Self-sabotage is damaging, ruinous and a waste of your precious time and effort.
Obvious? Uncomfortable? Blunt? Yes – but also important truths. I don’t believe in prettying things up so they make for cushy reading when it comes to self-sabotage; sometimes we need to hear the simple facts of the matter so here goes (with my love, of course)…
Rachael’s recent blog about self-sabotage makes extremely good points about how we can be aware of managing our capacity for tripping ourselves up and ensuring we don’t meet our own goals. Here I offer my top tips for practically, realistically and consistently smashing self-sabotage before it really takes hold.
1. Know your goal inside out
I mean, really know your goal. What is it exactly? When will you achieve it? How will it FEEL when you’ve reached it? What will be different about you / your life / your relationships and friendships / the decisions you make / how you think of yourself and who you are….? Write down your goal and the answers to all of these questions to help focus you on what you want to achieve and as Rachael says…WHY.
Writing this down is an important act for your subconscious mind. It further cements the details and the beliefs/feelings that are important. Of course you don’t need to have pen and paper – use whatever media you prefer (for me it’s usually journaling, but I’ve also used Pinterest, Notes on my phone, and even spreadsheets – wtf??). The point is, write it down in a way that helps the words flow and be honest with yourself.
Once you really know your goal, stick up reminders in places that you look at several times a day – your fridge, the bathroom mirror, have an inspiring image as a screensaver – anything that helps your conscious and subconscious brain keep in mind where you’re headed.
2. Get real
Be honest with yourself – if you go off track or make decisions that aren’t exactly in keeping with your intended behaviour, don’t justify it by telling lies to yourself such as:
“It doesn’t matter” YES, it does. Re-read your goal and why you want to achieve it.
“It’s too hard” If it’s really too hard then adjust; don’t just undo every effort you’ve made so far
“I can’t do it” Utter rubbish. OF COURSE you can do it. Right now, you just don’t want to but that does not mean you can’t.
“Well I’ve already blown it so I might as well give up completely” NO, NO, NO! This is so illogical.
Most of these common thoughts are driven by fear. It’s very important we understand the impact that fear has on our ability to move forward. Fear is designed to keep us safe, so we will naturally feel uncomfortable when trying something new, or indeed making changes in any way. Sometimes the benefits of those changes are felt very quickly in a positive way, so we don’t engage with fear. Other times though, when we’re finding change tough or feeling challenged by different feelings, thoughts or behaviours, fear is too easy to tap into. And get this – fear can very easily persuade us we don’t want to achieve our goals because success is scary too! So… if some of these statements are familiar to you I recommend you revisit your goal and particularly the feelings you have already recorded you will experience when you are successful. Immerse yourself in them, visualise the impact; but don’t bathe in the negative feelings that are blocking your way.
3. Know that consistency matters (not perfection)
This one’s simple - and Rachael talks about the 80/20 method in her previous post which is really helpful. No one is perfect; no one gets it right all of the time; no one smashes their goals the minute they set them. Real life is where we’re at here – if you fall off the wagon / make a mistake / choose unwisely or do anything that directly conflicts with your overall goal DON’T CATASTROPHISE IT! What I mean is be realistic about the impact that one day off or one unhelpful choice will actually have on achieving your goal – you won’t be back to square one and you CAN do this. No definition of consistency that I’ve ever come across includes the word ‘perfect’.
4. Be compassionate with yourself
Imagine your best friend is telling you they were thinking of giving up on their goal because it’s too hard / they’ve messed up / they just can’t do it. What would you say to them, knowing how much they want it? You wouldn’t say “Yeah…. forget it; shit idea, you’ll never make it anyway”. (NB if you would say this you might find yourself without many best friends in long run, just saying). We do not have to get into the negative self-talk and sense of disappointment in ourselves; no way. Instead we need to be kind to ourselves and nurture, nourish and think compassionately when striving to meet our goals. We can use any challenge as a way of learning how do change something, get extra support, or adjust our way of approaching what we want.
5. Finally - Celebrate your successes (ALL of them)
Ah yes, that thing we pay lip service to but often neglect. It’s SO important to reflect on how far you’ve come and realise what you’ve achieved at every step along the way. I suggest here that you journal in some way as an exercise in really acknowledging what you’re doing well. I use a pen and paper for this, but as above you choose whatever method works for you. Furthermore, you need to know what you’re going to DO to celebrate your wins – treat yourself in some way to show yourself just how much you’ve achieved.
So that’s it. Simple tips to help you smash self-sabotage. Not rocket science, not unrealistic, not anything that you can’t do. I hope they help and that you achieve your goals with nobs on. Absolutely no reason why self-sabotage should stop you. Honestly.
Alison is a busy life coach who works with anyone who feels ‘stuck’ and wants to make a change. She is passionate about people having a sense of balance in life and believes that we can all make simple changes that help us achieve what we really want. For more information please get in touch on 07884 434974 or email@example.com