As a professional coach I had the opportunity to work with many corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, and managers on their life and business related projects. These projects, especially in corporations, included working on improving performance and getting specific outcomes. Although my preferred coaching approach (solution focused coaching) starts with the question “what is it that you really want?”, in many situations it is equally important to know what it is that we should stop doing immediately in order to get space for something new in our lives. Inspired by the conversation with my spouse, I took the time and selected 7 the most critical habits that might stop or slow your progress. Consider integrating these changes as soon as possible.
Stop watching TV
It doesn’t matter if your favorite show is on, your team is playing Euro League or Novak Djokovic US Open final, TV is one of the most dangerous devices that you have in your house… for several reasons:
- It literally eats the only resource that is limited… time.
- It puts you in a passive position by serving you content predefined by program directors, whose only interest is TV rating.
- It is addictive. Some researches show that children in EU, spend around 3 hours in front of TV on daily basis. (http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-32067158)
Stop reading bad news
Mary McNaughton-Cassill, a professor at the University of Texas–San Antonio, and the leading researcher on the connection between media consumption and stress, said that Oklahoma City bombings was the first event where bad news went viral. 24 hours of news coverage. Since then that’s really become the norm.
Two decades later, news headlines have to be sensational grab your attention. Media coverage became an “unrelenting flow” of negativity, especially when it’s so loudly amplified by social media.
The most important thing is to understand why you get anxious and worried about the things that probably aren’t going to happen. The more you understand your own reaction to the news, the easier it will be to shape your news-consumption habits in an adaptive way.
Stop spending time with discouraging people
It is very hard to get what you want if you are surrounded by people who live in a perpetual state of discouragement. Every time you see them, they are speaking doom and gloom. They complain about the politics, economy, weather or their spouse. They gripe about their job. They whine about their finances.
Your relationships should help you, not hinder you. Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be. Choose people who will support you and challenge you to get your goals not those who will help you to give up on them.
Stop waiting for a better time
“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” – Alfred D Souza.
There is never a good time to start something. I started my company in 2008 at the beginning of the big crisis. It seemed like the worst moment to start consulting business. I got bunch of discouraging advice and questions… “wait for a better moment”, “wait to see what will happen with this crisis”, “are you really sure?”… Of course I wasn’t sure. If you wait for the moment when you will be absolutely sure then it would be too late. With the myriad of activities vying for our attention and time these days, admittedly, working on defining your goals and setting up the direction for future is not urgent and quite often not the most exciting option. However, we usually make time for things that are important to us. So the main question is to understand if achieving something that you consider a goal is really important to you. If it is, stop waiting for a better time. The time to start, continue or take just a small step forward is now!
Stop blaming others
If you want to get what you want you need to take responsibility for the results you have. Blaming others and whining about your results will not take you forward. You can blame your spouse, or ex-spouse, your parents, the government or economy, the list goes on, but it won’t change a thing. Take responsibility and move on with a plan to change the future.
This is not an easy task but it is under your control, so it’s up to you whether you will do something about it or not.
Stop comparing yourself to others
There is nice monologue at the end of the movie “The Big Kahuna”… in one part it says: “…don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself….”
Your life is about you and no one else is going to live it. There will always be someone better than you and that’s something everyone lives with. Your best competitor is yourself, and you should always strive to beat your own records. The only person that really matters to your success is you.
Stop living in your comfort zone
When it comes to getting what you want, quite often fear start to pop up. We are afraid of failure, afraid of what other people will think of us, afraid of being alone, afraid of change and the unknown, and afraid to let ourselves go and step outside our comfort zone.
Even if you decide to stay in your comfort zone you can’t stay there forever. At one point, life will throw you the curve-balls. You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, but your curve-balls are there to move you from your comfort zone. Because of the natural reaction of our emotional brain we often push your goals and dreams aside, until tomorrow, or until another opportunity. Unfortunately, in most cases, tomorrow becomes next week, month, year, and so on. Until all the things you really wanted fade out, and become a distant memory.