Self-help books and passive aggressive coworkers are always reminding us “You’re your own worst enemy,” and while we usually tend to roll our eyes at both… they’ve got a point. It’s easy to point out the flaws of those around us, especially those around us with really cute boyfriends, but it’s not as easy to recognize our own shortcomings. While exes, old friends and your mother can probably tell you one hundred different reasons why you’re to blame for the things your life is lacking, their negativity isn’t doing helping you to remedy your issues. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong with us or our lives, it’s more proactive to recognize the behaviors we exhibit that keep us from ditching our dire ways. Self-sabotage is a sneaky little monster, and you can’t get rid of it until you know how it works. Stop making the same mistakes and get to the root of the problem by focusing on this list of all-too-common anti-self behaviors.
1. Cut Out the Overly High Expectations: If you go on a first date and decide afterward that he’s your future husband, you’ve set your expectations way too high. Now, the first time he lets you down, he’s not a new beau that’s made a mistake. Instead, he’s your husband-to-be and his actions hold a lot more weight than the relationship merits. The same can be said for expecting a $10,000 raise after one year on the job or by expecting your new friend to house sit while you’re away on a two week cruise to the Bahamas. If you set your expectations unreasonably high, you’re not staying grounded, and that will definitely blowup in your face. The more blowups you have, the less you’re going to accomplish. Instead, keep your expectations sane! If you’re let down, you have a right to be upset and can create a plan to keep that disappointment from returning. At least then you’ll have the ability to move forward.
Related: Five Things to Look for In a Wife
2. Stop Saying No: Taking risks, going new places and trying out foreign experiences are great daydreams for the young, but they don’t hold a lot of stake in your super adult, very important life. Right? Wrong. The more you say no, the more likely you are to miss out on fantastic opportunities and experiences. Stepping out of your comfort zone is really scary, but once you start giving “Yes” a whirl, you’ll learn how worthwhile new experiences are. If you turn down that cute barista for an after shift drink, you’ll never learn that he’s actually a brilliant entrepreneur. If you refuse to take a spontaneous trip to wine country, you’ll miss watching your best friend get introduced to her future husband. And, if you don’t try a new adventure, you’ll never be able to sit back and tell someone about the best chance you’ve ever taken.
3. Don’t Give Up After One Failure: Once you do take a chance and put yourself out there, it really sucks failing. It’s embarrassing, you feel silly and everyone knows that you stuck your neck out only to get it chopped down. It’s natural to want to give up after that. “I tried it, and it didn’t work,” you’ll tell your friends, and you’ll be right. Kind of. No one makes it after one attempt at glory. Did Michael Phelps win a gold medal the first day he swam? What about the 100th day he swam? Did Steven King get the first short story he ever wrote published? Did your boss become your boss right out of college? The answer, of course, is no. It takes work, chance and dedication to get somewhere great, and everyone fails at first. If you give up, you are ruining your chances at succeeding, regardless of your dream. Let a failure motivate you to do better. Let your mistakes fuel your eventual success. Don’t throw in the towel because you weren’t a star after one day in Hollywood.
4. Get Away from Bad Company: In business they believe a company is only as good as its weakest employee. The same can be said for you and your group of friends. If you are constantly hanging with people making bad decisions or choosing paths that are detrimental to their lives, they are pulling you down with them. If you spend all day with people who complain, blame their issues on everyone else and refuse to move forward in their lives, you will feel absolutely no push to better yourself. But, if your circle is encouraging, motivated and supportive of each other, their good vibes will absolutely rub off on you. When your best friend works for a year to get that really impressive promotion, her desire to better herself will absolutely motivate you to do the same. Friends, boyfriends, family members; it doesn’t matter. If you have negative people whispering in your ear, you’re never going to meet your own personal potential.
5. Stop Talking Bad About Yourself: Have you ever tried to force yourself to smile during a really crappy day? Have you ever tried to hum a happy tune while feeling stressed out of your mind? If so, you know that a little mental positivity can go a really long way. Speaking kindly to yourself will really make you see everything differently. If you spend all day telling yourself that you’re incompetent, stupid, unattractive or anything else terrible, that is exactly how you will act. It’s also how other people will eventually see you. Instead, be your own best friend. Talk positively to and about yourself. Sure, it’ll be awkward at first, but very quickly you’ll notice a serious change in your attitude, personality and confidence. Success at work, in relationships and any other life endeavor begins and ends with you. Might as well give yourself a real shot at it!