Have you ever wanted to accomplish something so badly, that you spend endless hours planning it all out, working harder than you ever have to reach that goal, going above and beyond to make it happen, only to find yourself self-sabotaging the very thing that you want?
Imagine this scenario: You saved up every penny you’ve earned over the last few years so that you can put yourself through university. You spend endless hours studying, doing homework, being totally dedicated to reaching your end goal, which is graduating with honors and getting your degree. Everything is working out so well for you, and you’re on a roll. Success is right around the corner.
But then something happens. You skip classes. You party instead of studying for your exams. You procrastinate and do everything else under the sun except that one thing that will get you one step closer to reaching your goals.
You begin to self-sabotage.
Now replace the word “university” with whatever it is that you’ve been working so hard to achieve.
Perhaps it’s a job promotion. Maybe you’re launching your new business. Or maybe your goal is to have a better relationship with someone who means the world to you.
If you’ve ever found yourself self-sabotaging the very thing you want, there’s a perfectly good reason.
If you think about it, we have two sides to us. The first side is that side of us that is hard-working, determined and motivated in reaching our goals and dreams.
The second side is that side of us that wants to make sure we survive, that we’re safe, that we feel secure, that we know what’s going on, and that we don’t stray too far away from our comfort zone. We’ll refer to this side of us as our “safe keeper.”
When you have big goals that are way out of your comfort zone, it means that you have to stretch and grow as a person and that you have to do things you’ve never done before.
The minute you move out of your comfort zone area, the safe keeper gets a bit concerned. And the minute you step too far out if the comfort zone they start to freak out. They don’t like what’s happening, and they need to put a stop to it, immediately.
Remember, your safe keeper’s job is to ensure that you are always safe and that you will survive and thrive, so long as you don’t go beyond the comfort zone walls. When they catch you trying to test the limits, they will convince you in sneaky little ways to come back to the comfort zone and stay there.
They’ll suggest things like, let’s binge-watch Netflix instead of studying for an essential exam, or let’s go out with friends instead of working on your business launch, let’s get go out partying instead of working on our relationship or let’s stuff our faces with ice-cream, donuts and chocolate and forget about our diet.
They’re not doing it to be spiteful; they’re doing it to keep you safe. And the best way to keep you safe is by having you stay in your comfort zone where life is easier and more predictable.
To the safe keeper, graduating with honors and getting your degree means that you are now ready to take on more challenges, like finding a good job, and whether you like it or not, there will be lots of other people fighting over the same position as you. That means competition, and with competition comes the fact that you could fail. It means that you could be rejected by your boss, your colleagues, and even your friends and family. Then, that sneaky little safe keeper, will start to remind you of all the time when you were rejected in the past and how awful it felt, and they’ll do a great job of trying to convince you to quit while you’re ahead so you can avoid being rejected again.
Your safe keeper will come up with all sorts of irrational stories about why you should not stray far from your comfort zone, and it will do everything in its power to make sure it keeps you safe, even if it means it needs to prevent you from reaching your goals. Yes, even the goals that you’ve been working so hard to accomplish.
It may sound like the safe keeper is a horrible person! But he/she is not. Your safe-keeper loves and adores you. All they want is to do their job of keeping you safe, ensuring you survive and thrive just like how you’ve always been.
If you are 100% determined to reach your goals, you could try ignoring your safe keeper, but make no mistake, he/she is incredibly persistent and will not stop no matter how hard you try to ignore them. (Think about all the times in the past when you self-sabotaged).
So, today, I have a different solution for you. Instead of ignoring and hating your safe keeper, love them back! Talk to them, let them know that the decisions you are making are best for the both of you. Convince them that if you don’t change, you won’t survive. Convince them that you have no choice but to move a little bit out of your comfort zone, but you need their help.
For the university example above, you can convince your safe keeper that if you don’t study for your exams and graduate with honors, both of you (you and your safe keeper) will be in real trouble! You’ve spent all your hard-earned money, time and energy into your schooling, and if you were to fail, that’d be a massive loss! You’d still be on the hook for your expensive student loans, and you’d have no choice but to pay it all back, every single penny, and you can’t do that on a minimum paying job! Then start thinking about all the reasons why you decided to go for your goal in the first place. Your “why” is powerful and you’ll need to come back to your “why” if you want to remain strong.
You are now turning the tables on your safe keeper. Your safe keeper wants to do what’s best for you. So if you convince your safe keeper to help you move forward, instead of sabotaging you, they’ll be on a mission to help you. Instead of you being your own worse enemy, you’ll become besties with your inner saboteur.
What you are doing here, is re-programming your subconscious mind for success rather than self-sabotage.
It might like a bunch of hocus pocus, right? I thought so too… until I tried it and it works!
If you’ve ever self-sabotaged yourself, your goals and your dreams, now you know why and what to do to put an end to it. I’d like to challenge you to give it a try and see if it works for you too.