How To Stop Self Sabotaging Your Future?
Have you ever felt that you’re going in the right direction, for once in your life, and then ruin it for yourself? Think about things like weight loss…you’re down 5lb, but doesn’t that pizza look so good? A big project at work you’ve had FOREVER to work on…but you’ve left it until the last minute. And wanting to meditate each morning…but wouldn’t 30 minutes of extra sleep be better, right now? If this sounds like you, you may be in the habit of self-sabotaging.
What is self-sabotage? Well, self-sabotage involves behaviours or thoughts that keep you away from what you desire most in life. Just like smoking when you’ve decided to quit for health reasons, or going out to a raging party when you know you need to stay in to prepare for your interview the next morning.
Although we may feel like we are in control of our situation and what we want to do in life, it may surprise you that one of the key reasons people self-sabotage is a lack of self-esteem. You may not even realise you’re doing it, but the fears you have about not being ‘good enough’ to do something fuel the self-sabotaging behaviours. On the other side of things, some people self-sabotage because it actually makes them feel MORE in control of their situations.
Here’s how to stop self sabotaging and holding yourself back from your dreams for the future.
#1 Recognise Your Self Sabotage Habits
Think about the behaviours that lead to your self-sabotage and inability to complete things. Perhaps you procrastinate for too long about things – things like watching ‘one’ more episode of a tv box set before you get down to it, or finding things to do – anything that isn’t the task you actually need to get done. Or maybe it’s negative self-talk. Do you tell yourself you are too weak, stupid, or unprepared to complete something, so you build youself up to fail? Finally, a less easy-to-spot habit is thinking you need to have things absolutely perfect before you do anything. You know, half the fun in achieving something is the journey you go on to get there. Nothing is perfect the first time!
#2 Don’t Sell Yourself Short
Ever heard of imposter syndrome? It’s a phenomenon where a person doubts their abilities and previous achievements that have led them to their current position, for fear of being ‘exposed’ as a ‘fraud’. In fact, an estimated 70% of people experience these impostor feelings at some point in their lives! When you feel like this, separate the feelings from fact. You’re where you are due to the work you have already put in – try writing down a list of your achievements, skills, and successes to demonstrate that you actually do have concrete value to share with the world.
#3 Build Yourself Up Everyday
Did you know that people who have greater levels of self-compassion tend to be more motivated, less lazy, and more successful over time? There’s nothing wrong with actively trying to be kinder to yourself. Soften the tone of that inner critic and start practicing self-talk that sounds warm, friendly and kind. Tell yourself you’re doing well, and praise yourself when you complete something you’ve been meaning to. Other ways of being kind to yourself can include self-care, such as yoga, meditation, eating well – or even just taking a short break from the thing you’re trying to complete, to get a little headspace before coming back to it.
#4 Set Goals and Make Plans
Sometimes when you’ve got something big to achieve, like that huge project at work I mentioned, writing a book or a weight-loss goal, it can feel like a huge undertaking. Another way on how to stop self sabotaging is before you begin anything, you should make a robust plan of bite size goals to help get you there. Going back to the weight-loss example, ‘lose 1lb per week’ sounds much achievable than ‘lose a stone’, doesn’t it? If you can be realistic with your progress, you’re a lot more likely to achieve the goal and avoid self-sabotage.
Remember: the world will put countless obstacles in your path but none will be as big as the ones you create for yourself!