Growth doesn’t happen overnight.
You can’t snap your fingers, Thanos-style, and become a completely different person.
What you can do is actively work on making a positive change in your life.
And it all boils down to your mindset and the things you do day after day.
Without further ado, if you have these five habits, you probably won’t grow as a person.
It’s time to ditch them for good.
Procrastination is something I’ve personally struggled with most of my life, but it only became a problem once I started to work as a freelance writer.
As I built my client base, I took on projects I wasn’t particularly excited about. I worried I wouldn’t be able to support myself financially otherwise.
This lack of enthusiasm, coupled with the fact that I was suddenly the only one in charge of my schedule, made me procrastinate excessively.
I never missed a deadline, but I prioritized nonsense like cleaning the kitchen or organizing my junk drawer before doing my work.
This made me write late into the night, which wreaked havoc on my sleep schedule and social life.
After a few months, I was lucky enough to be in a position where I could pick and choose projects based on passion.
Even then, I noticed that old habits die hard.
Fast-forward to today, and while I got better at managing my workload, I’m still a chronic procrastinator at heart.
It’s so easy to postpone things that need to be accomplished in favor of more pleasurable activities like scrolling TikTok or binge-watching Fleabag for the fourth time in a year.
I noticed that I’m particularly susceptible to delaying important work when:
- The task feels too overwhelming
- The task is tedious
- I lack any motivation or inspiration
- I’m afraid I’ll do a poor job
When that happens, I engage in mind-numbing activities like checking social media while experiencing a fun mix of anxiety and guilt.
And guess what?
When I finally do the task, it turns out to be less tedious or overwhelming than I estimated.
Furthermore, my procrastination isn’t limited to work.
I often tell myself, “I’ll start exercising on Monday,” or “I’ll learn a new language once I finish this project.”
Then I get caught up in the minutiae of every day and push back non-urgent activities that would lead to personal growth.
Luckily, my extensive experience with procrastination helped me discover techniques that curb it:
- Setting clear goals, with a deadline for each one
- Telling my friends about the goals so they can hold me accountable (and shame me mercilessly if I fail)
- Breaking big tasks into smaller steps
- Using time management tools like task batching
- Celebrating each minor achievement
Find out which tips and tricks work for you, and stop putting off the things that truly matter.
As the saying goes, the days are long, but the years are short.
Before you know it, another year will be gone – and you’ll have made minimum progress toward becoming the best version of yourself.
2) Playing it by ear
Another habit hindering personal growth is failing to plan.
Planning is a crucial tool for self-development – and I’m not just saying that as someone who adores checking things off a list.
It provides structure, direction, accountability, and a framework for measuring progress.
If you don’t have a plan, you risk missing out on opportunities and stagnating.
I’m not even suggesting that you need to know for sure where you want to be in five or ten years.
But having a general idea of where you’re going and what you want to accomplish is key to crafting a daily or weekly schedule that supports those objectives.
Think of it like this: if you want to lose weight or build muscle, you have a better chance of reaching that goal if you have an exercise routine and stick to a diet.
If you plan your workouts and rest days, as well as your meals.
Why not take this methodic approach to life as well?
Start by envisioning your ideal existence.
What do you want to achieve in different areas, such as career, relationships, health, and hobbies?
Set long-term goals for each category.
Then, break them down into smaller milestones, and figure out what you need to do every day, week, and month to get one step closer to reaching those goals.
For example, let’s say you want to become an entrepreneur.
Significant milestones would include researching your desired market, creating a business plan, and securing the required funds.
You can then break those down into monthly tasks, like saving a certain amount of money or determining what kind of marketing tactics would be most effective when promoting your business.
From there, weekly tasks can involve taking a class on marketing and canceling some of your subscriptions to save cash.
Building discipline is easier when you follow a blueprint.
Perfectionists have an intense fear of failure, tend to overanalyze their tasks, and are frequently unsatisfied with the end result.
Does that sound familiar?
If that’s the case, your perfectionism may prevent you from not only growing; but from even trying to.
I wish I could tell you there’s a simple way to overcome this.
In reality, becoming less of a perfectionist is a gradual process, and there are no real shortcuts you can take.
However, there are a few hacks that can help you learn how to aim for excellence rather than perfection:
- Give yourself specific time limits for tasks to prevent overthinking
- Share your work with others before it’s done, and seek constructive feedback
- Engage in activities that challenge your perfectionist tendencies (like a creative hobby)
- Focus on making progress rather than being flawless
Also, keep in mind that mistakes are a natural part of learning.
Comparing yourself to others is another unproductive habit that can hold you back.
To foster personal growth, it’s crucial to focus on your own journey, set goals that are meaningful to you, and measure progress based on your standards.
Unfortunately, it’s easier than ever to fall into the comparison trap.
All you have to do is open Instagram or LinkedIn, and you see tens of other people seemingly doing much better at life than you are.
When that happens, remember that it’s rare for people to share setbacks or low points on social media. Their profiles are a highlight reel.
Even comparing yourself to people in your immediate circle can be demoralizing, but keep in mind that their path won’t be identical to yours.
Instead of wallowing in dissatisfaction, redirect your attention toward designing a life that is true to your values and aspirations.
The only person you should compete with is yourself.
As long as you’re doing better than you were this time last month, you’re golden.
5) Not looking after yourself
Finally, you won’t be able to grow if you don’t take care of yourself.
As cliché as it may sound, self-care is the foundation on which all your other habits rely.
You can be extremely diligent about your goals – but if you don’t take responsibility for your health and happiness, your body and mind will eventually fail you.
Before engaging in any sort of life overhaul, double-check that your bases are covered:
- Get enough sleep and schedule regular rest days/vacations
- Eat a balanced and nutritious diet
- Attend medical check-ups
- Engage in hobbies that bring you joy
- Regularly connect with friends, family, and loved ones
- Practice self-compassion and speak to yourself kindly
It’s impossible to have a fulfilling and meaningful life if you’re constantly on the verge of burnout.
The only constant in life is change.
We should do our best to ensure that, at least every now and then, that change is for the better.
Let go of the habits listed above, and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your full potential.