If you’re sick of underachieving in life, say goodbye to these 8 habits

You’re a product of your habits; they define you. 

Unless you buy the winning lottery ticket at your local gas station, your habits will probably determine how far you go in life. 

So if you feel you’re underachieving in life, it may be worthwhile to take a deeper look at your daily routine–and start making adjustments where necessary. 

I’m here to help. 

In this article, I’ll take you through the habits you need to let go of, if you want to stop underachieving. 

Ready to fully live up to your potential? Let’s get to it! 

1) Procrastination

Underachieving and procrastination are practically synonymous. 

If you want to stop underachieving, you need to start holding yourself accountable. 

You need to raise the bar and demand a higher standard for yourself. 

Case in point: procrastination. 

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. It’s just that simple. 

I’ve known many underachievers throughout my life and almost all of them have the chronic, debilitating tendency to procrastinate. 

They’ll idly sit on the couch, putting off tasks indefinitely or until the last minute–which will regularly result in things like missed deadlines, mediocre output, and higher stress levels.

Not good.

2) Lack of goal-setting

As we’ve established in the intro, high achievers don’t tend to just chance upon exceptional things in life. 

It may sound boring or unglamorous… but the reality is, their accomplishments are usually the result of strategic planning and goal setting. 

You see, without clear goals to work towards, you will not have the concrete direction and motivation to move forward. 

Sure, you may want to loosely achieve certain things in life, but getting there will always be a lofty ideal floating somewhere in the back of your head. 

The bottom line is that if you want to achieve great things in life, you have to put the work in. 

First things first: set tangible goals–and chip away at them little by little each day. 

3) Fear of failure

Certain underachievers are so crippled by the prospect of failure that they’ll never even try. 

They let that fear hold them back from taking risks and pursuing their goals, only to regret it later on. 

You can never get time back. 

Here’s the thing though: for you to achieve anything of value in life, failure will always be a distinct possibility. 

You have to be mentally ready for it. 

You win some, you lose some… this is one of the unwritten laws of the universe. 

The highly successful people of the world know that if you don’t try, you’ll never know what you’re truly capable of–and you’ll just perpetually end up losing. 

At the end of the day, it’s how you respond to failure that counts. 

If you come back stronger each time, you exponentially increase your chances of success when you gather the resolve to try again. 

And that’s when the good stuff happens. 

4) Negative self-talk

We can all be a little hard on ourselves now and then. 

Being a bit self-critical is human nature after all. 

But constantly engaging in self-criticism and negative thinking can ultimately undermine your confidence and progress in life. 

Left unchecked, negative self-talk will have you thinking you are a permanent failure, incapable of doing anything worthwhile in life. 

It will affect your resilience, making you give up easily rather than persevere through the inevitable challenges of life. 

Don’t let it get to this point. Don’t be defeatist and confine yourself to your cynical thoughts about yourself. 

You’re better than that. 

Instead, harness that energy the right way… start thinking about your positive traits, your past accomplishments, and so on. 

Break the cycle. You got this. 

5) Seeking instant gratification

Have you ever been tempted to go out and party the night before a big work presentation or exam at school? 

I know I have… and if I’m being honest, I’ve given in to these urges many times in my life, particularly when I was younger. 

I’m only human. 

Many underachievers tend to unconsciously prioritize short-term pleasures over long-term goals. 

Yes, they may work hard in spurts, but they are also easily sidetracked, leading to a lack of sustained effort and progress. 

Whether it’s going out and drinking, bingeing Netflix, playing video games, etc. the underachiever often gives in to anything resembling pleasure or relaxation, willing to sacrifice commitments in the process. 

6) Making excuses

Sometimes, underachievers equate being wrong with failure–which is fundamentally the wrong mentality to have. 

Hence, they’ll seek to avoid accountability, shifting blame to innocuous people or situations. 

This is a stark contrast to the great achievers of the world. 

Every competent leader I’ve encountered in life will always take responsibility when things get awry, even when they aren’t completely to blame. 

Taking responsibility for your actions isn’t just a great look; it also builds plenty of character.

Real talk. 

7) Comparing themselves to others

I get it. 

It can be pretty damn hard not to compare ourselves to others; particularly in this day and age where every other person is posting the best version of themselves on social media for all of us to see and envy. 

People who are truly secure in themselves know that growth is linear. 

True contentment should come from within, not compared to how everyone else is doing. 

Once you get into the habit of comparing yourself to others, this can lead to overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and discouragement, further enabling your underachievement tendencies. 

8) Resisting change

I’ve come across many underachievers in life and a good percentage of them are unnaturally afraid of change–a sentiment that can directly impede growth and progress. 

The thing is that, in this life, change is certain, it’s absolute… thus, embracing it to some degree will always be in our interests. 

Underachievers tend to stick to their ways and stay inflexible. 

They may think they’re playing it safe, but they’re bypassing far more efficient or useful methods of accomplishing things. 

Trust me, every revolutionary piece of game-changing technology throughout history, from the lightbulb to the internet, has had its share of detractors and naysayers. 

Once you get out of your comfort zone and realize change can be a good thing, a whole new world of opportunity will open up to you. Keep going. 

Picture of Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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