What if the only thing standing between you and your vision of success… is you? Kinda sounds like a nice problem to have, right? No obstacles but you to overcome… WRONG. But sometimes we’re our own worst enemy and self sabotage can be SO much harder to overcome than external challenges.
Self sabotage is probably my biggest weakness and challenge. As a freelancer, it gets even worse because my success is all dependent on ME. Not much pressure, eh??
So, what is “self sabotage?” Well, it’s the thoughts and actions that stop you from making progress towards achieving your desired outcomes. Whether you’re trying to give up smoking, eat healthier, set up a business, get more organized or a million other goals. And what’s worse is that sometimes we don’t even realize we’re doing it!
My self sabotage appears in the form of extreme procrastination. The kind that can’t be helped with your run-of-the-mill “how to overcome procrastination” self-help books. But for you, it could show up in different ways. Let’s chat it out…
So, what are the signs and how do I (and you) overcome self sabotage?
Signs I’m self sabotaging
One of the signs that I’m self sabotaging is that I’ll come up with what I consider to be valid reasons to not take action. Let’s be real… they’re not valid, they’re self sabotaging excuses.
Perhaps it’s because I’m too tired and it would be better to start when I’m more focused. Maybe I want to wait to get a trip abroad out of the way first before starting a project or to do some more research before booking meetings.
This leads to the next sign – items on my to-do list that just carry over day after day (or worse… week after week!)
The most obvious sign? Ideas, projects, and goals that just stay in my head or tucked away in my journal but never coming to life. Why haven’t I moved forward? And if I”m being totally honest with myself, it’s because I haven’t taken action.
So, what’s behind it?
There are various reasons why we self sabotage and sometimes it’s a combination. Not so simple, I know but stick with me.
For some people it’s about self worth, what you think you deserve, and imposter syndrome.
Back to me, I think I’ve narrowed it down to a fear of failure, worried that I’m going to struggle or not be able to live up to the expectations and goals I’ve set myself. This leads to negative self talk that I don’t even notice my mind is doing. (UGH.) Having grown up with and followed a tough self love approach, changing that mindset can take some time.
What I do to overcome self sabotage
Firstly, we have to notice when we are thinking or acting in a way that contributes to our self sabotage. It’s likely that your brain has been wired over many years to think this way so you’ve really got to be mindful. Journal or make a note whenever you notice yourself behaving in ways that don’t serve you and your goals.
The same applies to whenever you catch negative self talk for example and especially when you’re feeling guilty because you haven’t completed your tasks for the day.
For me, the next step was to discuss my self sabotaging behaviour with a therapist. It’s not a superficial problem and I want to understand why my brain thinks this way, so I can understand the problem I need to overcome more clearly.
A practical and SUPER SIMPLE tip I find unexpectedly useful is to write 3-5 affirmations that resonate with me down on post it notes and stick them by my bed and desk. It seems so basic but it really makes a difference to my mindset.
What I’ve learned
Ultimately, I know that I am the only real, major obstacle standing between me and my desired goals. That’s both EXTREMELY frustrating, but also kind of liberating. It puts things in my control.
I’ve learned that I need to be kinder to myself even when my natural instinct might be to berate myself or tell myself I should be doing better. It goes against the way I’ve been wired from a young age but I know it doesn’t work now.
Lastly, I’ve realised that if I treat my self sabotaging behaviour as an interesting challenge to get curious about, it becomes less scary and negative. Changing that perception makes it much easier to overcome.
What about you? What’s working for you right now to overcome your self sabotage? Leave a comment below and let’s spark a conversation!
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