(Photo by Tim Bogdanov)
There are times in life where everyone feels tired and weighed down. Every day we work for our goals and dreams, but it feels like we’re running in quicksand. Of course, we knew the journey would be long and treacherous. But we never expected it to be this long or this treacherous.
You think to yourself, “maybe I need more gusto, a little more oomph.” But what if you need to lighten the load? Sometimes, the key to achieving your dreams is releasing the baggage you carry. You don’t need to pick up more stones. Focus on the essentials and let go of the rest.
Many of these things you can give up today, while others will require work. But remember, “if you can dream it, you can do it.”
1) Give Up Unrealistic Standards of Perfection
“Don’t aim for perfectionism, aim for ‘better than yesterday.’” – Izey Odiase
It takes a long time to reach the future, but only a moment to improve upon yesterday. Look at yourself last year, last month, yesterday and ask, “am I growing or am I dying?”
Nothing will ever be perfect, but everything can be improved upon. If you have an idea or a goal, don’t wait for the perfect time to execute. If it is better than yesterday, act now. Think of all the opportunities that will pass by if you don’t act
This can be applied to anything from waking up earlier, getting a better workout, or staying more focused at work…at least until happy hour on a Friday.
The road to success is full of many roads leading to different paths. While on your journey, don’t aim for perfect. Aim for better than yesterday.
2) Give Up the Belief In The Magic Pill
“It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. You only have to be right once and then everyone can tell you that you are an overnight success.” – Mark Cuban
I love this quote for one reason…it turns out Cuban is funny! The sarcasm in this is brilliant but true; overnight success is a myth.
Think of anything meaningful you have ever done, EVER. How long did it take for you to reach that goal? I bet when you made it, the people who didn’t know your struggle added you up to be a prodigy.
“Overnight success” comes from small successes towards an end destination. You must work hard and achieve many of these little steps to be able to reap the rewards. That’s just how it is.
Remember, “don’t aim for perfection, aim for ‘better than yesterday.’” Keep that in mind more here than ever. Keep taking small steps towards achieving your dreams.
3) Give Up the Fear of Missing Out
“The most important decision about your goals is not what you’re willing to do to achieve them, but what you are willing to give up.” – Dave Ramsey
In order to accomplish great things, you will be challenged to give up others. This might be a night out with friends for a night in working or saying no to demands from friends and family. Immediately, it will be scary. But when you take that first step towards your goal, it will be worth it. All it takes is a little commitment.
Before you begin, take out a piece of paper and write down what it will take to achieve your dream. Write down struggles you may have and how you will overcome them. Now, determine if you are ready to sacrifice for the goal!
When the going gets tough (hell yeah, you’re following the goal!) revisit your list, as well as your commitment to your goal.
4) Give Up the Need Please Everyone
“If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.” – Margaret Thatcher
You can’t please everyone in this world, but you can always please the ones who count.
Think about your favorite thing in this world. Something simple like a book or an amazing workout. Now, think about all the people who like it, and everyone who doesn’t. It’s just not attainable to try to please everyone. Stand by the ones who love you and be yourself.
When your list of haters grows, it means you are achieving and doing important things. Stay authentic and be your very best self! Ignore what the haters have to say and listen to your supporters.
5) Give Up Harmful People
“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” – Chaplain Melancon
This is exactly what your mom always used to tell you! Be careful who comes into your life as they might not always have the right intentions.
If you are the average of the five people you hang with most, you can see the future clearly. Are they accomplished? Do you want to be more like them? You just need to find out where you’re heading! Spend extra time with those who you look up to.
Imagine if you could spend time with your future self. What would you want that person to look like? Take that image and stick with people who embody it.
Be brave enough to make a change that supports your goals and your future self.
6) Give Up Multitasking
“When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost.” – Earl Miller
Our brains can only focus on one thing at a time. Not only is there a cognitive cost, but your work can be affected too. One study from the University of London showed that multitasking while performing cognitive tasks experienced a drop in IQ. That’s like skipping a full night of sleep – a reduction of 10 points!
Choose one task and beat it into submission. Be committed to the task at hand whether it’s at work, in the gym, or with a loved one.
One common distraction is your phone. Receive an email? Ding. Receive a text? Ding. Put your phone on silent when you’re focusing, or better yet, escort it out of the room. Your goals are more important than that meme you were just tagged in on Twitter!
7) Give Up the Procrastination
“My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.” – Charles Dickens
These are five common reasons people procrastinate. Which do you identify with?
Lack of interest/motivation
Low energy levels from improper eating or sleeping habits
Fear of failure
Fear of success
For me, it comes down to a fear of success. I fear the unknown territories outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes, this translates to self-sabotage where I procrastinate on purpose just to avoid my fear.
All these reasons have an antidote, which I challenge you to find. It might be reworking your sleep habits or working on things which spark your interest.
When we stop procrastinating, we have more time for fun and more time to do what we love. Life is more than scrolling through Twitter to avoid responsibility. Get out there and make life yours!
8) Give Up Your Excuses
“Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them, and your foes won’t believe them.” – John Wooden
Everyone invents reasons to defend their behavior and avoid responsibility. Hell, watching just one more episode of Netflix is pretty tempting – but that episode won’t help you towards your goals.
Invest your time working on projects and acquiring new knowledge! Imagine what you could achieve if you read a new book for each season of Netflix watched.
Remember, to achieve something great you must sacrifice greatly.
9) Give Up the Need for Control
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou
Don’t waste your energy on things like the weather, gossip, or a certain (presidential) someone’s next tweet. Use your energy on things you CAN control like your attitude and your wellness.
Stick to positivity! This is one of the most attractive qualities a person can have. You literally might find that opportunity drops in your lap because of this. Be the most enthusiastic person you know, if only for a day. This will change your mindset, put a smile on your face, and put a smile on the faces of others.
Sometimes, the only thing you can control is yourself. That might just be enough. Use your internal power to push yourself towards your goals!
10) Give Up on Having a Closed Mind
“An open-minded person sees life without boundaries, whereas a close-minded person can only see what’s beyond their eyes.” – Kaoru Shinmon
Pop Quiz! Which of the following do you agree with?
You can change your personality.
From birth, intelligence is fixed.
With practice, you can become an expert in anything.
Some people are naturally creative without effort.
A fixed mindset would have said B and D. People with a fixed mind think their talents are fixed traits which will create success without effort. They’re wrong! Your talents have no boundaries so long as you practice.
Learn as many new skills as you can, and if need be, change your perspective and go into every situation with an open mind.
Who you are now, isn’t who you will be tomorrow.
11) Give Up Short-Term Mindsets
“Success is all about persistence and doing the right thing for the long term.” – Bruce Rauner
A short-term mindset can hinder you from achieving your long-term goals. Look at your goals and know what you need to do to achieve them. Do you want to be healthy when you’re 70? Then why would you smoke and eat junk food today?
Short-term mindsets act as band-aids for immediate guilty pleasures. Sure, it’s good to sometimes indulge, but in moderation. I love my vodka-Red Bulls from time to time, but the key is “from time to time.”
Here are some ways you can turn your short-term mindset into long-term goals:
Look at what you are doing now and decide if it makes you happy.
Use your mind to find your real desires. Know where you want to be and how you will get there.
Live with honesty and kindness every day. Be honest and kind to yourself and those around you.
You can fuel your long-term plans with the time you have today! All it takes it a little dedication.
12) Give Up Unhealthy Lifestyles
“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” – Buddha
This quote reminds me of something my mother told me when I was young. She said, “people give their health for money, just so they can buy it back when they’re older.” A healthy lifestyle shouldn’t be sacrificed. If you want to be great, YOU must be great. Start by focusing on the essentials:
Eat Good Foods
Get Enough Sleep
You’ve read it many times already, take small steps towards your end goal. Start now so you can thank yourself later. And I’m not saying you need to treat your body like a temple! But when it comes to those indulgences, remember the key: moderation.
13) Give Up on Safety
“Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller
I have a childhood friend (let’s call them JD) who embodies the need for security. JD is afraid of travel because he fears being stranded somewhere unknown. Imagine everything they are missing out on. The thing is, the world could end at any moment! If you have goals, just get out there and achieve them.
Living an extraordinary life means giving up a normal one. You must give up something in order to gain something else. You are the leader of your own life. If you want to break out of “normal,” this means accepting failure and accepting risk.
14) Give Up on Overworking
“Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.” – Russell Dobda
We’ve been taught that taking breaks makes us seem lazy. But it turns out, breaks help you to manage tasks better than you would be able to with constant work.
In a study from the University of Toronto, Bonnie Hayden Cheng and Julie McCarthy examined university students juggling academic, family, and work responsibilities. Students who took active breaks from responsibilities were better able to manage the task at hand.
…Looks like it’s time for my nap.
Stepping away will allow your subconscious to work on those nasty problems. Next time you feel overly stressed, try taking a 20-minute walk. Enjoy yourself. When you come back, you’ll be able to get to that “aha moment” no problem.
15) Give Up on Giving Up
“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” – Winston Churchill
There will come a point where you must decide to throw in the towel or keep trekking. But before you do, there are some things you should ask yourself:
What will my life look like if I achieve the goal?
What will my life look like if I give up now?
If I quit, am I taking the easy way out?
Is this something I can’t go a day without thinking about?
Asking yourself these questions will help you make your choice. My challenge to you is to challenge yourself. Give up on giving up.
When the going gets tough, keep in there a bit longer and test yourself. If you push a little bit harder, you can break through the wall into a chamber of gold.
1) Learn to Enjoy the Journey
Pursue something you love to do. The process of achieving your dreams will be hard and it will be long. You will be forced to give sacrifice greatly to achieve something great, so make sure you are in love with the journey.
2) Stand by Those Who Love You
You don’t need to please everyone, but you can always please the ones who count. They will be there for you through the ups and downs, so make sure you do the same. However, if you realize they’re a hater and not a lover, be brave enough to make a change.
3) Stay Focused and Be Passionate
Give up multitasking, give up procrastination, and give up excuses. You will have much more time to do pursue your dreams and make them a reality. Life is more than the tweet you were just tagged in. Make life yours and do what you truly love to do.
4) Your Mindset Matters
Envision yourself six months/one year/five years from now. What does that person look like? Are they positive and successful? Remember, your attitude matters. What you do and how you think today will determine your tomorrow.
5) Treat Yourself Right
You only get one body and you only get one mind; treat them with respect. Eat well, pursue adventure, and never give up. Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it. It just takes following the right path.
We want to achieve – so desperately – our dreams because we are powerful … we are strong … and we are influential … and we want to make life ours and be our very best selves.