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5 Habits You Don’t Realize You’re Doing That’s Limiting Your Growth

Updated: Apr 3, 2020

by Janessa Tan. |

I’m all about the personal growth and self-development bandwagon. Transitioning into the whole new decade, I want to share a couple of limiting habits that you may not realize that’s hindering your journey of self-improvement.

1. Setting Goals Without Building Plans

It’s almost like a tradition - the majority of us engage in some kind of goal setting for our resolutions every year.; but do you know that roughly 70% of the population fail to achieve the goals they have set for themselves? This is because people set goals but forget they need an actionable plan to get them to their destination.

Many people mistakenly believe that setting goals simply means writing a few sentences on their shiny new planner. In actuality, you need to also set a date for completion and a timeline of checkpoints you want to reach throughout your goal-striving process. A timeline helps break down your goal into little milestones you should be committing to. By doing so, you can see how feasible and achievable that goal is for you.

Along those lines, you should know how much you’re setting yourself up for. Some people have too many goals or have goals that are just too big and unrealistic. It’s like standing in front of a dartboard and having three targets in mind when trying to just hit one target is difficult enough. As Greg McKeown’s book ‘Essentialism’ emphasizes, “It’s not about trying to get more things done, it’s about getting the RIGHT things done.”

2. The All-or-Nothing Mindset

The all-or-nothing mindset refers to thinking in extremes. You either succeed or fail, your performance was either good or bad, gym time is either go big or go home, or even assuming that you have failed the diet just because you had a slice of cake, which then spirals into a guilt-binge and lots of self-loathing. This dichotomous mindset traps you from cultivating a growth mindset and hampers your self-esteem.

The antidote to this mindset is to look for the shades of grey. To appreciate the mediocre and celebrate small wins. To recognize that slice of cake does not erase the efforts you put in throughout the week. It’s about letting go of perfectionism and giving yourself permission to modify your expectations into something manageable.

3. The Analysis Paralysis

Big term, I know; but the analysis paralysis simply refers to a state of over-analyzing a situation to the point where an action is never taken. It is a form of procrastination which occurs because there is so much information for us to navigate, especially in this digital era. Have you spent more time in the gym scrolling through fitness videos on Instagram than actually doing a workout?

As we try to stay updated with the latest trends, viewpoints and advice, trying to set up an actionable plan for growth can feel like a hamster wheel - you can run all day trying to plan the perfect goal, but some new information or research comes up, you’re overwhelmed, and you’re still at square zero.

Hence, it is important to set parameters and boundaries for the information we absorb. The internet is an infinite storage space, but our minds are not. There are only so many self-help articles and meal-prep ideas we can read before we start taking action towards our goals.

4. Not being true to your values

Growth isn’t sustainable if you’re not being true to yourself and your values. Living an inauthentic life is exhausting, and it can take a toll on your mental health and personal growth. People nowadays conform and suppress their true selves in order to gain acceptance from others. We hold back from admitting to our mistakes or expressing how we truly feel to avoid risking rejection. Although we feel safe by doing so, imagine all the missed opportunities of a single sentence or action that we hold back.

Think of the people in your life whom you admire. These are generally people who possess a good amount of self-knowledge, they are honest and transparent, and they stand firm on their ground for what they value. Those who strive for authenticity aren’t fearless, but they are willing to feel fear. They breakthrough from their comfort zones to allow space for personal growth. On the flip side, those who stay within inauthenticity often come across as fake, stagnant and unhappy.

Indeed, it is not easy to always believe in your gut feelings and counter external influences. However, true growth and joy only happen when your goals are aligned with your values with a willingness to face the discomfort that may come with doing so.

5. Limiting Yourself by Your Labels

“I am introverted”, “I am extroverted”, “I am a bad cook”, “I am a professional athlete”. “I can do this”. “I can’t do this.”

We live in a society of labels. Everyone will try to label you, even you will try to label yourself (if you’re denying that, look at your Instagram and Twitter bios). Labelling is inevitable. Even back at your preschool days, there was always someone who was the smart kid, the class clown, the teacher’s pet. These labels are powerful, and they subconsciously feed forward into our teenage, adult years even throughout our entire life. Labels have the potential to cultivate a positive sense of self, but it may also become a negative self-fulfilling prophecy.

Of course, it is important to know who we are, what we stand for, what we’re capable of. However, labels also cause us to stay comfortably within what we have been conditioned to know about ourselves and limit us within our safety-box. Just because you’re an introvert, it doesn’t mean you’re not a friendly person; just because you’re bad at cooking today, it doesn’t mean you cannot learn tomorrow; just because you’re a professional athlete, it doesn’t mean you’re not also a creative writer.

We are not built of a single personality and our self-worth should not be based on our professions. Living beyond your labels unlocks your unlimited potential of trying and achieving things outside your field of expertise and your comfort zone.

I would say that the journey of personal growth is definitely not linear. These are just a couple of things that I have picked up in my own experience. At the end of the day, everyone’s journey should be unique. As long as you are taking little steps every day, your experience is ultimately the thing that will help you grow, change, and improve.

You can also find out more about the writer on Instagram.

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