All of us were conditioned by society that studying and working hard was all it took to guarantee our success in life.
Of course, we find out much later that there’s a lot more to it.
In order to be successful, we have to build good habits. But equally important, we have to get rid of bad habits that prevent us from reaching our full potential.
So if you want to fast-track your success, say goodbye to these 7 habits, pronto.
1) Pulling all nighters
I know it might seem like bad advice to prioritize sleep—after all, isn’t the goal to fast-track success?
But it’s actually a must if you have big dreams to reach!
“Sleep is for the weak” and “Sleep when you are dead,” were mantras I believed in to the point I had them as posters on my desks.
Like you, I once considered sleep as optional and even detrimental to success since it meant I was working less.
But after reading all the research, I found out that sleep improves everything— from physical health to mental sharpness.
When I used to take pride in the number of days I could go without sleep, I now take pride in the number of naps I take in a day and the quality of my sleep at night.
After I improved my relationship with sleep, not only did my work performance improve, I also felt stronger and happier as a result.
2) Hitting snooze
After sleep, waking up early is one of the key habits of the most successful Early Risers.
You might wonder why leaders choose to wake up early when they have the power to change their schedules around.
Well, it turns out, from ancient Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Wisdom to the latest scientific research, waking up with the sun instead of hitting the snooze button (multiple times) has been observed to improve both creativity and focus.
If it sounds too daunting to rise at 4am, why don’t you try setting your alarm just 30 minutes earlier than usual at the start and see how it feels?
Whenever I get tempted to sleep 30 minutes more, I inspire myself to rise early by dedicating it to feel-good morning walks, meditation, and journaling. It works for me because it doesn’t feel like a chore.
Discover what you would enjoy doing most in the morning…and do more of that until waking up early becomes a habit.
3) Snacking all day
Food was the one comfort I could rely on no matter what, so whenever I was stressed, I would eat. When I was exhausted, I would eat. When I was thinking and brainstorming, I would eat.
It didn’t matter that I was eating high calorie, nutritionally-empty food. I was munching munching munching as a way to cope with anxiety and to manage my emotions.
But overeating causes tremendous strain on the body to digest and process. If you snack a lot, you’ll be constantly sluggish because our body uses up so much energy to digest.
Now I do my best to eat well and in a calm state— I don’t munch at the work table, and I make sure to enjoy nutritious, filling meals. And it has improved my productivity dramatically.
And oh, another bonus is that since you won’t spend time choosing snacks and preparing them and cleaning them up, you’d have more time to work on your most important tasks.
4) Not having a clear definition of success
If you don’t know what success looks like to you, then it will definitely take you much longer to achieve it.
Many of us simply try to copy what others are doing to become successful.
But let’s face it— successful people didn’t get to the top by simply doing what others are doing.
They accepted what made them different and got clear with their unique version of success.
Without it, you’re bound to fail even if you meet your goal because at the end of the day, you’re just not happy. So you change directions or start again from scratch.
Does success mean having a million dollars? A corner office? Or the luxury of time to do what you love?
Every person’s version of success is unique as people are, and when I realized that, I started seeing that there were so many versions of success all around me.
So, before finding an idol or a mentor or a guru, get real with the kind of success that is true to you.
5) The Centipede’s Dilemma
Were you ever told you were great at doing something but once you needed to do it, you tanked?
For me, while I enjoyed writing, I found that the harder I tried at it, the worse it got.
“Maybe I’m not really good enough,” was what I told myself.
I only realized that analysis paralysis or overthinking was impeding my success after a wise mentor of mine told me the story of a centipede.
It’s about a very happy centipede who lost the capacity to run after it was asked which leg goes after which.
Like most things in life, everything has an expiration date and overthinking means losing opportunities for the fear of making mistakes.
If analysis paralysis is also your Achilles’ heel, one thing that helped me was banishing my perfectionist mindset and remembering the words of David Schwartz, “Action cures fear. Indecision, postponement, on the other hand, fertilize fear.”
So while thinking, in general, is always a must for you to make wise decisions. Overthinking can be a great hindrance to success.
If you think you have the tendency to overthink, then the next time you get paralyzed, just choose the best option at that time and make a big jump.
6) Being a busy bee
While most people assume successful people keep a schedule fully packed to the brim with work, the opposite is actually more true for top leaders.
Successful people make room for rest. They block off their schedules to make time for rest, time with family, and most of all, solitude.
They value their alone time because it allows them to hear their own thoughts and clear out their mind from the stressors of the day.
Especially for high-level thinking and difficult decision making, the most successful people withdraw inward, to gain clarity and a clear perspective.
Like you, I didn’t feel like solitude was productive. It felt like a total waste of time.
But when I finally realized that multi-tasking, being always “on”, and basically having too much on my plate is making me slow, I scaled back.
Besides, I don’t want to burn out. That can halt my journey to success full stop.
7) Dealing with day-to-day drama
If we allow it, we can carry with us too many toxic emotions just by living every day. And you know what they are?
Your time and energy spent on negativity could otherwise be used to fuel your success for the long run!
Coworker spreading gossip about you? Let them be or tell them off, but don’t spend your days hating them and plotting revenge.
Family and friends pouting? Talk to them and discuss the solutions…but don’t spend too much time wondering what’s wrong with you.
Don’t let everyday negativity, drama and resentments eat you up from the inside.
Practice detachment from these dangerous distractions.They’re dangerous because they seem important…but they really aren’t.
If you really think about it, these things won’t matter in a year, and especially not in a decade. But the time and energy that you put in to achieve your success will have a pay-off.
Always, always, always remember that when you let go of negativity, you make room or positive changes to come into your life.
If you’ve tried doing more but still haven’t found the success you are looking for, perhaps all you needed was to let go of the habits that were holding you back.
So say goodbye to these habits and welcome new ones to fast-track your way to the success you’ve always been deserving of.