We all have dreams and goals that light a fire in our hearts. I remember laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, my mind buzzing with plans for the future.
But despite that inner spark, have you ever felt like you’re your own worst enemy? You’re not alone.
I’ve been there, caught in habits that held me back like invisible chains.
The truth is, achieving your dreams isn’t just about what you do — it’s also about what you stop doing.
Say goodbye to these 7 habits, and you’ll be clearing the path to reach your goals.
Procrastination is probably the most obvious dream killer. It’s something we all know we shouldn’t do, and for many of us it’s the source of acute anxiety we push down.
Yet, we can’t seem to stop. I too have sat on the couch, phone in hand, mindlessly scrolling through social media, while my to-do list collected dust.
And even when I was working on a project that really mattered to me, I kept finding reasons to put it off.
This habit might sound crazy, but it does actually have an evolutionary purpose — keeping us safe. The more you stay cuddled up in your comfort zone and the less you venture out, the fewer opportunities you have to put yourself in danger.
But in the modern world, procrastination no longer helps us. It just delays your success, your dreams, your better self.
So, make a pact with yourself: start today, not tomorrow. Prioritize your tasks, break them down into smaller, manageable pieces, and dive in. Your future self will thank you.
Who hasn’t felt the rush of juggling multiple tasks at once, like a circus performer spinning plates?
I used to think multitasking was my superpower. “Look at me, answering emails while cooking dinner and listening to a podcast!” I’d think, proud of my seemingly efficient ways.
But here’s the truth: multitasking is a mirage. Studies have shown that our brains aren’t designed to focus on multiple things at once.
When we multitask, what we’re actually doing is rapidly switching our attention from one thing to another. The result? Each task gets only a fraction of our best effort.
What’s more, you waste time because your brain constantly has to refocus on another activity.
For me, the wake-up call was realizing that I was missing out on the joy of being present. I was eating, but not tasting. Listening, but not hearing. Typing, but not communicating effectively. And my goals? They stayed stagnant, each one getting only a sliver of my energy and attention.
So, if you want to move closer to your dreams, it’s time to hone in. Choose one thing and give it your all.
The depth of your focus will bring a quality to your work that multitasking never could, and you’ll make meaningful progress on the path to your goals.
3) Comparing yourself to others
Comparison is a habit that modern life practically requires you to fall into. Everywhere you turn, you’re faced with people bragging on social media and advertisements that try to convince you you’re not good enough — unless you buy their product, of course.
But if you want to achieve your goals, you have to make an active effort to stop doing this.
Because comparison is a slippery slope that can eat away at your confidence and blur your vision.
When I was focused on what everyone else was doing, I lost sight of my own goals and priorities. I started to question my own path, my worth, and my abilities.
Several of my friends were trying to climb the corporate ladder, and I felt so inadequate in comparison that I started doing the same, trying to be better than them.
But later I realized, I didn’t even care about promotions. I could have achieved that goal, but it wouldn’t have been truly my own.
Comparing yourself to others won’t fast-track you to your goals — it will only sidetrack you. As they say, the only person you should compare yourself to is your past self.
4) Winging it
Alright, let’s admit it: Sometimes making plans feels like a drag. Who hasn’t enjoyed the thrill of winging a presentation or going on a road trip with no itinerary?
But let’s put on the brakes for a second. By refusing to plan, you’re basically putting your dreams in the lap of the gods, hoping fate will be kind.
From personal experience, I can tell you that relying on serendipity is like waiting for rain in a drought — you might get lucky, but chances are you’re just getting parched.
I used to make this mistake in my fitness goals. I wanted to gain muscle and cardio endurance. But I had no plan for how often to go to the gym or even what specific exercises to do.
I thought that I’d naturally feel the motivation to pick myself up and go — but obviously life is extremely busy, and that never happened often enough for me to see tangible progress.
So one day, I cleared space in my schedule and penciled in exact times for when I’d go to the gym — I even planned my laundry, hair wash, and protein supplement shopping days to make sure I set myself up for success.
And it’s no surprise that that’s when I finally started seeing results. You can too, if you do what I did and start making yourself some plans.
5) Seeking instant gratification
Whether it’s binge-watching your favorite show instead of hitting the gym, or scarfing down a doughnut when you’re aiming to eat healthier, the allure of instant gratification is something we’ve all battled.
Giving into it often means drifting away from the course you’ve set toward your long-term goals.
I mentioned my fitness goals above, and I’m embarrassed to admit how often I let myself sink into the couch or Google random things about the show I was watching instead of getting down to work.
So, what’s the fix? It’s all about rewiring our reward system. Start savoring the small victories on the path to your big goal.
Knocked out that workout? Give yourself a mental high-five. Completed a task ahead of deadline? Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with it.
As you begin to find joy in the journey, you’ll realize that true gratification isn’t instant — it’s built step by step, little by little. And it’s so much sweeter that way.
6) Putting yourself down
Most of us are our own worst critic. We may even convince ourselves that it’s for our own good, to keep pushing ourselves further and have high standards.
This is something I was horrible with. Missed a birthday card deadline? I’d brand myself “the world’s worst friend.” Flubbed a detail in a work report? Suddenly, I was “a complete failure.”
But you know what? Talking to yourself like this does absolutely no good for you or your goals.
It’s like berating a flower for not blooming while you’re depriving it of sunshine and water. That’s not how growth happens, is it?
Now, let’s get you out of this trap. The next time you catch yourself hurling insults at your own reflection, stop. Take a deep breath and pivot that narrative. Shift from, “I messed up, I’m worthless,” to, “Okay, I slipped up. What’s the lesson here?”
Changing this internal monologue is like swapping out the soil for your soul — it gives you the nutrients you need to grow. A kinder, more forgiving internal voice doesn’t just lift your spirits. It propels you toward the person you’re fighting so hard to become.
7) Blaming others
We’ve all been there: something goes wrong, and the first instinct is to find someone or something to point the finger at.
You missed a deadline — but only because the team didn’t support you. You’re only late for the meeting because of that darn traffic. And you messed up the presentation because your colleague made you so nervous right before it.
It feels good, I know. But it also puts you in a mental prison where growth is impossible. Because if nothing is ever your fault, then there’s nothing you can do to change it.
Next time you’re tempted to lay blame, pause and take a courageous look inward. Ask yourself, “What role did I play in this situation?”
The answer might be uncomfortable, but acknowledging it is the first step toward true self-improvement.
Getting on the fast track to achieving your goals
Well, now you know a shortcut — if you say goodbye to these 7 toxic habits.
It can be counterproductive to try to change all 7 at once, so start by focusing on just one, and then you can slowly add in the others.
As you do, you’ll be sure to see a massive improvement in your progress to your goals.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.