It’s 5am – you promised yourself you’d get up to start that new exercise regime. Make a smoothie. Hit the gym. Remember that? Instead you press snooze once, twice, and then shut the alarm off completely.
It’s 9pm – oops, you just remembered that you forgot about the new mindfulness mediation you were going to start doing. Instead, you decide you’ll start that whole thing tomorrow. Hello Hulu!
It’s Saturday night – You were going to call you friend and see if she wanted to go out on tonight. Call her now? She’s probably busy, right? Instead, you decide to call her next week.
Perhaps you are genuinely tired or you genuinely forgot. But more often than not, you can chalk up thoughts and actions like these above examples to self-sabotage. I know… You don’t want to call it that. Self-sabotaging sounds so insidious. Certainly, that is somebody else’s issue – not yours, right? Rest assured, you are not alone. It is not unusual for all of us, at one point or another, to get in our own way.
Self-sabotaging behaviors are ones that hamper our own success. You say you want something and then actively set about making sure it won’t happen. Some of the more common self-sabotaging behaviors include procrastination, self-medication with drugs/alcohol, over Facebooking, comfort eating, or even putting off setting any self-growth goals. Self-sabotage can be overt, glaring behaviors or subtle, seemingly unconscious comments of our self-critic.
We want to be fit, to be healthy, to be calm, and to have new social circles but we stop ourselves from actually reaching those goals. Are we crazy? Nope, we’re human. These brains of ours are fascinating and amazing. But they are lazy and are true creatures of habit. Change is hard and takes a lot of energy. Our brains don’t really dig that – and thus…we sabotage our own success. Not because we don’t want to be successful but because the discomfort of change makes our brain decide to throw in towel.
You can overcome. Friend, you can thrive!
Here is a two-step process that can help you move from self-limiting to self-motivating:
Say hello to self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors.
Bring your awareness to your behaviors. With a sense of curiosity, rather than judgement, blame, or shame – practice metacognition. Metacognition is defined as thinking about your thinking. Often our thoughts are like air traffic controls. They are unseen and unheard but they control the flow and safety of the sky. Your thoughts lead you to emotions and emotions lead to actions. Unchecked thoughts, like an unchecked air traffic controller, can take your life in an undesirable direction.
Shine a light on your thinking! When do you think thoughts that move you towards action? When do you have self-sabotaging thoughts like, this is as good as it will get, or If only (fill in the blank)…..If only I was thinner, bigger, more rested, in a different town, it wasn’t raining, I’d slept better last night, my partner supported me more, work was more flexible, etc. What is your most frequent self-limiting thought and/or behavior (mine is that damn snooze button!). Once you’ve begun to see self-sabotage – name it. Literally, say to yourself – This (thought/behavior/statement) is self-sabotage.
Choose your discomfort.
Self-Sabotage often and quite quickly leaves you with feelings of stagnation. I hear clients talk about how they no longer feel motivated, stimulated, challenged. This is discomfort. Also, creating change in thought, emotional state, and action is discomfort. Change is hard. When you have the best intentions to make progress towards your goals and self-sabotaging thoughts arise, ask yourself – What discomfort do I choose?
Do you choose the discomfort of stagnation? OR…Do you choose the discomfort of change? Both are uncomfortable. Stagnation discomfort can be temporarily sidelined by false pleasures like seven more minutes of sleep, the sugar-laden donut, the cigarette, the one night of Netflix binging. But (big ole’ but here) the discomfort of stagnation returns and now has a new friend to drag along – guilt.
The discomfort of change – getting up early, going for a walk, saying hello to the neighbor, stating your goal out loud – is a tall glass of discomfort with a shot of forward momentum as the chaser. Progress begets progress.
Set your goals and begin to make steady progress towards them by putting an end to your self-sabotaging behaviors. Return to your personal power by saying hello to self-limiting thinking and by choosing your discomfort. Will you choose to stagnate or will you choose to grow?
Want help? Life Coaching is transformational.
Contact Tiffany at Evolutionary Consulting to learn more coaching packages that can be done in person or over the phone. It’s more accessible and affordable than you think.