Complacency Is The Enemy: 10 Tips How To Fight Complacency

5 min read

”I really try to put myself in uncomfortable situations. Complacency is my enemy.”  - Trent Reznor

Let’s face it. There are times when we are fully motivated, eating right, working out, having good habits.

Then complacency creeps in. A donut here. A day on the couch there. The next thing you know, those good habits fall to the wayside. 

We’re all guilty of it. 

Complacency starts off small and then the next thing you know, you’ve become too lenient in all aspects of your life and you stop growing. 

But don’t worry! It even happens to the best of the best and we’re here to help you fight back. We’re here with an overview of how complacency creeps into our lives and provide 10 tips to fight complacency.

What Is Complacency?

Merriam Webster defines complacency as self-satisfaction, especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.

“Success can lead to complacency, and complacency is the greatest enemy of success.” - Brian Tracy

What Causes Complacency?

Complacency rears its ugly head when you start to make progress on goals. You start having some successes and each success makes you lose a little drive and motivation from where you started. 

 Let’s say you’re trying to get in shape and you start dieting. 

 You start as your New Year's Resolution with a strict diet and go to the gym regularly. 

 You lose 5 lbs right off the bat and feel great! You’ve been disciplined. You’ve avoided all junk food. Done everything right, because your motivation is at an all time high. 

 Then someone brings donuts into work. 

 At the start of your journey, it was easy to say no. But now, you’ve lost 5 lbs. You can have just one. You’ve EARNED it you tell yourself. While rewarding yourself for accomplishments is great, you have to remain mindful of it. 

 Each time you give yourself a free pass, it weakens your mindset, weakens your motivation, and complacency begins to kick in. 


“Don't let your success of today lay you into complacency for tomorrow. For that is the worst form of failure.” - Og Mandino 


Why Complacency Is The Enemy?

Simple. Complacency keeps you from growing. It throws you off your goals. It invades all aspects of your life. Keep your focus. Keep your drive. Fight complacency and improve your personal development

What Are Some Common Types Of Complacency?

Complacency At Work

Got that big promotion? Finished that big project to praise? Notice that you have less motivation? The fact is complacency is rampant at work. It’s best noticed at the highest level. Statistics show that sports players in a contract year tend to have some of the best stats of their career. Once they’ve signed their new contract, the following year tends to be a massive drop-off. Why? Complacency. 

Complacency In A Relationship

Let’s face it, most people are never as nice, polished, present, and engaged as they are at the beginning of a relationship. Why? Because you still have to prove yourself worthy of the other person. You put your best self forward. But as the relationship goes on, we begin to fall back into old habits, we try less, we become complacent, because there’s less of a need to try as hard. 

Self Complacency

As previously discussed, this is with all of your personal goals. As you get small wins of progress, we tend to relax our mindset a bit and complacency creeps in. 

10 Tips To Fight Complacency

Tip #1 - Be Mindful Of Complacency

Understanding how complacency can creep into your life is half of the battle. When you understand this and can remain mindful of all of your actions you can stop complacency in its tracks. When you see that donut in the break room, you now have a deeper understanding that it’s not just an earned donut, but it’s a mental step back from your goal. 

Tip #2 - Raise Your Standards

We should always strive to be our best self. And this means constantly raising our standards. Don’t settle when you’ve reached a certain level, continue to improve, create loftier standards to aim for. 

Tip #3 - Self Reflect Every Night

Take time to recap your day. Think of anywhere where complacency may have manifested in your life. Putting focus on this complacency will help you better identify it and avoid it next time. Recognize it, identify it, spot the pattern next time. 

Tip #4 - Start Each Day As New

One mistake shouldn’t throw you off your course. When you recount your previous day and you recognize that you slipped a little bit, wake up with new fervor with a new commitment to your raised standards. Life is a journey. 

Tip #5 - Focus On The Process

Goals and targets are great, but comparing against them can lead to frustration. Focus on learning to love the process, because that is where you live day in and day out. 

Tip #6 - Learn From The Best

Mirror those who are successful. Find role models in the field that you’re trying to improve and learn from their disciplines. Add their discipline and mindset into your life. 

Tip #7 - Compete With Yourself

You won’t always have a friend or counterpart who wants to improve in the same facet of life that you do. Learn to compete with yourself as you strive to be better. Don’t let yourself become complacent. Fight for more. 

Tip #8 - Maintain Momentum

Don’t stop that momentum. Don’t let speed bumps of complacency derail you. Maintain your focus. Maintain your progress and continue pushing forward. 

Tip #9 - Set New Goals

Goals are great, but what happens when you accomplish them? Are you done? No, this is where complacency can quickly take over. Always set new goals and strive to continue making progress. 

Tip #10 - Accountability Mirror

Navy Seal and endurance athlete, David Goggins created the  accountability mirror.  It’s about being honest with yourself. It’s about staying honest and grounded about your goals and visions. It helps keep you focused and driven. 


❝Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.❞ - Andy Grove



Let’s face it, complacent finds its way into our lives in a multitude of facets. Complacency is the enemy of our success. It keeps us from continuing to make progress on our goals. Complacency kills our motivation and momentum. But don’t worry, recognizing and understanding complacency can help you ward off complacency on your journey to be better. Use the tips provided here and implement them in your own life to become your best self. 

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