I am going to say something that you may think is a fib…I have been for most of my life afraid of success and would self-sabotage right before the miracle would happen. Yes…me…
Do you ever feel like you are in the same boat? Well I am going to give you a brief synopsis of this epidemic of self-sabotage and the top five ways that I combat this urge on a daily basis. There are four common reasons why people self-sabotage: Self-hatred, comfort, rigidity, and fear.
Self-hatred can really be called the “anti-self.” This is the enemy in our mind that speaks to us with a language of self denying, self loathing, or even self-soothing thoughts. Some call this the “critical inner parent.” This voice was shaped during our childhood experiences. What we endured, experienced or was told about ourselves as a child. If we had a miserable or lonely childhood then we probably grew up feeling unworthy or socially awkward. If we were told that we were not good at something and should quit because we would be wasting our time we may have “victim mentality.” Another alarming thought is that we tend to imitate the patterns, attitudes, and behaviors of our family of origin or caretakers. This could be anxiety, depression, self-loathing, cowardice, timidness, and no gumption or lust for life. Then in turn these patterns spill over into our adult lives. Sound familiar? Yup…samesies.
Comfort tends to do just what it says. Keeps us small, pigeonholed, and boxed in. Comfort can sound like an overbearing grandmother that wants to dote on us. Like, “It’s okay…just have that piece of cake.” “Who cares about the gym tonight…one more day without exercise isn’t going to kill you.” “Just do that homework tomorrow.” “You have plenty of time.” “Just watch one more Netflix show.” Over time, that voice can turn into “You’re are a loser.” “You’re lazy.” “You’ll never amount to anything.” And so it shall be.
Rigidity is all about living life constructed around rules that do not serve your highest, greatest good, but they are so ingrained into your life that you just keep doing them over and over and over without avail. These adaptations usually come from a childhood that had less-than-ideal conditions and have been able to limit our adulthood. For example, you yelling may have been the only way that your parents paid attention to you so now in all your adult relationships you find yourself popping off to get attention from your spouse. Unacceptable behavior. People who have this issue also see life as should, shouldn’t, can, and cant’s. Like you should only date men who have money. You should only be friends with people who can help you climb a social ladder. You shouldn’t ask for help. You cannot let people get too close to you or they will hurt you.
Last, but certainly not least, is fear. Fear is always at the root of what holds us back in mostly every situation. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear that the voice in our head or our overbearing mothers will be right if you do not succeed. So we run the other way. Never fully proving to ourselves who we really are and what we can accomplish in the absence of fear.
Here are the top five ways I tell that voice to F off!
- Change your behavior patterns.
One of the best ways I do this is I ask myself if this is getting me closer or further away to who I desire to be. Is it a “hell yes?” Or is it a “hell no?” Then I make my decisions. Old patterns would just be doing what the voices tell you to do coming to the same conclusions, decisions or situations. A.K.A. Insanity.
- Set real and attainable goals.
Set goals with timelines, money objectives, how you wish to feel and then having consequences if they are not attained or adhered to. So you say to yourself, no screen time at night until I meditate. No coffee in the morning unless I exercise. Small things like that make a huge impact. If you never have a consequence for less than desirable behaviors then you will just keep repeating the same patterns until you take your last breath…scary.
- Recognize where the pattern came from in the first place.
Reread the top four ways you self-sabotage again and then get really honest and clear with where these behaviors stemmed for in the first place—helping your realize that they are just bad software that has been installed into the computer of your mind and therefore installing new software. It is truly that simple.
- Know what kind of saboteur you are and slowly start to incorporate change—procrastinator, negative self-talker, perfectionist…or all of the above.
Once you nail down which one or how many of these you are can help you itemize how you are doing all this to yourself and in turn you can take the steps to write a new story for yourself. The first step is admitting the problem. The second is taking the responsibility that you are the cause and only you can change it. Thirdly, changing it by using the other steps written here.
- Take time to celebrate the change.
One of the many things I have done to break myself out of these bad habits and patterns is to celebrate the wins along the way. You stop procrastinating and have a week of amazing workouts…buy yourself a new pair of sneakers. You finally wrote the book you have been talking about writing for years? Take a weekend away with a loved one to a spa. Little wins, big wins…they all make the needle move in the right direction. Celebration is key to motivate a change that actually stays.
I hope this inspired you to live life Ambitchiously! Ambitches don’t self sabotage their greatness, they celebrate greatness.
Do you want to change your life? If you’re seeking to reach the next level; personally, professionally, and purposefully, join Katie Boyd for Power Up!: Create a Life of Joy, Wonder, and Magic at the Art of Living Retreat Center, November 1–3, 2019.