If you feel like you’re underachieving in life, say goodbye to these 14 habits

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It stinks being an underachiever, doesn’t it? You’ve had so many ambitions, and others believed in you, but you got stuck in your ways. 

Luckily, this is something you can fix relatively quickly. Start with shedding some of the habits from this list. 

Your future self will be grateful!

1) Procrastination

Delaying your tasks can directly lead to missed opportunities and decreased productivity. For instance, you’re putting off making necessary phone calls or sending important emails. 

But also, if you’re procrastinating on personal goals or aspirations due to fear of failure or delaying financial tasks, such as budgeting, paying bills, or filing taxes until the last moment.

Procrastination can be harmful in many ways. 

When I don’t feel like doing something, I break tasks into smaller, manageable parts. Or I use the Pomodoro technique.  

2) Negative self-talk

Another thing you need to stop doing is the negative self-talk. You know that little voice in your head that keeps degrading your actions and constantly reminds you of your past failures.

This one’s relatively easy to fix. Replace self-criticism with self-encouragement and positive affirmations. 

Recognize that past (bad) results don’t indicate future events. 

3) Fear of failure

I used to be paralyzed by having a constant fear of failure. Therefore, I wouldn’t apply for better jobs and was paid a miserable wage. 

Once I hit rock bottom, both financially and emotionally, I had nothing left to lose. I moved back to my parents to save money and went to a different country to volunteer for a while. 

That journey taught me to embrace failure as an opportunity for growth and learning. I never looked back. 

It’s obvious that self-limiting beliefs hold too many people down. This happens when people with extraordinary abilities don’t challenge negative thoughts that stop them from reaching their full potential.

4) Lack of goal setting

Setting clear, measurable, and time-sensitive goals is one of the best ways to stop being an underachiever and turn your life around

These precise, achievable goals will provide you with a sense of direction and motivation.

Say you want to change careers. Your goals should include completing relevant certifications or courses, gaining experience through internships or volunteering, or networking with professionals in your desired field.

Assigning realistic timelines and deadlines to each goal and its corresponding actionable steps will give you a timeframe that helps create a sense of urgency and prevents unnecessary delays.

5) Unhealthy habits

“A healthy mind in a healthy body.”

I’m sure you’ve heard that saying before.

If you feel sluggish and low energy, it’s time to address any habits that negatively impact your health, such as poor diet or lack of exercise.

I know how hard it can be to start moving and eating healthy food. You have to commit to it 100%. That’s why there are so many people sharing their journeys online. 

They don’t do it solely to show off and shove it down your throat. They do it for accountability and because they’ve often become fitness fanatics. 

For some, that’s the only way to change their lives around

And don’t forget about your mental well-being, too. 

6) Constant comparison

With the rise of social media, we started comparing ourselves to others much more. Instagram has been the most detrimental for that. Seeing photos of perfect people doesn’t help our self-image, does it?

Here’s what to do to break this habit

Focus on your own progress rather than comparing yourself to others. Plus, you can retrain the social media algorithm to show you only educational and motivational posts. 

7) Perfectionism

Some people hold themselves back because they set excessively high standards for themselves and strive for flawlessness in all areas of life. 

The truth is you should strive for excellence but avoid obsessing over unattainable perfection.

If you have an intense fear of making mistakes or falling short of your own expectations, it can lead to avoidance of new challenges or opportunities, as well as a reluctance to take risks.

You need to break this habit to start having the life you deserve. 

8) Lack of self-discipline

On the other side of the spectrum is having a lack of discipline. This nasty habit is why you’ve committed to many things but always wandered from the path and never achieved anything worthwhile.  

It’s extremely important to develop a routine and stick to it to improve consistency and productivity. Do the most important things first thing in the morning. 

If you regularly skip healthy and effective habits such as exercising or applying for jobs, do them first thing. 

Have a cup of coffee, read the news, and go. No excuses. 

9) Distractions

Distractions are one of the main reasons why we have such poor discipline. Notifications and social media are the biggest culprits

Similarly to distractions, a lack of focus also keeps us down with other underachievers. It’s just so difficult being in the present moment and enjoying it. 

I mean, our phones are just there. Sitting in our pockets filled with news, Reddit drama, Elon Musk shenanigans, etc.

Minimize time-wasting activities like excessive social media browsing or doom-scrolling by turning off your phone for a set amount of time. 

If you still can’t focus, bring the phone and leave it outside in your car. I can guarantee this will help.

Practice mindfulness and concentration to stay present and engaged. Go outside for a walk, soak up the Sun, and then come back and kick some ass. 

10) Impulsive decision-making

Making choices or taking actions without careful consideration of the consequences or without thoroughly evaluating the available information is another bad habit to shake off.

It often involves acting on immediate desires or emotions without considering long-term implications.

My best advice for this, and I’m talking from my own experience, is to sleep on it. Delay that purchase or action until the morning. 

This will give you time to weigh options and consider the long-term consequences.

That $1,000 purchase might seem less attractive in the morning. 

11) Tendency to find excuses

“Excuses are a dime a dozen.”

It’s too easy to find an excuse for anything we aren’t in the mood for. For example, making excuses for not pursuing career advancement due to fear of failure or unpreparedness.

Been there.

Or making excuses for not pursuing personal goals or dreams by blaming external circumstances, lack of resources, or the belief that success is unattainable. 

Been there, too. 

You’ll always be an underachiever until you take responsibility for your actions and find solutions instead of making excuses. Or at least feel like one. 

12) Surrounding yourself with negativity

Since elementary school, I’ve been surrounded by friends that were excessively negative at times. I can’t say I blame them. The economy was in shambles for the better part of our developing years. 

Even still, when I started making new friends, I came to the conclusion that others weren’t like that. 

They were more encouraging, sought solutions, and didn’t blame the overall state of things. 

Step out of your comfort zone and meet new and like-minded people. Surround yourself with supportive and positive influences.

13) Fixed mindset

Many underachievers have a rigid mindset that has them set in their ways. They often believe that their knowledge and skills have reached their peak and that further learning or growth isn’t possible.

For that reason, they avoid tasks they perceive as beyond their current capabilities, fearing failure or judgment.

Overcoming a fixed mindset involves developing a growth mindset, which embraces the belief that abilities can be developed through:

  • Effort,
  • Practice, and 
  • Learning. 

By recognizing the power of effort, embracing challenges, seeking feedback, and prevailing setbacks, you can foster a mindset that promotes growth, resilience, and personal development.

This leads us to the last bad habit.

14) Lack of continuous learning

Many underachievers stop pursuing new knowledge, skills, or personal growth once they complete their formal education or training.

This results in stagnation, limited personal and professional development, and a missed opportunity to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world.

A lack of curiosity and thirst for knowledge also lead to complacency and a narrow worldview. 

If you stop continuously learning, you also miss out on expanding your understanding of the world and critical thinking skills.

I recommend engaging in lifelong learning to expand your knowledge and skills. There are many cheap online courses and qualifications that’ll further your career and your life. 

Final thoughts

What else is there left to say? If you’re feeling like an underperformer or lack ambition, it’s relatively easy to turn that feeling around. 

Shed some of the habits that hurt you in the long run. Be proactive and look for opportunities. You might be surprised at what you find out there! 

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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