01/01/2016 17:49 GMT | Updated 31/12/2016 05:12 GMT

Are Your 'Closest Circle' Impeding Your Progress?

Whether young or old; male or female; rich or poor; the new calendar year is upon us all and represents a fresh opportunity for change for many. Although, psychologically, change can occur at any moment on any given day of the year, you cannot deny that people ooze positivity at this time of year. It's intoxicating and you should ride that wave of optimism for as long as possible.

However, reality dictates that some surfing will be short-lived. Those that sabotage your progress don't take time off just because the clock announced the beginning of a new year. Also, when those saboteurs are people you love, respect and admire; family members, friends, colleagues and associates, the emotional connections can make the task of removing them nigh on impossible.


However, unless you plan to accept these circumstances, it is essential to limit time in the presence of certain types of individual and minimise their influence immediately. If you have real plans for progress in the New Year these seven should be a priority.

1) The Constantly Judgemental - everything you do is never good enough. Their interpretation of your experiences and values is condescending. They belittle your achievements and your attempts at self-improvement. They possess a 'yardstick' to measure every aspect of your life. They take pleasure in the fact that you seek validation in the face of their 'superiority'. But guess what, you don't live for their approval. You should live for you! So they, and their yardstick, have got to go.

2) The Dementors - I cannot take credit for this one, (that goes to JK Rowling and an article I read recently whilst writing this piece), but it hits home perfectly. Dementors suck the positive energy out of you, filling your environment with negativity, quickly turning atmosphere grey. Dementors want you to feel alone and broken by destroying your hope and optimism until you mirror their negativity. Solely for this they have got to go.

3) The Old Trees - Their roots run deep, priding themselves on 'never changing'. They maintain inflexible and stubborn attitudes even in the face of evidence to the contrary. This may be fine for them. However, it's a problem if they knowingly suppress your growth by projecting their viewpoints onto you. It's selfish. They can choose to stay physically, mentally and emotionally rigid, that's their prerogative. However, if progress is what you desire you may have to stop visiting these woods.

4) The Chatty Patty's - Chatty Patty's love to discuss your misfortunes and your life's poor decisions. It's the highlight of their social interaction. Of course, we all discuss things that happen in our environments, however, if you're surrounded by people who SEEK this out it's a problem. Nothing positive comes from being around people who revel in the pain or embarrassment of others. Say goodbye to the Chatty Patty's.

5) The Emotionally Unpredictable - being ruled by their emotions they lack control of their behaviour and the characteristics required for stability. They behave impulsively dragging you into the mire regardless of whether the results are positive or negative. They rarely think before they act and their decision often result in others being hurt. The worst is when they blame you; failing to take responsibility for not being able to control their own emotions and behaviour. Yes, it's definitely time for them to.

6) The Unfortunate Victim - Some people undoubtedly have had horrible lives and unfulfilled dreams. Bad luck seems to follows them and you'd be a cruel person not to empathise with their experiences. But the unfortunate victim can quickly turn into a dementor; projecting their misery into your every interaction. When are they going to do something to either change their present and/or live with their experiences? We cannot change the past, but we can affect the future. If they continue to play the victim around you, both your futures will consist of looking at the past. That is not the road to progress and unfortunately, you may have to leave them behind.

7) The 'Haters' - An often used phrase nowadays, but some people actually want you to fail. They derive no pleasure from watching you or others' succeed or gain happiness; some even take it as a personal insult. They may actively plot to sabotage and destroy things in your career, relationships or personal plans. They justify or validate this negativity with warped logic which drives them on further. Some even suggest it's your fault that they act like this. Definitely limit contact and interaction with these people.

This list could go on and on, but you get the gist. Positivity breeds positivity; negativity breeds negativity both types of thinking can become a habit; many psychologists attest to this. However, negative thinkers want you caught in the same web as them.

At some point, you have to make a decision. This is not suggesting that you have to cut all people off completely, but maybe you may need to keep some at arms' length if their journey doesn't match yours. Last night a friend told me, 'you're not growing unless you lose some close people around you'. You'll never know until you lose some.