It breaks my heart how many women begin our coaching relationship stuck in a horribly debilitating cycle of self-sabotage. When I ask them question after question to get to the why behind all of the past failed attempts at reaching their goals, dreams and heart’s desires, they all say stems from the same thing:
So, what is it? It’s having a lack of self-belief and/or self worth, a fear of failure, feeling like the outsider, a consistent focus on perceived negative aspects of your self. It usually appears in the form of those pesky internal thoughts that creep in whenever a challenge, a plan or a deadline is presented:
You’re not good enough.
They don’t like you.
You don’t have what it takes.
They’re not going to take you seriously.
That’s too difficult.
You’ll just fail again.
I’ll do it tomorrow – I’ll feel better about it then.
I’ve lost count of the amount of times I left something to the last minute, or avoided putting myself forward because of a constant fear of rejection or failure. I’m thrilled that I feel safe telling all of you this today because it is something I have struggled with sharing for years. It is a battle I have fought within myself over and over again for decades until I finally did the hard work necessary to unpack it once and for all to be able to fight it and be victorious towards achieving my hopes and dreams!
The key to overcoming self-sabotage is to work out what has contributed to the development your negative behaviors and the triggers involved.
Growing up, I had a wonderful family, but my brother had a lot of anger that got taken out on me. He would call me every horrible name you can think of and I was constantly rejected by him, but then he would come back to me and show me love when he wanted to feel safe. As an adult, I realized that words of affirmation are my love language, so this further added to my feelings of failure and rejection when it came to my relationship with him. I carried this horrible pattern into many of my adult romantic relationships and it wasn’t until I finally got the help I needed in my late 20s that I finally was able to get a handle on this unhealthy cycle and heal for good.
It was exhausting and incredibly self-destructive, and this self-sabotage prevented me from living the life I owed myself and deserved.
It’s taken a while, but I’ve made some serious changes that have made my life easier and more fulfilling. My brother and I now have a wonderful relationship and I am thrilled to share some of these tips for combating self-sabotage with you today.
12 WAYS TO CONQUER SELF-SABOTAGE
Focus on your
Be mindful of the points where you are dealing with an internal struggle and try to identify the behaviors and triggers that are stopping you from achieving a task. What goals have you been unable to achieve? Do you procrastinate over even the smallest task?
on the negative & irrational.
Make a note of your negative thoughts while you are feeling demotivated, and then evaluate the list. Challenge yourself on each of these thoughts – what evidence do you have to justify them? Read more about the importance of being positive here.
Find a mentor or a coach
Look at those around you that you believe lead the successful life that you wish to have, and the behaviors that they adopt on a daily basis. Ask them questions – how do they organize themselves? How do they stay motivated? Read this post for ideas for who to approach about mentoring.
Find a system that works for you to get yourself organized, whether it’s an app on your phone or computer, or a daily planner. Plan out your yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals… and then break those up into bite-sized portions. I started a bullet journaling almost 2 years ago and it really has changed my life in getting my thoughts, plans and dreams out of my head and begin to make them a reality in an organized way. Read more about setting your goals in motion here.
Create new habits.
Focus on starting just one new behavior, and consciously repeat it until it becomes habit. This could be anything from paying a bill as soon as you receive it, to clearing out your email inbox, to putting your clean laundry away as soon as you have finished it. Read more here about creating change that lasts.
Stop looking at
the big picture.
Set a small, achievable goal for the day, and complete it. Many feel overwhelmed by seemingly enormous tasks, rather than focusing on the smaller steps along the way. Make yourself accountable for achieving that one goal. Read more here about being patient with yourself as you evolve.
Develop a more healthy
level of self-esteem.
This takes time, but daily affirmations and a focus on the positive aspects of who you are will make you feel more motivated to complete things. You are worth it, sweet dreamer! You’re not stupid. You deserve to be happy. You deserve success. Remember that the only opinion that matters of yourself is your own and the minute you start to like yourself more, life becomes less complicated. I know, because it has taken me a long time to like the reflection I see in the mirror, and I’m so glad that I put in the time and energy to make it happen. Read more about self-love here.
it is ok to fail.
I would much rather try and fail than continue to carry around the ‘what if?’ that used to be prominent in my mindset. I have had so much growth and learned so much through every single failure I have had, I wouldn’t change one for anything! Read more about changing your perspective here.
Give others a chance
& ask for help.
I trust people to a fault, which is why rejection is so hard to me to manage. However, I have had so many clients tell me about how they have missed out on potentially fantastic opportunities because of a fear of rejection. Adopt the attitude of accepting someone as they present themselves, rather than second-guessing perceived motivations behind their interactions. You can still maintain caution and ensure that you feel safe, but you will be able to put yourself out there a little more from this change of mindset, and as a result more opportunities will come your way. Read more about cultivating healthy relationships here.
Get an accountability buddy.
Be selective and wise about who you choose… but do it! It will help you get out of your comfort zone and propel you forward having some cheerleaders alongside you. I have two, and it’s been an enormous help. I tell them what I’m going to do, and then do it before I have chance to sit down and talk myself out of it.
I used to almost bribe myself into doing certain activities, and while this may seem silly, it worked! Instead of indulging in things I liked, I forced myself to complete a difficult or boring task first, and then I allowed myself some of the more fun activities in return.
Close some of
your open tabs.
This goes for mentally and symbolically having a million tabs open all at once. As women, we’re all guilty of this, right? How can you possibly focus on one thing when you’re attempting to multitask or keep a dozen things in the front of your mind?
As I write this very post, I have ten tabs open on my laptop. It’s so distracting and I obsessively open tabs and keep them open for fear of forgetting about the things in them. Ugh… so I have decided to only allow myself to have tabs open that directly relate to what I am working on at any given time and all others will go on a note on my laptop or in my bullet journal for when I am ready to tackle that specific project. Similarly, if you’re reading a book, talking to someone or watching TV, turn off everything else and focus on that one task or person. By simplifying what’s going on, you can focus more.
Is self-sabotage something you struggle with? How has it manifested in your life? Have you had success combating it? I’d love to hear your heart in a comment below….