So I want you to reflect back on the last time you self-sabotaged. Did it seem pretty innocent and as if it was completely out of your control? Do you find yourself questioning “Why do I always sabotage myself?”
Trust me, I get it. For example, me writing this blog post. It was scheduled to be written last Monday, then I bumped it to Wednesday, and finally to today. Why did I keep doing this to myself? I know it needs to get done but I just couldn’t get myself to write it when I had planned to do it and now I’ve allowed my workload to pile up higher than I’d like before I head out of town on a 14-day holiday next week. Oye!
It can often seem like when we self-sabotage, it’s just the circumstance. Just something that you are just at the effect of…something you have no control over. That self-sabotage is something that is just happening to us. But I want you to look at it a little bit differently. Self-sabotaging is actually a choice. It’s an action that is a result of how we are feeling and the thoughts that create that feeling. So with my example of writing this blog post, I was feeling reluctant and my thought creating this reluctance was, “No one is probably even going to read this, so why should I bother when I have other more urgent things to do.” So basically, in order to avoid the discomfort I was feeling with creating new content for my blog, I buffered and did other things because the short-term payoff (relief from the discomfort) ranked higher than the long-term payoff (creating content that my clients will appreciate and will also build credibility to my life-coaching skills).
When you self-sabotage, it means you are taking actions that block your success or prevent you from accomplishing your goals. Self-sabotaging behaviors lead you away from your deepest desires…you know, the hard stuff that you want so badly, but you are often scared to go after.
So what are some forms of self-sabotage? It can often look like overthinking, perfectionism, avoiding your problems, procrastinating, shutting down emotionally, not showing up, and quitting ahead of time. Basically, anything and everything that halts you from making progress toward your goals.
It may seem innocent – “I don’t feel like doing this today.” But that is your primitive brain acting out. It doesn’t like things that it thinks are dangerous so it will do whatever it can to keep you safe – and that may mean keeping you from the “big goal” tasks you have on your schedule to do today. It’s trying to shut down the prefrontal cortex part of your brain – the creative part of your brain where you do all of your problem-solving. It’s the part of the brain that helps you evolve into that future version of yourself that you desire to be. Many of us will even stop setting goals for ourselves because we think we are just going to fail – we self-sabotage by failing ahead of time. But one thing that is very important to note is that
“Your extraordinary life is on the other side of uncomfortable.”
So how can you do you stop self-sabotage? Here are some of my best tips:
1. Become aware of what you are thinking.
If you are resisting a task, notice your thoughts about it. Often times we don’t even want to think about it. But if you take a moment to ask yourself, “Why am I avoiding this task?” or “Why do I keep choosing this type of partner?”, you will likely uncover some juicy info! And then once you figure out what you are thinking, ask yourself, “Is this thought even true?” and “What if the opposite were true?” With practice, you’ll start to realize that your thoughts don’t always equate to facts and you have the option to pick + choose the thoughts that will help lead you to exponential growth.
2. Notice your belief systems.
If you find yourself believing that “You’re a hot mess.” or “Not good at finding love” or “Never on time”, you’re going to seek to prove yourself true. We, humans, like to be correct (even if it’s something we don’t want to be correct about – like, “I can’t lose weight”.) So when something comes up that challenges you into that future version of yourself, you’re going to resist + push back because you want to prove that your belief system is right. Becoming aware of this is so key! You want to learn how to break out of these patterns to stick with your same old behaviors.
3. Create a plan for your buffering + urges.
So now that you are aware of your thoughts + belief systems, you want to create a plan for what to do when you have those urges to procrastinate or avoid the task at hand (or whatever your self-sabotaging actions are). As I mentioned earlier, you are sabotaging because you feel a certain way, so learning to process those emotions vs avoiding them. Life isn’t always going to be easy or rainbows + butterflies. We need to plan for the discomfort, process it, and continue forward. Most of us want to escape the discomfort that comes with going after our goals, but it is part of the process and I promise there will be some of that “good dopamine” feelings on the other side of the discomfort.
4. Learn to love incremental improvements.
No need to look at the Whole Big Picture all of the time. Instead, break your big goals down into quarterly, then monthly, then weekly, then daily goals, and focus first on those smaller goals in front of you. Then focus more on the gain vs the gap. Pay attention to how far you’ve come vs how far you have to go.
5. Schedule time for reflection.
Take some time to journal (I prefer first thing in the morning before all the different inputs of the day start to clog my brain and after I’ve had the night to work through some of it in my dreams). Journaling is a great way to clear the clutter that’s up in your head – to work through the thoughts that are bogging you down and to start the day feeling clear on your direction.
6. The sooner you get it done, the less time you have to spend anxiously thinking about it.
Do you want to deal with the short-term discomfort of doing something that is outside of your comfort zone now, or would you rather deal with the long-term discomfort of it nagging you in the back of your mind always? You may feel immediate relief when you buffer with something else (ie, watching TV vs doing that task on your list), but then that task is still there on that list and you still feel discomfort after you finish buffering. Procrastinating doesn’t prevent discomfort, it just prolongs it and delegates it to some future moment.
If you can eliminate self-sabotage from your life, and I do believe you can, you will drastically change the speed at which you accomplish your biggest goals. If you could give up procrastinating, buffering, not showing up, and quitting, can you imagine what you’d create with your life? You might think that you’re going to be dealing with more discomfort (doing these things that scare you), but if you can embrace the momentary short-term discomfort, I promise you there will be less of the long-term discomfort. You won’t be prolonging it, you will be getting shit done and moving on. And growing into the person you’ve always dreamed of being. Do it even though you don’t feel like doing it. Do it even though you’re uncomfortable doing it. Do it because your success is on the other side of that discomfort.
Are you interested in learning more about how you can stop self-sabotaging?
Sign up for a FREE phone consultation with me, your personal certified life coach, and we will chat more about how 1:1 coaching will help you to learn the steps to to eliminate self-sabotage so you can achieve your big dreams and goals in you life.
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