5 Habits You Need to Break If You Want to Be Successful

By Sean Brown | November 24, 2017

What’s stopping you from shipping your product? Or for some, what’s stopping you from building it in the first place?

Being successful isn’t always about learning new things and complicating your daily routine. While the definition of success is different for everyone, bad habits are universal.

Anyone can come up with a great idea, but only a few end up following through. Regardless of what your goals are, success starts when you take a look back and identify what’s holding you back.

Some habits may take months to break, while others may disappear as soon as you’re made aware of them. Here are five unhealthy habits that you need to drop if you want to reach your maximum potential as an entrepreneur.

Stop Making Excuses

A five-minute break never hurt anybody. But if you take five of those breaks per day, five days a week, we’re talking about over eight hours that could have been spent learning a new skillset.

You can’t get anywhere by trying to justify wasted time. If you want to be successful, you need to take responsibility for making the most out of your day. Excuses are only a tool used to shift blame away from the root cause.

As an entrepreneur, establishing priorities is crucial. At the beginning of each year, month, week, and day, you should always outline the basic priorities you refuse to make excuses for.

Forcing yourself to exercise each day is far too difficult if your only goal is to “get in shape by the end of the year.” On the other hand, setting aside time in your schedule to workout each day because you know its integral to your productivity is both measurable and tangible. Remember, it’s better to plan around your priorities than to skip out on them altogether.

Give up on Being Perfect

Nobody is perfect. There aren’t any perfect ideas, and there certainly aren’t any perfect products.

The only way to make a product people like is to release it and get feedback. There’s a ton of power in releasing something and simply asking your users what they like and what they don’t like.

The faster you move, the more you can iterate; and the more you can iterate based on your customers’ feedback, the less time you waste making a product that nobody ends up liking.

Stop Multi-tasking

Humans are not wired to be multitaskers—it’s that simple. Powering through a design while talking on the phone may seem like you’re beating the clock, but you can’t beat your own brain.

While nine out of ten people you talk to will likely vouch for their ability to multitask, it turns out only 2% of the population is mentally equipped to multitask effectively. Quitting multitasking altogether is the fastest way to become more productive.

You may believe you’re working on two things simultaneously, but you’re really just switching your focus back and forth between tasks rapidly, blocking your brain from dedicated full power to either thing you’re working on.

It takes time to refocus whenever you switch to a new task. If you’re juggling multiple things, you’re going to lose a ton of cognitive power.

If you want to be less stressed (a key component of success), stop multitasking. Whether it’s a workout, a dinner with family, or a business meeting, the key to productivity is dedicating all of your focus to a single task at a time.

Don’t Think Short-term

Short-term goals don’t help you form long-term habits. You won’t get anywhere by measuring your success in material possessions. A lot of the time, being an entrepreneur is a long-game. Sometimes your ideas will work out and other times they won’t.

Trying to launch a startup so you can drive a fast car is a lot different than starting a business to become financially sustainable.

Don’t set your goals based on your immediate desired return, set them based on what you identify with. Do things because you know they’re good for you, not because they’re going to make you more money.

Don’t Get down on Yourself

Resilience is the most important yet underestimated trait of any successful entrepreneur. It’s easy to talk about failing and picking yourself back up, but actually doing it after six failed app launches is a whole different story.

Success isn’t given—it’s earned. Everyone has the tools necessary to build a business from the ground up. Knowing you have the power to succeed and constantly believing yourself is massively important if you want to stay productive every day.

Running your own business isn’t supposed to be easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it.

While having your own business has a ton of benefits, starting anything from the ground up is obviously going to come with a lot of challenges—it’s unrealistic to get it 100% right on the first go around.

“80% of success is showing up.” — Woody Allen

You can’t expect to grow without building a network, launching your product, and talking to your customers. Everyone can come up with a great idea for a business, but only a select few ever end up actually following through with it.

Successful business owners don’t possess any divine traits. The only difference between those who failed and those who ended up succeeding is how often they picked themselves up after hitting a roadblock.

Nobody is responsible for making your life better except for you. You can’t expect things to change if you’re not putting in the effort. Having a bad day is one thing, but things aren’t going to work out if you throw in the towel when things go south.

This doesn’t mean you should stick your head in the sand and ignore all of the negative feedback on your product, but instead that you should listen to your customers and head back to the drawing board in high spirits.

All entrepreneurs make mistakes—the successful ones are those that acknowledge them and dive headfirst into fixing them.