your money is going and identifies areas where you might be overspending.
  • Save for a rainy day: Aim to save a portion of your income regularly, no matter how small. This builds a financial cushion for unexpected expenses and future plans.
  • Avoid unnecessary debt: While some debt can be considered an investment (like education or a mortgage), it’s crucial to avoid accruing debt for non-essential expenses.
  • Educate yourself: Invest time in personal education on financial literacy. Understanding basic investment principles, the power of compound interest, and how to protect your assets can make a significant difference in your financial well-being.

9) Neglecting relationships 

What do you really want from life? 

When asked, many of us might say, “I just want to be happy.” And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that desire. 

However, the trap we often fall into is chasing after things we believe will bring us happiness—more money, a new car, a bigger house, a promotion, a fit body. But once we achieve these, we’re left wondering why the anticipated happiness is either fleeting or entirely absent.

So, what truly makes us happy? 

Well, insights from the longest-ever study on happiness suggest the answer is surprisingly simple: our relationships. The quality of our personal connections has a profound impact on our overall life satisfaction.

Neglecting relationships can lead to isolation and a significant decline in emotional well-being. 

Indeed, the consequences of loneliness are not to be underestimated; it’s a silent killer. According to the US Surgeon General, the mortality effects of loneliness are comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

To combat this, it’s crucial to make a conscious effort to maintain and deepen our connections with family and friends. 

This can be achieved through regular communication, spending quality time together, and expressing appreciation for one another. It’s these bonds that form the foundation of a truly fulfilling life, far beyond any material possession or accolade.

The bottom line

In the quest to become our best selves, shedding detrimental habits is key. 

While there are more habits to talk about for sure, ditching these made a big difference for me, and continue to do so. 

They can for you too. 

As always, I hope you found this post valuable. 

Until next time.

Picture of Mal James

Mal James

Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business. As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys. In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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