13 Things You Need To Stop Doing If You Truly Want To Move Your Life Forward

Stop waiting for perfect circumstances.

If you’re ready to move your life forward, the place to start is by getting still.

Often, feeling stuck isn’t about not having enough momentum or willpower, but about being in misalignment with your needs, wants and strategies.

It’s not that you’re not trying hard enough, but that you’re too attached to trying to force the things that aren’t right for you.

If you want to be in a completely different place by this time next year, you’re going to have to get honest with yourself. You’re going to have to stop using busy-ness as a distraction, you’re going to have to replace quantity with quality, you’re going to have to do some soul-searching, and you’re going to have to learn to prioritize what your future self will thank you for.

Here are the 13 most potent shifts you can make to get your life back on track.

1. Stop waiting for perfect circumstances.

I know that it feels like your life is on an indefinite pause.

If you wait for perfect circumstances to take the leap, start the business, build up what you already have, make a life change, move, course-correct, go on an inner journey, travel, start investing, find peace, be grateful, enjoy what you have or begin your new adventure — you will be waiting forever.

Perfect circumstances do not exist.

There are certainly some more advantageous times than others, and timing itself is important, but it’s also out of your control.

You can’t exist in a perma-state of waiting for something outside of you to shift before you feel like you have the green light to shift something within.

You have to start now. You have to adapt here. You have to do what you can with what you have.

Because the truth is that even if some circumstances are less ideal than others, if you’re subconsciously looking for a reason to play it safe, you’ll always find one. You’re never going to wake up one day and feel completely ready, completely fearless, completely assured.

You arrive there by beginning, and then continuing, even despite every reason why you shouldn’t, or thought you couldn’t, or previously wouldn’t.

You have to stop waiting for perfect circumstances.

You have to create them instead.

2. Stop confusing your maximum output with your maximum potential.

Your maximum potential isn’t doing the most work humanly possible each day. It’s not about trying to capitalize on every single moment of every single hour, thinking you can bullet-journal and morning routine into a robotic state of perfect functioning.

You are a human being.

Your maximum potential is creating a life that is peaceful and meaningful to you. It is doing less, but better.

Making the “most of every moment” doesn’t mean trying to force yourself to over-perform and overcorrect until you’re a washed out version of the person you could have been.

Getting to your maximum potential means creating a daily routine that makes you feel most like yourself, where your activities, commitments and decisions reflect your values, and what your future self would thank you for doing.

3. Stop spending your peak hours on things you don’t care about.

We all have to pay the bills and cook dinner and wipe the countertops.

There are always going to be less than desirable tasks that are essential to the function of being human and staying alive.

The point isn’t that you get to a place where you can avoid those tasks altogether, but that you get to a place where they’re no longer occupying your peak hours.

Your peak hours are the time each day when you’re clearest, most energized, most capable of problem-solving, getting inspired, and creating. For most people, this is early morning to mid-morning.

Don’t waste your most potent energy on things that drain you.

Use it to build what will matter most for your future.

Instead of waking up to check social media and the news, rush around your house to get ready and start work on time, try to amend your routine so that you wake up earlier and get to enjoy your coffee, find time to meditate or journal, work on writing, or business building, or even spending time with someone you love.

The way you use your energy each day plants the seeds of the harvest you’ll reap in the future.

Spend them wisely.

4. Stop only seeing your life through other people’s eyes.

We are hardwired to feel as though being acceptable to others is survival and safety. Trying to completely “not care what other people think” is impossible. It’s not a matter of you not being mentally strong enough, it’s just not how any of us were designed to think.

So instead of trying to convince yourself not to care about anyone else’s opinion (because honestly, you should care about what some people think) try instead to work on just not seeing your life through other people’s eyes.

Most people don’t see or interpret life for themselves, they do it based on the way they imagine other people would perceive it, namely, a small handful of people whose acceptance or approval feels most vital to secure.

Instead of trying to project and imagine their opinions, learn to consider them, and then also consider your own.

How do you feel about this?

If nobody else was around, or would ever know anything about your life ever again, how would you live?

It’s about existing in a way that’s in authentic alignment to who you are, not what’s in forced alignment to who someone else is.

5. Stop believing that timing is everything.

Timing is something you surrender to, not something you allow to control you.

If you don’t just start now, you risk spending the better part of the coming years in a state of limbo. It’s never the “right time” to do anything big, important, and scary. We will always have reasons to delay. We will always feel uncomfortable when facing the unknown. We will always have counterarguments and alternative plans.

Eventually you have to decide what matters to you, and then you have to commit to staying the course, no matter how the tides may turn.

There is no perfect timing, there is just time, and what we do with how much we are given.

Instead of waiting for the perfect moment to arise, consider instead that the time you have each day is like having a set amount of money in a bank account that expires at the end of each day.

What you don’t use, you lose.

6. Stop changing course so often.

You can’t keep changing your plans, your strategy, or your goals, and expect to get anywhere significant.

You’re not going to feel any kind of radical shift by committing to a new practice for only a few days.

You’re not going to see any real results if you don’t stick with a business strategy for at least a year or two, minimum.

Sometimes, we change course to get back on track. More often, we amend our approach because we’re afraid to really begin.

Be honest with yourself about which category you fall into.

Do you really need to keep making so many shifts, or are you resisting the work that truly needs to be done, which is settling into what you have, rooting into where you are, embracing the person you’ve always been, and simply allowing yourself to bloom?

7. Stop thinking you’re so out of the ordinary.

Everyone is special in the sense that everyone has a unique set of gifts and talents and perspectives and ways in which they express love and presence that can never be re-created by another human being on the planet.

But we’re all still human.

When you have it in your head that you’re going at this alone, that you’re the only person in the world whose ever navigated a marriage, raised a challenging child, started a new business, managed uncertain finances or lived through a world crisis, you’re not helping yourself out.

Thinking that you’re so out of the ordinary is holding you back, because it makes you believe that what you’re doing is unpopular, and therefore, unsafe or wrong.

Sure, your choices or circumstances may be markedly different than the “norm,” but what is the “norm” really other than the mix of environment, peer group, family, religion, government and media you were exposed to throughout your life?

Whatever you’re doing, there are probably at minimum millions of people who have also tried it, done it, or are also doing it.

You’re special, but you’re not alone.

8. Stop thinking short-term.

Instant gratification is alluring, but not helpful.

You need to be thinking in long-term strides.

Not just how to get through tomorrow, but what the next best step in your career would be to arrive where you’d like to be by retirement. Not what get-rich-quick stock you could magically uncover and strike gold with, but how to consistently invest in a diversified portfolio and allow it to grow with time, even if you start small.

It’s not just what would feel good now, but also what you’ll thank yourself for later.

While there’s always a time to treat yourself and enjoy life, it has to be balanced by principles, values, and forward-thinking.

Otherwise, you’ll keep treading water and wondering why you’re still not approaching the shore.

9. Stop assuming you always know best.

This doesn’t instill confidence in the way you think it might.

More often, it makes you feel hopeless and defeated, because when challenges arise, you think that you know the only solution, the only answer, and the only viable outcome for your life.

Let life surprise you.

Let experts help you.

Let people who are wiser than you show you the way forward.

Be open to the idea that perhaps you aren’t able to see the entire picture right now, and what’s on the other side is better than anything you’d think to ask for.

The truth is that we can’t always predict what will make us happy, because what we can imagine is only what we’ve already known.

We’re often pulling from the past to create the present.

Instead of thinking you know the only way forward, consider that maybe you don’t know exactly what you need in a partner, and be open to different types of people. Consider the idea that you don’t know exactly what work is right for you, and be open to experimenting. Allow yourself to sit with the idea that there are incredible things right within your reach that you do not realize, simply because you were never taught.

You do not have all the answers, even if you have many of them.

Nobody does.

Life is a continual unfolding.

Let things in that you didn’t previously choose.

You will be better for it.

10. Stop underestimating the power of inner work.

The truth about forward movement is that it’s more about present stillness than anything else.

Can you sit with yourself?

Can you be present?

Can you allow yourself to metabolize the feelings that keep coming up?

Can you ask yourself the tough questions to get the important answers?

Are you willing to change your mind?

Are you willing to change your life?

While there are many parts of life that are out of your control, the parts that are within it are often a reflection of you.

When you commit to working on yourself, that effort radiates out and touches everything and everyone around you. So commit to growth.Commit to becoming better. Decide that you’re ready to open your heart past its current perimeters.

There is so much more waiting for you, but you have to be open to it first.

11. Stop playing down your dreams.

If fortune favors the brave, then it also prefers the bold.

You need to not only have a strong vision about what you want to create next in your life, you need to be ambitious. You need to think beyond the limits of your current perspective. You need to be daring.

This isn’t just because aiming higher inevitably raises your expectations overall, but also that boldness often tells you what you’re actually capable of, though you might not yet believe it.

If you’re willing to believe that something might be possible for you — it already is.

The virtue of you even being willing to consider it means that it’s somewhere within your realm of possibility already. It’s just a matter of first realizing it, and then acting on it.

12. Stop avoiding your discomfort.

Discomfort signals that a shift needs to be made.

Discomfort, much like anger, grief, and jealousy, is a healthy human emotion that communicates something to us. It’s not the feeling itself that’s unhealthy, but that we do not know what to do with it when it arises.

Anger is the healthy response to injustice, or a boundary being crossed. Grief is the healthy response to loss. Jealousy is the healthy response to seeing someone else pursue what you are resisting. Likewise, discomfort is the healthy response to knowing it’s time to make a change. Discomfort is not trying to punish you, it’s trying to help you.

However, most people can’t simply sit with it long enough to let it tell them what it needs to say, let alone take the next step, which is often to temporarily endure more discomfort before a solution is found.

Discomfort is an experience most people are not willing to face or feel.

This is why their lives stay as they are.

13. Stop thinking that the worst possible outcome is you making a wrong choice.

The reason why so many people resist making change, despite wanting and needing it, is that they believe that they could “misstep” in life. The idea is that what they have is good or good enough, and by taking a leap, there’s a chance they could fall entirely off path, and ruin something that was alright trying to pursue something better.

This is faulty logic.

There are very few choices in life that we can’t amend or at least adjust as we go on. The world does not punish us for choosing one thing over another, we punish ourselves out of fear and desire to conform.

I know that it seems like the worst possible outcome is the idea of you potentially making a wrong choice, but the worst possible outcome is you never living your life, never experiencing the depth and beauty of existence, never pursuing your dreams, never becoming fulfilled, never finding meaning… all because you were too afraid to maybe get it wrong.

A misstep isn’t the worst thing that can happen.

Refusing to move forward is.

For more of my writing, follow me on Instagram, or check out my books, 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think, and The Mountain Is You: Transforming Self-Sabotage Into Self-Mastery

Author of 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think and six other collections. Visit briannawiest.com to shop for books and more.

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