How to Avoid Complacency

How to Avoid Complacency by TheSunnyShadow.comComplacency is a dangerous way to live life, yet so many of us find ourselves stuck there. Complacency is a choice we make to stay where we are, to not move forward, to not grow, to put our heads in the sand, to rest on our laurels, to simply maintain what we’ve already accomplished, have, or need to do to get by. We’re also choosing to ignore the dangerous consequences of doing so. While our heads are in the sand life goes on, problems mount, and opportunities are lost. We’re wasting our precious lives. Why do we do this?

Complacency is easy.

It’s often fear and apathy induced, and chosen as an easy way out. The problem is, complacency is not a way out at all. We’re just in hiding. All of our problems are still there when we decide to come out. They’re just a lot worse; to what degree is dependent on how long we stay stuck. If we’re lucky, nothing too important falls apart while we’re M.I.A. That’s what is dangerous about complacency, we fail to see the big picture and its dangerous consequences.

Everyday do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.” ~Doug Firebaugh

The First Step

I don’t think it’s fair to talk about complacency without also considering procrastination. Procrastination keeps us from taking the most important step of all, the dreaded and difficult first step. The first step is what moves us out of complacency. Starting is the hardest part but we have to find a way to take this first step. This step can be an itty, bitty, little, tiny one; as long as it’s taken. Once taken, do a small victory dance and then take another! Even if it’s as small or smaller than the first. We must keep inching forward, no matter how slowly, and even if we’re crawling.

Once we begin taking these tiny steps, something wonderful evolves. These little steps add-up over time, turning into tangible results. These mini victories build confidence, which gives us momentum, which leads to us taking bigger steps! But in order for this to happen, we have to start. Just one little, tiny step will do — for today.


(signs of complacency)

Boredom and disinterest, apathy, resistance to change, everything feels like a chore, {being neglectful} neglecting basic and routine chores or self-care, feelings of not being challenged enough, accepting less from yourself, becoming numb or desensitized.


  1. Adopt a Self-Growth Mentality: A self-growth mentality keeps us open to continual learning and possibilities. It keeps us open to others, our surroundings and new experiences. When we adopt this mentality, we’re less likely to miss out on opportunities. A self-growth mentality is about being the best version of you that you can be, it’s not about competing with anyone else.
    • Ask yourself this question: “How will I feel if I’m in this exact same position a year from now?”
  2. Set Goals and Periodically Check-in: Set short term and long term goals for yourself. Then every few months check-in with yourself to see how much closer you’ve gotten to achieving them. Are you still on the right path or have you fallen off track a bit? What do you need to do to get back on track?
    • Ask yourself this question: “What is one thing I can do today that will move me closer to achieving my goal(s)?”
  3. Stop Taking Life for Granted: Life is short! When we’re complacent it’s almost as if we feel as though we’re going to live forever, at least that’s the way we act. We put off things that will improve our quality of life and increase our joy. There won’t always be tomorrow! Be sure to regularly practice gratitude.
    • Ask yourself this question: “What am I grateful for today?”
  4. Reward Yourself for Mini Victories {& Big Ones Too!}: It’s proven that rewards motivate behavior. So why not help ourselves out with a little reward.
    • Ask yourself this question: “What did I do well today?”

How do you avoid complacency?

Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer :: Blogger & Creator of The Sunny Shadow


  1. Lately I am the Queen of complacency. I’m off work till next week and I had promised myself that I would do things like back up my hard drive and organize my pictures, and you guessed it, the hard drive is still in the box. I think this post was the kicking the butt I needed. Actually Krista you’re always the kick in the butt I need. Whenever I read one of your posts, I’m always thinking, “I want to be like her.” You’re my blogging, mental health advocate hero.

    1. HA! You’re so funny. I’ll just let you continue to imagine that I’m all perfect-ish... Just because I know what I should be doing doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m always doing it! A lot of the time I’m trying to motivate myself as much as anyone who happens to read what I write. I can assure you, you don’t want to be like Krista. Lol. That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long time. Thanks for the laugh! But you always make me laugh!

      Thanks for visiting, commenting, and sharing!!! You’re the best! -Krista

  2. This is kind of where I am. Our chore system and homeschooling works for us, but I feel like we could be doing better. Lately I’ve been mulling a lot of it over in my head. One day soon (we’ve all been taking turns being sick this week so nothing happened this week) I’m going to sit down with my children and talk about the new system that I’ve got perking in my head. Then we’ll write it all down and put it up on the wall where we can all be reminded. I’ve found that just shaking up routine feels fresh and gives us a new excitement for old chores.

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