Do you self-sabotage?

By Donna J Davis | Mindfulness

So you set an intention to improve some part of your life. For just a moment, think of that. Maybe you want to lose weight, reduce stress and conflict, or earn more money. You are excited and make progress. Then all of a sudden there seems to be this wall and it seems all the progress has stopped. Or worse yet, you seem to be going backwards!

Many of us sabotage ourselves by doing everything we can to ensure we don’t get it. That may sound strange, and yet familiar at the same time. Although self-sabotage is a subconscious behavior, it is possible to see what’s happening so you can make some changes.

There are many reasons that you might sabotage yourself. It’s an extremely common behavior, and many times it is rooted in a fear of the unknown. For example, if you have a mediocre job, the idea of a huge promotion or starting your own business may be frightening.

Our bodies are always trying in some way to keep us safe and the unknown is always…well, unknown. So it’s scary to take that step into the unknown.

The same thing applies if you are wanting to lose weight, increase your energy, or change some unhealthy food or lifestyle habits. We are creatures of habit and the way we’ve always done things is comfortable. Moving into a new state, even if it is much healthier for us, can bring up all that uncertainty, i.e., will my partner accept the new me, will my friends encourage my new way of eating.

Why you might self-sabotage

–You might self-sabotage because you have a need to be in control of your circumstances.

The easiest and most certain way to stay in control is to maintain the status quo. If you put your all into something, you run the risk of becoming vulnerable. Fear gets the best of you and you self-sabotage.

–Low self-esteem.

Do you feel unworthy of greatness?  For whatever reason, you may have decided that happiness ought to be forever beyond your reach. This is a self-limiting idea, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Perhaps you undermine your efforts because you’re seeking excitement. You feel the need to remain in a constant state of turmoil to distract yourself from painful memories or alleviate boredom.

If you see yourself in any of these descriptions, becoming aware of what’s happening is the beginning to conquering these self-limiting behaviors. There are steps you can take to put yourself on the path toward self-mastery.

How to defeat your self-sabotage

–Observe your behavior.
First off, it’s essential that you begin to observe yourself. You can effectively do this by creating a self-sabotage journal.

Make a journal entry every time you realize that you’ve sabotaged yourself. Describe the setting, circumstances, and end result. Avoid over-analyzing.

Most often, a person’s true intentions are most evident in their actions, rather than their words.

Strive to be an impersonal observer in your journal. Eventually, you’ll gain a better understanding of your motives in certain situations.

–Envision success.
Keep in mind that success is neither black nor white. Cultivate the habit of envisioning what success means to you and remember how it feels to achieve it. If you do this consistently, you may find that what you envision changes over time.

Begin to see success as an integral part of your future, but realize there will still be challenges. Just like everyone else, you’ll still have to pay taxes and have relationship issues.

–Let go of the notion of perfection.

As you visualize success, are you still thinking that success equals perfection? If so, it’s time to realize that nobody is perfect.

This is what George Bernard Shaw would refer to as “doublethink.” Perfection and life are mutually exclusive because perfection is unattainable. Your subconscious won’t allow you to achieve success if you associate success with the impossible task of being perfect.

Think of your subconscious as a computer. It doesn’t know how to execute a command called “do the impossible.”

If you associate success with fear, your subconscious will fight you the entire way. Why? Because its primary function is to protect you from perceived threats.

Give yourself permission to anticipate success with excitement. Perhaps you’ve been sending your subconscious the message, “Don’t give me success!” So, let’s put your self-sabotaging behaviors in the past!

Embrace the good life you deserve by picturing yourself as successful, and then refuse to talk yourself out of going for it. The journey to your ideal life can start any moment you make a decision to really step into what you want…and deserve!