How to Stop Self-Sabotage
Today we’re going to dive into the most frustrating, hair-pulling thing we all are guilty of: sabotaging ourselves. Self-sabotaging can feel like it’s hard-wired in you. That you’re just a procrastinator, you’re just not smart enough, that’s just how you are, right?
How many times have you lied to yourself by saying that? When these false beliefs are embedded in us so much, it can feel like trying to unravel them is next to impossible.
No one is born with a sticker on their that says, “Will make excuses about everything.” This type of thinking can be reversed but we’re going to have to do plenty of focus work and unraveling habits. Today, we’re going to undo these and look at the real reason why you’re sabotaging your success and your future.
Welcome back to those of you who are crossing off your goals and gearing up for a new post! If you’re new here, hello and welcome! I’m so glad you’re here and I hope you’re ready to transform your everyday into the authentic, amazing life that you deserve!
All of the articles here are friendly for all lifestyles. Yes, even you! Each article help you identify those trouble areas holding you back and gives you real life solutions with no fluff, no woo-woo. I’m here for you to feel your best, at whatever part of your journey you’re in.
The Why Behind the Self-Sabotage
This is the question I get asked so many times, “why am I doing this? Why am I sabotaging my happiness?” This answer involves a lot of layers depending on how you interact with the world around you. But each has one common denominator.
Sometimes you’re working on the wrong problem first. You can spend a lot of time creating systems to manage time and tasks, only to find that it is constantly sabotaged and, ultimately, ends up failing. Why?
Usually we’re trying to meet a personal need or uphold an unspoken value that is hiding under the surface. Something that we’re not able to share or we end up guarding it by sticking our heads in the sand. We know why we do it, but we just don’t acknowledge it because that’s what we’ve always done.
If there’s a lot of doubt or negativity surrounding a goal, our end result will be the effect of self-sabotage. We doubted that goal would ever happen, so we thought about the ways it would sputter out and fail.
Sometimes, we’d rather quit or delay then follow through towards that goal. Again, going back to that feeling of self-worth and self-esteem of not feeling enough. We didn’t deserve that goal in the first place, so we may as well quit, right?
And then there are those of us who stop setting those goals because we know that we have the habit of self-sabotaging ourselves. We’d rather just not even go through the pain of setting, sabotaging, and back to status-quo.
The Common Denominator of Self-Sabotaging Actions
The common denominator behind why you’re self-sabotaging yourself is because of your brain’s unchecked reaction to change. When your brain is on auto-pilot without being checked on and acknowledged, it goes into a natural defense and suspicion.
Your brain wants to keep you safe. It has the best intentions but can run us into the ground if we’re not aware and conscious of what our thoughts are doing. When we’re unaware of how our brains and bodies work, we begin to let those thoughts go out of control.
Within this out-of-control thinking we begin to cue those self-sabotaging actions. We hear our wild-thoughts that we’re not acknowledging, and we begin to believe them.
Not only do we begin to think, “maybe this voice is right” but we begin to make it real. When that’s the only narrative we’re telling ourselves and we don’t acknowledge it, we’ll begin to steer ourselves towards what that thought is leading us towards.
We begin to fulfill those out of control thoughts by making that discomfort of whatever we fear become way bigger than our goals and intentions.
We’re hard-wired to seek immediate comfort. When there’s change, that homeostasis of comfort is disrupted. We begin to feel that discomfort from that shift, and our brain goes wild from it. Your brain does not like change, and that will always be a constant, common denominator.
Even when we know that our change would make us a better person or happier, our brain will always choose to remain the same for the sake of comfort.
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Clarifying & Repairing
So, how do we change this? How do we begin to accept this discomfort and move towards what we want in our lives? Let’s start with a few clarifying questions to start our focus work.
Whenever you’re doing repair work on habits and rewiring your mindset, take it out of the work zone and make it real. Grab your journal or open a document to start. Bringing it into real life also allows you to look back and see your progress. Without having to rely on recalling what you thought or what was done.
When you've tried to make progress towards your goals in the past, what got in the way?
Describe what brought your intentions and goals to a halt or maybe made it more difficult. I encourage you to write out a few examples of this to see if there’s one common denominator or if it’s several. Knowing this will help you dissect where your repair work will need to be focused.
If you've found it hard to make progress in your goal, what do you gain from not changing?
Let’s dive into what happened after the self-sabotage stated to rear its head. When you hit that snag, why didn’t you find a way to work around it? What felt/sounded better in that moment?
As we talked about, the carrot on the stick will always be comfort. Your brain will always crave comfort and want to keep you where it knows it’s comfortable. Change and the unknown is not comfortable, and therefore we can get tricked into staying the same.
Some people have similar carrots that they’re drawn to, while others it depends on what their goals were. Knowing what pulled you off of your path and why is a great way to start working one where you need help.
What belief is behind your responses? How well is that belief serving you?
Important question of… ever! And this will always be a great question to ask yourself for anything you encounter in your life. Whether it’s good or bad, these questions are a gauge that tell you if you need to tweak your journey or you’re on the path you set out for.
With self-sabotage, it becomes so ingrained in us that we begin to go into auto-pilot if we’re not aware and repairing this process before it starts. With your answers, let’s take a look at how we can begin a journey away from self-sabotage and what we can do to kick this habit.
Acknowledging Your Thoughts
Let’s look at this from a different view. Say you are roommates with someone who always gives their unwanted, negative opinion. Learning to cook something from scratch? Imagine this roommate sneaking up and telling you how horrible you’re doing and that you should just give up. It’s never going to work.
You would probably talk to that person, right? Try to acknowledge their concerns, even if they’re negative, and move on with a compromise of some sorts.
So, why allow your thoughts to go on while you’re silent?
Acknowledging your thoughts can be a daunting task, at first, especially if you’ve never done it before. It takes time to bring those thoughts to light and really see what we’re thinking.
When you acknowledge those subconscious thoughts, it doesn’t mean believing them. Just knowing they’re there, and that they’re heard is one of the first steps in curbing your self-sabotaging habits.
Knowing that there’s always this subconscious negativity will help you to navigate around those thoughts and focus on what your true intention is.
Repairing the Thought Process
It takes the acknowledgement of those negative thoughts, but it also takes repair work to truly change that process.
When you challenge these thoughts and replace them with what better serves you, this is when you’ll start to make progress towards your goals and intentions.
With all of the articles here, you’ll notice there are clarifying and repair questions & reflections for each subject. This subject is no different and I’d like to go over a question that will help start the repair process.
For the 3rd question, what belief is behind your response, look over your answer and ask yourself: Is this something that I want, is this belief good for me and my future? If the answer is no, this should be the thought you begin your repair work on first.
We ruminate negative thoughts all day long if we’re not acknowledging them, and we’re not replacing them with a thought that helps and serves us.
Starting this process begins with dissecting this thought. Where does it stem from? What circumstances is this thought pulling from?
Motivation & Support
Anytime we’re working on ourselves, it’s important to have that support group where we can talk openly about our milestones. Even more important is to have that support group where we can talk through our obstacles.
Having an accountability partner or a coach is one way to follow through with your intentions and goals. Being upfront with them and telling them that you’re prone to self-sabotaging will be a major help in knowing what to follow up with.
However, the majority of the reparative work comes from having a deep sense of motivation within yourself. Motivation to want to change this self-sabotaging action and move towards a better future for yourself. I’ve dedicated a whole article on motivation just because of how important it is to any type of progress towards any type of goal.
If you’re looking for more growth and development in your personal and work life, check out the Personal Growth hub. This page contains everything you need to nurture and grow into the person I know you can be!
In the comments below, let's talk about what type of self-sabotage affects you the most. Let’s start the discussion to help other’s who are going through the same!
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