It’s admirable to want to step up and be the best version of yourself. It’s also easier said than done.
We may start journaling, meditating, eating better, goal setting, and a whole host of other things, in an attempt to upgrade ourselves and our lives.
But our silent bad habits can get in the way. So if you really want to evolve as a person, stop doing these 7 things.
1) Making excuses and looking for someone to blame
One of the biggest things that holds us back is a lack of accountability.
Until we see that our own life is 100% down to us, we’re always going to remain a victim of circumstances.
That doesn’t mean that fate doesn’t sometimes deal us a bad hand. Neither is it to say that the actions of others don’t impact us.
But when we waste our time focusing on how life isn’t fair or how we’ve been wronged, we’re going to go nowhere.
The truth is that we often use our excuses to let ourselves off the hook. That way we don’t have to take action, because it’s all down to someone else.
It’s not our fault we’re trapped in a dead-end job, it’s the bad economy and our jerk of a boss.
We’re not to blame for the state of our shitty relationship. Things would be fine if your deadbeat boyfriend stopped taking you for granted and appreciated you more.
And so it goes on.
We find reasons why now is not a good time to make a change, or how our hands are tied. But only because we don’t want to admit to ourselves that we’re the ones standing in our own way.
We’re giving away our power.
We blossom into better versions of ourselves when we start to see that how we feel, think, and act is completely on us.
2) Sticking to your comfort zone
It sounds obvious, but we can’t evolve without change.
Yet us humans tend to have a funny relationship with change. We can both crave and fear it at the same time.
So we may feel frustrated at the stagnation in our lives, whilst simultaneously dodging upheaval or anything that may rock the boat.
Taking zero risks in life is always going to be the safest option. But if evolution is your goal it’s the worst thing you can do.
You need to push your comfort zone, even if it’s in small ways.
That means regularly doing things that give you butterflies in your stomach or downright scare you.
It means acknowledging your fear but deciding to act in spite of it.
It also means letting go of any desire to always get it right, as we’ll see next.
3) Avoiding failure at all costs
Nobody likes the feeling of failure. It can dent our self-esteem and bruise our egos.
There’s no getting around the fact that we all want to win. But winning every time is an unrealistic goal.
Besides, our mistakes often teach us way more about ourselves and life than our successes do.
Either way, it’s an unavoidable part of the process.
That’s why pretty much every single story of human triumph and greatness involves some struggle.
In the words of Arianna Huffington:
“We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.”
Trial and error is for most of us the only way in which we can progress.
So if you’re doing everything you in your power to avoid failure, the chances are you are passing up on lots of opportunities.
If you want to evolve, screw up as many times as you can. Messing up provides so many chances for us to improve.
But to find the courage to fall and get back up again, you’re going to need a mindset that’s on your side.
4) Having a negative mindset
Growing up, I was quite the pessimist but I’d convinced myself that I was just a realist.
I thought that expecting the worst would help prepare me for when it came. Boy was I wrong.
The problem is that expecting the worst tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and you often inadvertently create it.
You also turn the world into this threatening place to hide from.
Negative thinking has been linked to low-self worth, depression, anxiety, chronic worry, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Hands down, cultivating a positive mindset has been one of the most important tools at my disposal for evolving as a person.
Growth is tough —that’s why they call them growing pains.
You need the strength that a positive mindset brings in order to face the ups and downs that come along as we learn lessons.
5) Beating yourself up for all your perceived flaws
It might sound like a cheesy sentiment, but I do believe that only by fully accepting ourselves can we be truly happy.
That means the good, the bad, and the ugly too.
You might think that being hard on yourself will push you to do better or be better. But it doesn’t work like that.
Sure, having high standards for yourself can be great. But it needs to be handled with compassion.
- Ditching your inner critic who calls you names and says mean things to you
- Cutting yourself some slack when you get it wrong
- Acknowledging that nobody is perfect, and you don’t have to be
If we want to evolve, we need to learn to make friends with our weaknesses as well as our strengths.
I’ll level with you, I wish that I had thinner thighs and that I was way more patient. But berating myself over it won’t change anything.
In fact, all it will do is strip away your self-esteem and motivation.
6) Chasing fools gold
I don’t care who you are, we’ve all chased after the pot of gold waiting at the end of the rainbow.
We look for things that will make us happy, save us, or complete us.
That might be materialistic things like fancy cars, big houses, or the latest gadget.
It could be accomplishments such as qualifications or climbing the career ladder.
It may even be romance — hoping that our “one true love” will become the missing piece to our puzzle.
Happiness can seem elusive, and we go searching for it in many places. But often it is just a pleasant distraction.
The high is short-lived and we end up wanting more.
Of course, finding fulfillment and meaning in life is important to us. But if you want to evolve as a person, don’t fall into the trap of hunting for it in the wrong places.
Work out what truly matters to you, and why.
That means you should be living for yourself, and nobody else.
7) Living your life based on what other people think
There are two sides to this:
- People pleasing
- Following other people’s ideas of success and happiness
It’s impossible to evolve when we always put everyone else first.
When we are too concerned with the needs and wants of others, we end up neglecting ourselves.
That’s why people-pleasing is actually a form of self-betrayal.
I don’t mean we shouldn’t consider people’s feelings or try to be accommodating. Because of course, that’s a part of developing healthy relationships.
But we shouldn’t blindly follow a path that our peers, parents, or even society itself have silently mapped out for us.
We need to learn to break free of people’s expectations in order to design our lives the way we want them to be — regardless of what other people may think.
To conclude: Evolution is messy
It’s important to remember that whilst evolution is progress, it’s not always pretty.
In fact, evolution can be incredibly messy. It calls on us to confront our silent beliefs and our stumbling blocks — which can be painful.
But out of that rich fertilizer, wonderful things can bloom.