Today, try to do just a little better than yesterday. And, make sure that this 'better' is your own personal absolute best. That's it — as simple as that.
And that is also what we, writers, call not burying the lead. But wait... if it really were so simple, how come we're not all super successful already?
The thing is, your brain will try to deceive you every time you're trying to improve. Every. Single. Time. Call it procrastination, depression, weariness — whatever, the result is the same. So, here are some common excuses your brain will feed you and the counter-arguments you might need to reason with your own self. Good luck convincing the cheater in you!
Lack of time
Why don't we all stop deceiving ourselves already? It's never about having time, it's about making time. Plus, if you're anxious to perform at least 1% better than yesterday — hell, even 0.5% would be great — it will already bring astonishing results, in the long run. And it will not take much of your precious time. One extra push up a day. A hundred words more than yesterday. Learning one new thing — one minor aspect of a thing — that helps you grow as an expert. In a year, you'll see at least 300% growth in your professional skills. And that is a sky-rocketing exponential!
Lack of motivation/ideas
The topic's already threadbare, so I will not dwell on it. Make sure you dedicate some time to yourself, too. Read a book. Talk to a friend. Go for a walk. What the hell, pamper yourself in a spa/bar/shooting gallery. Do that thing that makes you happy, and the muse will return.
Yes, this one can be a problem, too. How many times have we discarded great projects because they were 'not good enough'? Once again, make sure you do your own personal best. Be there one hundred percent. You'll do 1% better tomorrow. But today is as good as it gets. Love it! Or, at least, try to accept it. After all, if you’re never happy with yourself, you will never get anything done — but you know it already. So don’t be afraid to learn on the go — there’s absolutely no shame in it. On the contrary, it’s something to be proud of!
Comparing yourself to others
This is but another form of perfectionism, tracing back to our personal insecurities. Letting go of those can be hard, but it’s absolutely necessary. You are you. You are bringing your own unique vision to the world. Of course, it’s gonna be different from other people’s thoughts and achievements. Trite as it may sound, try to embrace your individuality.
Hopes for immediate gratification
Yes, we all know nothing happens over night — on a conscious level. On a subconscious one, though… we are still hoping for stardom — in a blink of an eye. Try to remind yourself that this is but an illusion. This little ‘brain cheat’ can be especially challenging for millennials, but people from previous generations often fell prey for it, too. Don’t expect too much, too soon. It’s one minor improvement a day — try to remember that.
Setting up unrealistic estimates
Another form of expecting too much, too soon. We nurture Napoleon plans, and then, after a month or so, we notice we cannot keep up with the pace we’ve set for ourselves. Everyone’s been there, right? Well, the same rule applies — try to do just 1% better than yesterday. One percent is not too much, right? In a year, though, you’ll see amazing results. But right now, try to keep it on a humanly possible level.
Fear of the unknown
This one can be very tricky. On the one hand, we all want to be successful. On the other one, we are subconsciously clinging to our routines. Just think about it for a second — don’t rush into denial. We have a certain picture of our successful selves, and we also know our current selves. The problem is, we see our journeys from current state to ‘success’ as a trip from point A to point B. But it’s not! It’s a trip to point M at least. In other words, it’s a series of small steps — A, B, C, D, etc., till you get to your M.
There’s no teleport here — so absolutely no reason to be scared. You will have more than enough time to get emotionally ready for the state you’re aiming at. After all, you’ll be growing better by 1% a day — remember? So, the unknown will not hit you unexpectedly. You’ll get there step by step, slowly and steadily. It will no longer be the ‘unknown’ by the time you're there.
Not believing in yourself
You might think you’re not smart enough; maybe, you doubt your stamina; you may even believe nobody cares about the things you love and want to do. That’s impostor syndrome all right — thinking you’re a fraud and everyone can see that.
The good news is that only people who are actually worth something feel like impostors. No kidding. If you think of it, the phenomenon is directly tied to Dunning-Krueger effect — a personal superiority bias many beginning professionals suffer from.
Then, as you grow personally and professionally, your eyes are opened. You see how much more there is to learn and to master. You can no longer consider yourself the high almighty. And it’s totally alright — no one is! But it doesn’t mean you’re a fraud. Seriously, it doesn’t — even though you probably don't believe me at the moment. So don't take my word for it — research more info both on impostor syndrome and Dunning-Krueger effect — it should help A LOT!
Bottom line, you’re totally not alone there — we all doubt yourselves, run out of ideas, and allow hopes and fears get in our way. This doesn’t mean we should not strive to improve — at least 1% a day. Because in the long run, everyone has what it takes to be successful.