The Complacency Trap

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion for reaching for the stars to change the world.

– Harriet Tubman

When you want to change something in your life, you will often do whatever it takes. Whether its internal growth or external rearrangements, you’ll change what you want depending on the value you place on it.

But there’s this thing called complacency which sneaks up on you quietly and gradually.

It sometimes goes unnoticed and could easily get disguised as contentment. It’s what makes you question if you really need that change in your life. You question, do I really want to go through the process? Will it really improve my life?

Complacency leads you to believe that you can sit back and relax, that “you’re fine,” and that you have more than enough time to catch up to your goals and get responsible for life later.

The thing is, what you sow now, you’ll reap later. Little things lead to big things.

What you justify and allow into your life now, especially when your gut says don’t, will lead you to the ultimate place of mediocrity. And mediocrity is a hard swamp to get out of.

It’s where you’re uninspired, often bored, and completely satisfied with how things are, not at all wanting to make them better to improve your lifestyle. You like the idea of improvement, but there’s little to no motivation to implement change.

It’s the complacency trap.

Time To Shake Things Up!

People who get complacent forget that they have the strength, patience, and passion for their dreams and goals in life. They lose sight of their values, which results in feelings of purposelessness, no direction, and even less motivation. They submit and settle into mediocrity, and convince themselves that they’re okay with it. A scary thought.

Benjamin Hardy puts it this way,

When you justify and allow even little things into your life which your intuition warns you against, you permit a virus to enter your life. It spreads to other areas.

Mediocrity and complacency are like a virus, and you’ve got to strengthen your immune system from allowing it to enter. You have to obliterate it from your whole life and guard against it at all costs. The best way to do that is to shake things up. Shake yourself out of it and back into the reality of who you are!

Like Ms. Tubman’s quote, you have the strength, patience, and passion in you to reach the stars and change the world. But you have to bring those things out. Cultivate, practice, and display them, because the complacency trap is not worth your time.

Shake things up by reassessing your values. When you understand what they are, it will be easier to do the rest. You’ll readjust the trajectory of your progress and success.

Your routines will reflect your goals; your goals will support your desires; and your desires will reflect your values.

1. Upgrade Your Desires to Reflect Your Values

The first step of evolution is to stop desiring the things that are stopping you from evolving. Your life and your environment are a reflection of your desires. When your desires truly change, you will adapt your environment to match your new desires.

Benjamin Hardy

Understand what your values are to upgrade your desires.

Complacency is false contentment which will blur your vision.

Write phrases and principles that will help you remember to live by your values.

If you want to get a promotion, write about what it will take to be an excellent employee. If you want to have an amazing marriage, write about what it will take to be an amazing spouse. The things your write down will help you narrow down your values.

What will it take for you? Honesty, integrity, intentionality? Make those your values.

A lot of us like the idea of having good values, but we’re not really living up to them because our vision got blurred by mediocrity. We don’t truly want them because the value we placed on them is too low.

For example, when someone is complacent in their health, they don’t truly value health. They like the idea of it, but aren’t willing to change or give up their unhealthy ways. Until they value health, they cannot upgrade their desires to reflect that. Once they value it, they will desire to eat healthy, to exercise, and to invest in their wellbeing. Despite how hard or uncomfortable it might be, they will truly desire it, all because they placed value there.

Every value has a ‘why’ behind it. When you value something, it’s because it’s worth something to you. You won’t necessarily desire it all the time, but because you value it, you’ll be convicted enough to do what’s better for you.

Here’s my first challenge to you: write your values in a visible place where you’ll constantly see them (a sticky note on your bathroom mirror, your phone, etc.) and make it catchy. Practice asking yourself before doing anything, especially when near the complacency trap, if it aligns with your value and ultimately, your ‘why.’

2. Upgrade Your Goals To Reflect Your Desires

Now that you’ve adjusted your desires, upgrade your goals.

Get specific to the date. To stay out of the trap, you must create a game plan in baby steps to achieve those goals. Think of it this way: what’s the one thing that will get you where you want to be? Today, this week, this month, and this year?

So often we set goals and write or talk about our plans and feel successful just for doing that, when in reality, you didn’t even do anything yet. You’ve got to take action to get closer to those goals. Write them down and then do the ONE thing today/this week/this month to get closer. What will it be?

Words are weak, actions are not.

Back to the health example: someone who truly values health will truly start desiring to eat healthily.

Let’s call this person Ali.

Ali placed a high value on health because her why was convincing. This made her upgrade her desire. Her desire motivated her to set a goal to exercise weekly and make eating healthy “normal.” This goal supports her desires, which reflects her values.

Not only does she set goals, but she set a daily reminder on her phone with a catchy phrase to represent her value: “Eat junk, feel like junk. Eat good, feel good.” Her goals support her desires, and her desires reflect her values. And to help her stay focused, she shares these with a trustworthy friend who will check in and keep her accountable.

That’s challenge #2: once your values are in place, upgrade your goals to reflect your new desires. Write the one thing that will help you get closer to achieving your goals, and share them with an accountability partner, someone you trust and know has high values as well.

3. Upgrade Your Routine To Reflect Your Goals

Take one step in the right direction. Then do it again. Productivity and success are not complicated. Success is taking 20 steps in one direction rather than one step in 20 directions.

Benjamin Hardy

With new goals in place and that one thing at the forefront of your mind, you can now change up, or shake up, I should say, your routines.

Your routines can no longer be mediocre. If you allow that in, you’re welcoming complacency. It all starts out with just a little. And the little things lead to big things.

In Ali’s case, her goal is to exercise and make eating healthy “normal.” So her next step is to create a routine which supports this lifestyle. Her new routine is integrated with her goal: to exercise 3 times a week and journal her progress, and to plan her meals so that when she’s tempted for junk food, she knows she has something set in place.

She sets herself up by committing to this new routine. Instead of watching tv after work, she goes outside for a light jog. Because of her exercising, she realizes she needs more rest, so she goes to bed an hour earlier. Hence, developing and upgrading her routine to reflect her goals.

This eventually trickles into other areas of life which make her reexamine her values. Her standards and values are now higher, her desires are more clear, her goals make more sense, and her routine reflects her lifestyle. Not only that, but her vision and purpose for life expands overall.

Your routines will reflect your goals; your goals will support your desires; and your desires will reflect your values.

The trick is to understand what you value and why.

Challenge #3: Commit to consistency. Take one step at a time. Like Ben’s quote, productivity and success are not complicated. Know what you value and the rest will be easy to upgrade.


If this post struck a nerve, make today the day you shake things up. Make your life reflect the things you truly value.

Write your values in a visible place, a place where you can constantly see them. Share your desires and goals with an accountability partner. And commit to consistency.

Remove anything and everything from your life that contradicts your highest values.

When you upgrade your desires to reflect your values, it will be easier to upgrade your goals and routines to reflect this lifestyle you want to live. You won’t become robotic and stiff because the way you live reflects what’s inside. Those values bring you life and energize you.

What you sow, you’ll reap. If you want to lead a non-complacent, inspired, and motivating life, establish a set of values to reflect that. Those values are like seeds you sow.

Like Harriet Tubman said, you have within you the strength, patience, and passion for reaching the stars to change the world. The question is, will you use it?

Leave a comment below: what are some of your values?

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