Like most people, I have plans, dreams, goals and ideas by the bucketful. Yet many of them are allowed to drift. I, like most, make my resolutions in January and then find that it’s October and I didn’t achieve them all. Basically what I’m saying is that I can self sabotage as good as the rest of them!
So what is self sabotage and how do I stop doing it. Self sabotage is simply you putting things in the path of your goals and dreams that stop you achieving them. The first step to stop sabotaging all your dreams and goals is to simply recognize that you’re doing it in the first place. I admit that I can come up with any number of excuses why I can’t start achieving my goals today but I’ve also learnt to recognize that once the excuses start flowing, they can come thick and fast and I can easily talk myself out of something, I am also aware that they are just talk. The voice in my head keeps me in my comfort zone where it’s nice and cosy and I know how to be me and sometimes, just sometimes, it’s necessary to push through the negative thoughts, get out of my cosy comfy place where I know how to be me and try something new, push through a barrier and putting it simply, get out of my own way.
Self-sabotage is a bit of a diametrically opposing position in that there’s something that you want to achieve. Not just achieve, you REALLY want to achieve it. Then, just when you think that nothing can stop you, you go and spoil it. You put off the phone call, eat something you wish you hadn’t, don’t meet the application deadline, treat someone you want in your life badly, don’t follow advice, don’t put the work in to pass the exam, you name it. Self sabotage is endless; essentially, anything that you do that stops you achieving your dream.
If it’s dreams we’re talking, the things that we want in life to make us feel good, to bring us happiness, to live the life we really want to, why on earth would we do something to stop it happening?
The reason is not always obvious. Somewhere in the depths of your mind, you’re keeping your life as it is, even though you’re quite possibly not overly happy with where it is right now. The important question to ask is what are you afraid of? What’s ACTUALLY stopping you living YOUR dream? Sometimes it’s stepping out of the comfort zone. Sometimes it’s a deeper message that you don’t think that you’re worthy of the dream or you lack the self-belief that you can actually achieve it. This can come from a number of origins but could well come back to the message that has been given to you by others at some point. If you feel that you don’t deserve it, then you’ll go out of your way to ensure that you don’t have it or achieve it.
So how do you overcome your need to self sabotage your dreams and goals? The first thing to do is recognize what you’re doing. Then, and this may be a bit simple, but ask yourself why you’re standing in your own way. Ask out loud if you can. Things always sound different out loud. Listen to the answer and respond to it. Procrastination is not about laziness. It’s most often about a fear of failure. If you’re scared of failing then it’s a lot easier to just not do it and the easiest way to not do something is to put so many obstacles in your path that doing ‘the thing’ becomes too much like hard work.
Fear of failure is just that; a fear. It’s not a guarantee. And putting it another way, what does failure actually mean? Do you have to come first, come top, have the biggest weight loss, have the most attendees, make the biggest changes, be the best wife, girlfriend, mother (or the boy version obviously) in order to succeed? What does success really mean to you? If you’re self-sabotaging your life because you’re afraid that you won’t succeed, then take a step back and work out what success really is, what you’re afraid of in terms of failure and what you can do to work through it.
You are your harshest judge. Your self-talk is probably much more brutal than anything said to you by someone else (although there are of course instances where this may not be the case) and perhaps it’s time to stop being your harshest critic, be your best friend and instead of stopping yourself achieving your goals and dreams, give yourself some friendly encouragement to push through that barrier to the next level and see what it’s like up there.
You never know, it might be really quite good and you’ll be glad that you did.
If you’re struggling with self sabotage in whatever form, there are a number of ways that I can help you to overcome your behaviour, change your thinking and achieve your goals. Contact me at Catherine@berkshiretherapist.co.uk today and find out how I can help.