1. Understand self-sabotage.
As a culture, we are often engaged in self-destructive behaviors, both knowingly and unknowingly. They have become our daily habits. These behaviors can lead us to undermine our success toward lifestyle changes and goals. They can undermine overall happiness and, the truth is, that we may not even recognize that we’re doing it. Self-sabotaging behavior gets in the way of our intent, or of our big dreams and goals. We identify that we want something, but due to self-sabotage, we never accomplish it. Why? Because somewhere, very deep in our subconscious, we may be fighting against that goal.
2. Recognize your self-sabotaging habits and their root causes.
The first step for you to break the cycle of self-sabotage is to become aware of the behaviors that are holding you back. Try to look at your self-sabotaging behaviors as an outsider looking in. Learn to identify the self-destructive patterns and mindsets that are stopping you from reaching your, so far, only dreamt about goals. More often than not, we develop unhealthy ways of coping with our stress. Due to a busy lifestyle and other excuses we may fail to take adequate care of ourselves. We may also take our relationships for granted and allow ourselves to react adversely to situations. These situations may be so subtle that we can’t see that self-sabotage is at the root of many of our problems.
Often, self-destructive habits are part of our feelings of self-worth. We all deserve to be successful, but do you truly believe that? If not, getting help from a professional, can help you shift your mind-set in a more positive light. This will help you remove the feelings of inadequacy, even when you’re trying to overcompensate by setting high goals for yourself. Work on identifying and acknowledging what is causing you to sabotage yourself, and then start making changes to stop those behaviors in its tracks!
3. Stop Procrastination!
Instead of committing to an exercise program or a meal plan or home cooking prep, you allow yourself to eat whatever you want and become a couch potato after work. Instead of taking action steps if you don’t have a plan you get caught up in time sucking activities such as tv and social media. These behaviors will not move you toward your goals.
Once you’ve identified the changes you want to make, pick just a few small things to work on at a time. Don’t try to make twelve changes all at once. That is not realistic and may be hard to maintain. Begin with making one to three small, meaningful changes that you’ll build upon to create a much more overarching transformation in your life. If you are ready to do more, such as bringing healthy lunches to work, go ahead and do that as it will help you stay on the right path.
4. Set realistic, time-bound goals.
Begin by creating a structure that will be realistic for you to achieve. Set deadlines and mini-deadlines to work toward your objective. For example, pick one to three from the list below or if you feel ready you can add them all if they resonate with your bigger goals. Enlist support and share with a professional, family and friends.
- I will exercise for 30 minutes of cardio 3 X week.
- I will remove gluten and dairy from my diet.
- I will prepare home cooked, mostly plant based meals.
- I will prepare lunch to bring to work.
- I will stop eating at 8pm each night.
- I will do this for 14 days.
5. Always have a (realistic) plan in place!
Don’t skimp on this next, highly important step: Always have a new plan before your current plan ends. It’s when we are without a plan that self-sabotage can come into play. Re-evaluate your current plan and how you did. Do this prior to the end of your 14 day commitment. Set up a new time-bound realistic plan for the next 14 or 21-Day period. If you are up for it, you can set up a longer time bound commitment of 4-6 weeks. It is helpful to have a Health Coach or professional that you are accountable to. If it’s a weight loss goal, then writing down what you eat for a time period and staying within a calorie range may be helpful, too.
6. Find time for self-reflection.
It is critically important to find the time for self-reflection so you can understand why you keep self-sabotaging yourself in the first place. Taking the time to peel back the layers of the onion so to speak, will allow you to look at the issues that you seem to be avoiding, which will lead you to a deeper awareness and understanding. Finding the right, nonjudgmental person or group will help you gain insights into yourself. These insights will help you stick to your underlying motivations and desires.
Successful people are those who take the time to think through their choices, decisions and actions. They learn from what worked or failed to work in the past and can build upon more success in the future. With this knowledge you can adjust your course of action by taking a different approach. Through self-reflection, you will gain very necessary insights, perspectives and understanding to begin to stick to the process of change. An accumulation of successes equal transformation.
7. Recognize negative self-talk and negative thinking.
Your inner dialogue with yourself may be super critical. Are you down on yourself for your past behaviors? Are you constantly criticizing yourself? It’s okay, today is a new day. You can step into change at any moment in your life. Now is the time for you to be patient and kind to yourself. If you were doing great and fell off the wagon, get back on, brush yourself off and move forward, not back. Change doesn’t happen overnight. How would you be with a friend who wanted to reach goals? Now is the time to be a friend to yourself. The time is now to begin to work on building yourself up. You can choose to elicit the help from a Health Coach, friend or mentor. Get the support you need to work toward changing the behaviors. This may mean not hanging out at a bar or on the couch after work, but joining a gym or fitness studio and attend an exercise class before or after work.
8. Find your own personal positive voice.
Fear is often at the root of what is holding us back. We may think that we don’t deserve happiness, aren’t smart enough or simply don’t have it in us. You may also be afraid due to past failures, but I am here to tell you that you can rise above the fear and start a new plan of committed action steps. It is about time to put aside that harsh inner voice of “I can’t” or “I’m a failure.” That negative internal dialogue is a pattern and is totally self-limiting. Have you heard the saying, “What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail”? We may fear that our inner voice is right, that we are not deserving or don’t know enough. Start replacing that critical inner voice with positivity and an array of encouraging thoughts. Once you are aware and you start to see the areas in which you are limiting yourself, you can start effectively countering that behavior.
“You can choose not to engage in self-sabotaging behavior. You can start building positive behavior and create an affirmative, highly confident voice that will guide you to be the best version of you”!
9. Create a community that supports you in your goals.
Associate yourself with friends, family, a health coach and/or mentor that help you to stay true to your new-found goals. Meet weekly or twice a month so you can focus on reaching the goals you set for yourself. Be around the people that help you stay on track with good behaviors. Being a part of a like-minded community can be helpful to help you stay on the path of your good intentions. You may need to remove yourself from certain trigger places and people who do not have your best intentions in mind.
10. Don’t let perfectionism or other excuses take over.
You may tell yourself that you can’t take action until it’s the right time, or after a certain event at work, holiday or special occasion such as a birthday or friends wedding. You may use the excuse that you don’t have enough money. Think about areas where you may be frivolous such as purchasing junk food, a Starbucks habit, more shoes or clothes you may not need, or running from doctor to doctor. Your own money story doesn’t have to hold you back, either. You can start to take action steps at any point in time and work around all of the important events that only seem like they are in your way.
I really hope you don’t get caught up in the mind-set that you believe you need to be perfect before you can move forward. That mind-set is a form of self-sabotage. Perfection is an impossible standard that can keep you from moving forward. When my Dad had a heart attack and knew he needed to change his habits, I said to him, ‘It’s not about perfect, it’s about better. My Dad is now turning 85 and that heart attack was nearly 25 years ago. To this day, he feels healthy, trim and vibrant.
To sum up, self-sabotage occurs when your logical, conscious mind, the side of you that says you need to eat healthy and save money, is at odds with your subconscious mind. That’s the side of you that stress-eats chips and ice-cream and goes on shopping binges or engages in mind-numbing social media or too much Netflix. The latter is the critical part of your inner voice that seems to hold you back and sabotage your efforts.
Self-sabotaging behaviors or thoughts keep you away from what you desire most in your life. It’s that internal voice that is constantly saying “you can’t do this.” Your subconscious is trying to protect you, prevent the pain, and deal with your deep-seated fear. The result of self-sabotage is that we hesitate rather than seize new challenges. We forgo our dreams and goals because we don’t have that inner positive voice lifting us up. At the end of the day, month or year, you may not understand why you have missed out. So, I advise you to get the necessary support you need right now so you can stop these self-limiting behaviors in their tracks. You can always contact me.
I hope these 10 steps will help you take immediate action to stop self-sabotaging behaviors. You can reach your goals and become amazingly successful. I believe in you!