No one ever talks about how easy success is. Even the most productive and supported people in the world still say how hard it is to achieve their goals.
That’s because getting ahead in life takes sacrifice – sometimes very big ones.
And as hard as it is, successful people know sacrifice like few others.
They’re happy to give up many things to help them achieve their goals, even if the people around them don’t understand why they’re doing it (or worse, get offended by it).
After researching many successful people, here are the top 7 things they happily gave up to achieve their goals in life!
1) Attendance at every social occasion they’re invited to
Successful people aren’t people pleasers. They know how to manage their time properly and they make time for what’s important.
If they want to work on their side hustle, they’ll say no to plans with their friends sometimes.
If they need to save up to get themselves on the property market, they’ll skip the after-work drinks pretty regularly.
If they have a date with the gym, they won’t go for dinner or to a friend’s house for Friday night take-out.
If they haven’t spent any time with their family, kids, or partner, they won’t keep agreeing to go out for beers with their pals at the last minute.
Sure, they’ll still see their friends. But when they need to stay home and work on themselves, they let go of the FOMO (fear of missing out) and say “no”.
2) Dating and/or a relationship
Now I’m not saying a relationship or dating holds people back from reaching their goals.
In fact, a good relationship can actually help you achieve your goals – provided you’re with someone supportive, energizing, and understanding.
But sometimes, dating can be a huge distraction.
If you’ve ever been on the dating apps in recent years, you’ll know just how tempting it is to swipe, message, and keep up multiple conversations with people while you try to find someone you’re compatible with.
Likewise, being in a relationship with someone requires mutual effort. You need to pour energy into them and give your time to make a relationship work.
So if dating isn’t conducive to their goals, a successful person will happily press pause while they work on themselves.
3) Owning the latest everything
People that achieve their goals don’t get there by indulging and spending their hard-earned money on a whim.
Instead, they look after their possessions and spend their money wisely – so they always have money to invest in what they truly want to do.
They may keep an old car that still runs perfectly. Or an iPhone that’s four behind the latest model. Or clothes that aren’t in fashion anymore. Or even headphones with wires (yes, I still have these myself).
Because their goals are bigger than owning the latest thing or making it look like they’re successful. Their idea of success is not as materialistic as that.
4) Most of their downtime
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not supporting “hustle culture” or the notion of “working hard 24/7 to achieve your goals” at all.
But sometimes, if you want to be successful, you have to give up some of your downtime. Not all of it – as many studies have shown that some downtime is important in helping you reach your full potential.
Completely switching your brain off to do absolutely nothing can replenish your motivation, encourage productivity, and open your mind up to self-reflection.
But successful people will certainly give up a large amount of their free time (i.e., time doing absolutely nothing) to work on themselves and their goals.
5) Short-term pleasures for long-term wins
Another thing successful people don’t do is always give in to short-term pleasures when it compromises their long-term wins.
Yes, it feels good ordering takeout on a weeknight so you don’t have to cook. And boy, does it taste good when you’ve been eating healthily and had a busy day!
But what about the food you bought from the store that needs to be eaten? And what about your goal to gain muscle and trim body fat?
Sure, we all need a treat sometimes. But a treat is only a treat when it’s occasional and aligned with your long-term goals.
And successful people have discipline enough to decline or resist short-term pleasures when their long-term wins are at stake.
Hey, we all do it for a reason, right? It feels good to switch off your brain sometimes and scroll, scroll, scroll.
But while there are some positives to social media (I always find it offers more organic ways to start conversations with friends), there are also lots of downsides.
And spending too much time online, scrolling aimlessly, doesn’t help you achieve your goals.
It wastes precious time (that could be better spent elsewhere) and leads you down a path of living vicariously through others – rather than cultivating your own life.
And successful people know just how dangerous doom-scrolling can be. So, they limit their screen time and are strict with themselves when it comes to social media.
7) Always being the smartest in the room
It’s normal for humans to want to avoid rejection as much as possible. It’s why we don’t like failing – whether that’s at a new job, hobby, skill, or anything in life.
But a successful person knows they have to fail to eventually succeed.
They know that each failure gets them closer to success – and they’re happy to ask questions and fail publicly for the greater good.
There’s no need to give up your entire life to find success.
If you’ve ever watched The Apprentice UK, you’ll see that after every win, the leading team gets to take a day off to do a fun activity.
That’s because even the most successful people (like Alan Sugar) know that success is only found when you work hard and play hard.
So, yes, there are many things you’ll need to sacrifice if you want to get ahead in life and achieve your goals.
But there are also things you shouldn’t give up – nor should you run yourself into the ground trying to do everything.
Prioritization and finding a good balance is key – to both a successful life and a happy one!