Often, when we think about how to become successful we focus on all the things we need to do. We need to work out more, we need to eat better, we need to get this or that project done. We need to do better in school. We need to be more consistent. We need to be more productive.
But sometimes, we end up focusing so much on all the things we need to do, we forget about all the things we need to give up. Over time, we develop mindsets or habits that hold us back from achieving our goals, and if we never give them up, they keep holding us back, no matter how much we try.
That’s why it’s useful to consider what parts of your life you need to let go, the parts of your life that need to demand less of your focus, so you can have the space to work on your goals and aspirations.
Let’s go over some of the key things you probably need to give up in order to reach your full potential and see the kind of success you know you’re capable of.
Give Up Low Standards
As Tony Robbins wrote in his book Awaken the Giant Within,
“any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards.”
In other words, one of the reasons you may not see improvement in your life is because you’ve accepted less than you deserve.
If you want to be successful, you have to stop settling for less and demand more. Refuse to let things remain in a place you’re not happy with. Once you raise your standards, you’ll be forced to take action to make things change. Low standards will hold you back forever if you let them.
Give Up Making Excuses
You’ve probably heard this one plenty of times before. But what does it really look like? What does it mean to give up excuses?
When you give up making excuses, you realize that everything you do in life is in your hands. Simply rationalizing away why you weren’t able to get something done is not going to change the fact that you didn’t do it.
Own up to your mistakes, take responsibility, and accept that you’re the only one who can make your success happen.
As American artist, Bruce Nauman said,
“If you really want to do it, you do it. There are no excuses.”
Give Up An Unhealthy Lifestyle
Success may mean different things to different people, but if you don’t take care of your body you’ll have a difficult time reaching your full potential.
Even if you’re only focused on intellectual success, you still need to make sure you take care of your body. Your brain and body are deeply interconnected and your brain thrives off of exercise and healthy nutrients. When you nourish and work out your body, you help improve your emotional state and ability to think.
Give Up Playing Small
Goethe wrote that,
“the dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.”
If you want to be successful, you have to let go of playing small.
Successful people take risks. They don’t sit on the sidelines waiting to see how things go. They are in the front lines forging new paths and making moves. They don’t wait for permission, they give permission to themselves.
Plus, people who play small risk something possibly even worse than failure: never giving themselves the chance.
Give Up Living in the Past
A lot of people have difficult pasts that resurface in their minds to play on repeat, but you have to let go of your past to a certain extent. Thinking too much about the past prevents you from living in the present and giving your all to the moment.
Success comes when you focus on moving forward, doing your best to live in the now, and not letting your past hold you back.
In the words of Henry David Thoreau:
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this.”
Give Up Saying Yes to Everything
When you say yes to everything, you’re really saying no to yourself.
Becoming successful in life means cutting out all the things that don’t support your values and goals.
Consider: what do you really want in life? What do you value? Relationships, or career? Health or partying? Where are your boundaries? What takes precedence?
Then, every time you’re presented with something new to do, ask yourself: does this new thing support my goals, or is it just taking time away from the things I really value?
When you say yes to everything and continually add to your plate, you end up with too much to do and not enough time or energy to ever really complete them. Only say yes to a few things so you can really devote time and energy to finishing them at a high standard.
Give Up Your Need to Be Liked
Successful people don’t concern themselves with what others think of them, or if everyone likes them. They know that not everyone likes them, and that’s okay. You’ll never please everybody. At a certain point, you have to ask yourself whether you need to please everybody or have self-respect.
Besides, a people-pleasing attitude is a sure-fire way to make sure no one views you as genuine. Other people are naturally attracted to people who are honestly themselves. As Ines de La Fressange said,
“Being unafraid of not being liked is the best way to be liked.”
Give Up Expecting Fairness
Life isn’t fair. Which is probably something you’ve heard before, but truly accepting it can be easier said than done.
Realize that just because you put in the work, just because you’re smart or talented or disciplined, doesn’t mean the Universe or God or your boss owes you anything. No one owes you anything.
Once you accept that, the only course of action is just to keep going and do your best.
There’s nothing that will hold you back more than feeling entitled to success.
Give Up Not Being Yourself
Your superpower is your uniqueness. It may make you feel isolated or unsure because nobody else is like you, but that’s what makes you great. That’s what will make you successful, so lean into who you really are and embrace it.
July Garland once said,
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of someone else.”
Give Up Complaining
A huge success killer is complaining.
Every time you notice yourself complaining about your situation, stop and take one action to change things, it doesn’t even have to be big. When you’re in motion, there’s no time to think about how terrible everything is going, you just have to focus on moving forward. The more time you spend complaining, the less time you’ll have to move towards your goals, and the longer you’ll have to wait. The more you focus on the negative, the more negative you’ll bring into your life.
So stop complaining and start doing.
We all have goals in our life that we want to accomplish, but it’s important to make sure we’re getting rid of our unhealthy mindsets and habits that lead to self-destruction. Once we shake those negative thought patterns, we can grow that much more quickly and see real results quicker than we ever thought possible.