Self-sabotage – We all do it, but why?

Self-sabotage can appear in life in many ways.

Perhaps you continue to make the same, tired excuses.

Or you don’t give yourself a chance to leave the start gates, despite how badly you want something.

Or maybe, you get within an inch or achieving your goal, and suddenly you find yourself behaving in a way which hinders all of your progress.

Our minds are very complex, but ultimately, we always think in alignment with what is easy, or what is already known.

But self-sabotaging appears when our will to achieve something new is conflicting with our subconscious mindset, thoughts and behaviours. It doesn’t matter how badly you want something sometimes, if your subconscious programming thinks otherwise, you will find yourself to-ing and fro-ing between putting in the work, and sabotaging your own results.


This behaviour comes from the deeply ingrained beliefs, stories and ideas you formulated throughout childhood and into early adulthood.

Often though, we lack the awareness we need in order to develop and construct new ideas and beliefs – ones which will help us succeed!

So, when we have big goals and aspirations, ones which we have not achieved before, our minds like to default back to our subconscious programming and thought patterns, because it is uncomfortable to remain in a situation which is foreign or new to us.



But how do I stop self-sabotaging?


Before understanding the answer to this question, you have to think about the trigger, or the reason why you are doing it in the first place!

Does your self-sabotage come from a lack of belief?

From something someone said to you in your childhood?

Does it appear because you are relying on motivation (and not discipline) to achieve your goals?

Sometimes it’s the smallest things which cause a butterfly effect on our future selves and our progress. Perhaps, one small comment from a childhood bully who told you “You aren’t good enough, you’re a failure!”, caused you to form an emotional attachment and story to this experience, which has been carried into your adult life. Because the problem is, we always think in alignment to what we believe, even if what we believe does not serve us well. This is why one of the biggest key players in our growth and evolution is through developing self-awareness; because we can ask better questions, analyse ourselves in a non-biased way, and look to our core beliefs and how they are or are not serving us.

Here are my top tips to help you reduce your self-sabotaging tendencies:


· Look for the truth in your inner critic’s words

Often, these feelings of discomfort when we are working on something big or new can bring about our inner critic. It’s important to become aware of your inner critic, and what he or she is saying, but then look for the truth in their words.

If you have no tangible proof that what they are saying is true, then why believe it?

We need to understand that we shouldn’t be so quick to believe something, just because it appears as a thought in our minds. Begin to look for clues as to when your inner critic appears for you, because it is likely when you are doing something outside of the “norms” of your subconscious programming.

· Challenge the beliefs or stories you tell yourself, and their effectiveness in your life now

It often isn’t until we actually become conscious and aware of our beliefs and the emotional stories we give to circumstance, that we realise just what an impact they can carry in our lives.

Ask yourself the following questions:

What current belief or story do I hold about myself?

Is this belief or story based on the opinions of someone else?

How is this belief or story holding me back in my life right now?

And, how would my life change as a result of building a new and empowering belief about myself instead?

Understand that your beliefs drive your behaviour. If you can rid yourself of an old, tired and poor belief about yourself, and replace it with a new one, you will start to behave in a way which will be constructive to achieving your goals.

· Get clear on your “why”

It’s important to have a strong, emotional attachment to the reason why you are going after your goals and ambitions. Without a clear understanding of “why” you are putting in the work, you are likely to slip back into old tendencies, or stop doing the work when it gets hard or uncomfortable. Our brains like to only do the tasks that make sense to us. Without a strong and clear “why’, it’s easy to stay in bed on the days you don’t feel like it, or quit when the going gets tough.

So, it’s important to define your “why” and purpose and have a clear objective for the reason you are doing the work. But, when it comes to our “why”, it has to be based off an emotion. Having a material possession as your “why” will only get you so far; instead, you should look at it as the by-product to you achieving and living your “why” and goals.

· Create habits and disciplines

Too often we rely on motivation and willpower to achieve our goals. But I want to remind you that motivation is a fleeting emotion, and it never hangs around long enough! Instead, it’s important to build positive habits and routines to assist us in doing the work; and they must be matched with a reward. Your reward shouldn’t always be something food based like chocolate, instead, it should be something which reminds you that you’re heading in the right direction. This could be linking a positive feeling to your success or envisioning how it feels when you have reached your goal, it could be that you tick something off your list and feel accomplished, or it could be that you give yourself a high 5 or pat on the back! This reward system entices you to continue to complete the new routine or habit over and over again, because our minds crave rewards.

Think about the positive habits and routines you can create in your life which will help you achieve your goals.

As an example, I walk or exercise in the gym every morning, not because my goal is to lose weight, but because my goal is to create great content, and exercising keeps me fresh and reduces my stress levels (which are my triggers).


I hope these tips have helped you in understanding how you can reduce the self-sabotaging behaviours in your life. It is important to understand that these issues can be quite complex, and they cannot be solved overnight.

Often the most important piece of the puzzle is self-awareness, and understanding why you behave or think the way that you do.


I work in my coaching and mentoring role to help people overcome self-sabotage, and get to work on their goals and dreams. By being accountable to someone, and having someone to ask the hard questions or pull us up when old habits or patterns emerge, we can move forward on our goals and dreams quicker than we can do on our own!

If you would like help and assistance in achieving everything you know you can, and if you are ready to navigate the roadblocks and stop giving yourself the same tired excuses, then I want to work with you!

Contact me today for a free strategy session to find out more!







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