Things we do to ourselves that lower our capability. As opposed to being born with a handicap, these are things we do to ourselves to mess up our lives. Like lifestyle diseases, self-imposed handicaps are totally preventable.

Why do we do it? Why do we impose limits on ourselves? It’s a disease–a disease of the mind, it once it takes hold, we violate the laws of wellness and damage ourselves.

Nearly everyone does it. Nearly everyone has issues—things they do which sabotage themselves. It could be they’ve adopted the silent habit at work, and instead of contributing ideas during a meeting, they stay quiet. Perhaps, even worse, in their silence they are critics of the others in the meeting.

Others are the opposite in meetings—domineering, bullying, disruptive—these folks damage the outcome of the meeting, too.

Some people’s days are a sequence of self-imposed handicaps. Starting off with an overly strong cup of coffee, followed by a sugary breakfast cereal, followed by rushing out the door to get to work at a certain time. That’s a bad road.

Another self-imposed handicap has to do with exercise. Some people don’t exercise. And when they do, they complain about it. They end up with this weird sense of what exercise is—like they have to get on a machine and do cardio and then lift some weights and it has to take an hour. That’s garbage. Exercise is totally different. It’s a prescription—you don’t dawdle, you focus your mind, set your objectives, and do it—without distraction.

Teddy Roosevelt said that “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” These are just a few minor examples and the list goes on and on and on. For some people, the list is a mile long.

We need to develop the skill of self-observation and begin to weed out our stupid behaviors. And to help us focus, we need to stop looking at the stupid behaviors of others and criticizing them, because we have our own stuff to deal with.

Start a diary. Learn to write about your day, your thoughts, your dreams, and get in tuned with what you do and who you are and how the world perceives you. Grab those crappy habits—the worst offenders—and ditch them. Work with them until they no longer have hold over you.

For what are self-imposed handicaps? They are crappy habits that can be changed through self-effort.