15 Things You Should Give Up to Become More Successful

"Get rid of the old to make way for the new" is a mantra I apply to my wardrobe twice a year when I clean out my closet. I love purging clothing, and if I haven't worn a dress in a while, to Goodwill it goes. A recent Inc. article had me thinking: What if I applied this philosophy to other aspects of my life? Specifically bad habits that no longer serve me and might be holding back my career.

Lolly Daskal, founder and CEO of Lead From Within, can relate. "Everyone is entitled to success; we just have to make room for it," she says. "Just as you declutter your office and home, from time to time, do a check, and throw out anything that isn't helping you make your success achievable." So I've pledged to heed her advice, starting with these 15 points. Ask yourself: Could these self-sabotaging habits be holding you back from success? You'll be surprised by how many we all have in common.

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Aiming for perfection

"Perfectionism sets us up for failure," says Daskal. Although it's important to do your best, aiming to be perfect is a sure-fire path to unhappiness—you'll always fall short. 

Waiting for luck

If you're guilty of crediting your job to "good luck" or find yourself waiting for a lucky encounter to change your situation, it's time to shift your mindset. "Luck builds its foundation on preparation," she says. In order to have good fortune, you have to be willing to work hard. 

Waiting for anything

Yes, many things happen because of circumstance, but waiting for the right time, the right place, or the right person is a cop-out. Take control of the situation, and be proactive about creating the career and the life you want. 

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Playing small

It's easy to retreat to comfort and certainty, but if you don't challenge yourself to think big, you'll never know what could have been. 

Needing approval

When you crave approval from others, you put your self-worth and your happiness in their hands. 

Trying to do it alone

"Even if you can pull it off, it's twice as much work and half as much fun when you do it alone," says Daskal. Asking for help doesn't show weakness—it shows a willingness to learn. 

Overlooking negative thoughts

Our thoughts and actions are deeply intertwined. We're often our own biggest critics when we should be our biggest fans. Talk to yourself with kindness and compassion like you would your dearest friend. 

Fixating on your weaknesses

Everyone has weaknesses, no matter how successful and confident they appear. The key is to work on them and shift your focus to your strengths.

Living in the past

If you've made a mistake, acknowledge it, understand why it happened, and then move on. Those who live boldly and fiercely are focused on the future. 

Trying to please everyone

"The surest path to failure is trying to please everyone," says Daskal. It's an impossible target. 

Holding onto grudges

Grudges don't serve your happiness—they constrict your life and can distort your perception of reality. Few things are more freeing than learning to forgive. 

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Spending time with negative people

The people you choose to surround yourself with are a direct reflection of who you are. Invite people into your life who want to lift you up and celebrate your success.


"If you spend time complaining about yesterday, you won't have time to make tomorrow better," she argues. 

Comparing yourself with others

Don't focus on what others are doing. Put your head down, and make sure you're hitting your goals. 

Thinking you can't make a difference

Our actions matter, regardless of how big or insignificant they appear. Acknowledging that making small changes can yield long-lasting results is the first step. Success starts here. 

What bad habits are you trying to give up?

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