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I have this internal pressure telling me that I need to talk about self-sabotaging behavior. I’m not sure who needs to hear this today, but if you find yourself wanting more out of life, but struggling to push through the obstacles, this post might be for you.
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So what are self-sabotaging thoughts?
I have struggled with self-sabotage a lot since I started blogging, and a bit when it came to things like weight loss and meal planning before.
For a long time, I let change scare me. I allowed myself to make excuses for why I wasn’t reaching my goals because the shifts felt hard or scary. But, I finally realized that these were irrational fears holding me back from my dream life.
It has taken a lot of work to push through these limiting beliefs, the ones that held me back for so long, so if you ar there right now, I understand the struggle.
I want to share a few strategies that will help you decide whether you are waiting to follow your dreams because of fear, or because it’s really not the right time for you to pursue them.
The First Step is to Understand Self-Sabotaging Thoughts
I have talked about habits several times on this blog, but this post is a really core example of how important it is to pay attention to your habits. Many times, when fear and self-doubt starts to creep in, we resort to busy work as a reaction.
See, self-sabotaging begins because
It’s our mind’s way of rationalizing, even though we probably know deep inside that we weren’t doing the right things to make an impact.
If we get too comfortable with our busy work, they become habits and suddenly our inner compass doesn’t recognize that we are self-sabotaging until something from the outside makes us recognize our behavior.
A few examples of this self- sabotaging behavior would be:
Eating one cookie…then four more because you already messed up once, right? Suddenly, a few days later, you find yourself grabbing the entire box after the kids get tucked in.
Researching too much. Maybe you have a business idea, so you start researching it. Then you don’t stop…for months or maybe even years!
Avoiding the solution. I see this one all the time in blogging! A ton of people
Spending too much time on small things. I am definitely guilty of this one! For example, I get caught up in making my organizational systems just right. Sometimes that means that I end up sacrificing the big stuff-for example missing blog posts! (I’m getting better, though. Consistency is hard guys!)
So what are the things in your life that are holding you back from reaching your goals?
Recognize Self-Sabotaging Behavior
The second step of overcoming self-sabotaging behavior is to recognize it. Until you can be honest with yourself about what you are doing wrong, you will be stuck. But when that moment comes where you are triggered and recognize that you are sabotaging yourself, it will become crystal clear.
Recognizing your self-sabotaging behavior starts by being willing to judge yourself. Don’t make excuses for your behavior, simply think about what you are doing, and whether it is helping you or not.
Once you get into the habit of auditing yourself, it will become more and more easy to catch your self-sabotaging behaviors.
What Causes Self-Sabotaging Behavior
Once you begin to recognize your bad habits, you need to dig deep and learn why they began in the first place. Often, the answer to what causes self-sabotaging behaviors in your life will be rooted in your own self-esteem or value system.
For example, one of the big limiting beliefs that I have had to really focus on is that I can be a great mom and also build a business.
I spent so many years living for my family, and my Mom always expressed how regretful she was that she had to be a working mom. The idea that I am willing to “give up” being a stay at home mom has been hard for me.
My family is my number one priority, but the problem is that I’m not a happy stay at home mom. I struggle with depression, and I have a hard time motivating myself without a bigger goal.
I need something that is for me, a creative outlet to focus on so that the not-so-fun parts of being a mom aren’t the only things filling up my day. I need to feel like I am working towards a better future for my family. And that’s okay. I’m a much better mom when I’m not depressed, I can tell you that much!
Because I was struggling with this limiting belief, I was preventing myself from ever really “going for it”. What if I found success and my family needed me…or worse. What if they didn’t need me after all?
Many limiting beliefs that cause self-sabotage are because of self-worth issues.
- You don’t truly believe you can do it.
- You feel unworthy of success.
- You are afraid of how change might impact your life.
- You grew up poor, so you’ll never be able to have money.
The list of self-sabotaging examples could go on for a long while. Long story short, y
Figure Out Your Next Step
The best part of this reflection is that once you recognize where you are limiting yourself, the pathway to change becomes much more clear. The signs of self-sabotaging behavior will be easier to spot.
When I realized my limiting belief over mothering, it became much easier to figure out what to do. I recognized that I needed to ask for help from my support system more often, and get used to taking a few hours for myself.
I started expressing my doubts over letting my family down and discussing them with my husband. His perspective and support really helped me to accept that change can be good, and honestly, that it is what we both need.
If I hadn’t taken the time to figure out where my self-sabotaging was coming from, I never would have heard his side of the story. Now that I have, I’m even more determined to make an impact.
If your next step doesn’t feel clear, I want you to just start talking about it. Talk to a friend, or family member and try to get some outside perspective. If you feel uncomfortable about talking to the people in your life, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Start Making Changes
Seeing a map and walking the path are two very different things. Now that you know your steps to over-coming self-sabotage, it is time to start taking them.
Whenever you catch yourself thinking self-sabotaging thoughts, replace them. I like to do this two different ways:
1. Gratitude Rants
Gratitude rants are a great way to rewire your brain. Whenever you feel your inner self start to complain about anything in your life, that is your trigger.
As soon as you are triggered, you need to stop what you are thinking and being ranting. For me, a typical rant would sound like this:
“Gah, I hate cleaning up Chris’s dirty socks and boots every morning. He’s a grown man-you’d think he could do it himself.” TRIGGER!
“I am so grateful that Chris came home to me last night. We are blessed that he has a good job, and that we don’t struggle. I am grateful for the fact that he has empowered me to stay home with my kids and supports me as I build my dream life. I know that this behavior is because he is exhausted. I am capable of changing our situation. I’m going to spend the next 10 minutes getting my house in order so that I can focus on my family and my business instead of feeling stressed. This will make my life easier and help me to achieve my goals faster! Every time I pick up socks, I am taking care of people that I love.”
Yep. I know. It feels weird right? But it’s all true.
When you start to frame your perspective in a positive light intentionally, it affects all aspects of your life. After a while, your neurons literally re-wire themselves to resort to positivity, which means that it does get easier.
In fact, I catch myself adding small gratitude rants into my days pretty consistently without thinking. This is a perfect example:
I was pleasantly surprised to receive praise from myself when I reached one of my goals! Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to be your own cheerleader. Change starts from within.
Affirmations are positive reinforcements. Over time, they help you believe that you are whatever you say you are. Kind of like brainwashing, but in a good way.
In fact, the entire gratitude rant was a string of affirmations that remind me of why I do what I do. However, I strongly believe that affirmations work best if you make them an intentional part of your day.
This can be done in a bunch of different ways, from hanging affirmations as wall decor, to setting alarms with affirmations as the title, to working it in during your morning routine.
Te entire point is to recite specific affirmations that target your deepest struggles every single day.
On top of that, you can use affirmations to replace negative thought about yourself. Any time that you start demeaning yourself replace those thoughts with affirmations.
Remind Yourself of Your Why
Just as rewiring your brain away from negativity is important, remind it of why you are working so hard to do so can be the difference between successfully pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, or allowing fear to take over.
It is vital that you know what exactly you are working for. It has to be deeper than money, or status. It needs to be a purpose that will make you push yourself into situations that feel uncomfortable. The feelings of purpose must be stronger than the fear.
Once you know what is worth fighting for, you will be unstoppable!
I highly recommend finding a mantra that will help remind you of your why every single day. This phrase is not about your worth, it’s about your mission.
Set Goals and Be Consistent
Once you have figured all of this out, you will be ready to set huge goals, and be willing to pursue them.
You will be able to overcome
You will be mindful of the choices that you make, and capable of making moves that you wouldn’t dreamt of before!
Once you know how to overcome limiting beliefs and take control of self-sabotaging behavior, nothing is stopping you from finding wild success!