A new year is an opportunity to start with a clean slate and make major strides toward reaching your business goals.

But even with the best intentions, bad habits can derail your progress even before you start. Here are 17 bad habits to break, so you can propel your business forward:

1. Comparing yourself to others

It's self-sabotage. Especially since most of the time, the comparisons aren't fair.

That's because most of the time you are comparing your progress as a beginner to someone who is years ahead of you. And rarely do you have enough information about other entrepreneurs' circumstances to make adequate assessments.

The time needed to focus on what others are doing, is much better spent advancing your own projects.

2. Overloading your to-do list

Data from iDoneThis shows that 41 percent of to-do list items never get done. When you try to do too many things, you're setting yourself up for failure.

3. Always saying "yes"

A better way to keep your to-do list in check, is to only say "yes" to activities that advance your core priorities. For everything else, say "no" or "not right now."

4. Engaging in perfection paralysis

Bird by Bird author Anne Lamott put it this way:

"Perfection is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people."

If everything you do must be perfect before going live, you'll produce very little, which will slow your growth.

5. Avoiding failure

According to Seth Godin, the person who fails the most wins. The more you step outside your comfort zone to do what might not work, the more insights you'll get about what does.

6. Thinking you are superman

You can't do everything on your own. Stop trying. Focus your time on the core activities that grow your business. Delegate or automate everything else.

7. Planning too rigidly

Change is guaranteed. When your plans are set in stone, it will be challenging to adapt when circumstances warrant it.

8. Operating without a strategy

Data shows that only 65 percent of companies have a strategy. If you don't know how you will effectively compete, you'll find yourself engaging in a bunch of busy work, rather than activities that propel you forward.

9. Multi-tasking

The notion that doing more than one thing at a time will help you get more done is a myth. Studies show that you are 40 percent less productive when you multi-task. Just don't do it.

10. Working too hard

Your mind needs time to rest, rejuvenate, and play. Besides, studies show overwork decreases both productivity and the quality of your work.

Eventually, you'll hit a point of diminishing returns. As a result, you'll have to spend time later redoing work that wasn't done right the first time because you were too tired to do it well.

11. Taking your journey alone

You will go farther, faster when you have the right people by your side. Consider hiring a coach, joining a mastermind group, or even getting an accountability partner. The time spent with others will create a synergy that will magnify your efforts.

12. Not knowing your numbers

If you want to know what works, what doesn't, and where you must improve, you've got to know your data. Operate with the reality of what is happening, rather than anecdotal guesses and gut feelings.

13. Not having a consistent customer acquisition system

Your business needs customers to survive. And to prevent living in feast or famine you need to implement a reliable system that keeps customers in your pipeline.

14. Learning all the time

Spending time capturing knowledge from others is helpful to prepare you to do great work. But you've got to apply what you learn to get any benefit. Don't use learning as an excuse to procrastinate.

15. Figuring everything out on your own

You can figure most things with enough time. But since your time is scarce, a more efficient way is to learn from the battle scars of those that have come before you instead of earning your own.

16. Spending too much time on shallow work

Responding to emails or social media mentions may make you feel productive. But in reality, shallow activities like these rarely grow your business. Instead, engage in deep work, long periods of time tackling meatier tasks that make a tangible impact on your growth.

17. Getting distracted by shiny new things

You've got to work to shut down constant distractions to execute your plan. If a new opportunity looks like it will be beneficial to achieving your goals, assess if it's worth replacing something else on your list before investing time in it.

Ditch the bad habits that are holding you back so you can grow your business.

Choose one habit above to eliminate. Then focus on another. Eventually, you'll see a positive impact on your results.

Published on: Jan 4, 2017