You know exactly what you need to do but you’re just not doing it and the more you notice you’re not doing it, the more the frustration builds, and the more you beat yourself up. It’s a never-ending loop and it can feel almost inescapable at times.
But just know, you can overcome it and in this article, I’m going to show you how, so you can break those self-sabotaging behaviors and begin to achieve your goals and create the life that you know you are truly capable of.
But first…What Is Self Sabotage?
Okay, I know you know what self-sabotage is but it’s important to break it down so you can really examine your behaviour.
Self-sabotage is when you have an idea of something you want to do, achieve or how you want life to be. Yet your actions do not match your desires or goals.
You’re living in cognitive dissonance – saying or thinking one thing and doing the exact opposite.
The Science Of Self-sabotage
Your brain is full of neural pathways that are responsible for your thoughts, habits, behaviors & actions. And like well-trodden paths or highways, you’ve been using them for some time, so much so, many of your habits, thoughts and actions are automatic.
So, when you decide you’d like to lose 10lb and suddenly start going to the gym every morning – this odd, new behavior is completely out of whack with your new behaviour.
It’s like driving on the same highway every morning and then suddenly deciding to take a new route which takes you off the smooth highway and down a dirt road. It’s hard to drive down, full of uncertainty, and right out of your comfort zone.
And so we revert back to the safety of what we’ve always known and get back on the highway. Ahh, we can breathe again, what a silly idea it was to try a new route! Maybe we can try again tomorrow instead.
And so you see, engaging in self-sabotaging behaviour is a natural reaction to change.
We’re literally creating new neural pathways in our brains. We desire the new, yet we’re still wired for the old.
And until we’ve rewired our lovely brains for the new, we’re going to keep coming up against resistance, worry, confusion and a whole host of other negative emotions that make us feel yucky and like we’re not making any progress anyway, so we might as well give up.
But take this as a GOOD sign – it means you ARE making progress – you are in the process of carving new thoughts and behavioural patterns, which is the crucial time where you need to keep going and NOT give up which is what we will address in the next section.
How To Overcome Self-sabotage In 6 StepsDefine Your Goal
1.Define Your Goal
Write down the goal you want to achieve and make it time-bound. For example, I will write a book in the next 6 months.
2.Break It Down Into Mini-Goals
Break down your goal (as best you can) into smaller, more reachable goals.
I will write one chapter per month.
I will write 25 pages per week.
I will write 5 pages per day (5 days a week)
3.Write Your Daily Actions Down
Next, you need to make sure your daily actions are written down the night before so you can simply look and then do, reducing the mental fatigue of not knowing what you need to do that day.
4.Take The Action
Next, just do the action. Even if you’re not sure of the exact thing you need to do (for example if you’re writing a book & aren’t sure what to write), just start, and the rest will come to you.
Use the ‘5-second rule; 5-4-3-2-1…GO!
5.Be Held Accountable
This last part will add an extra layer to your success. If you can find someone to hold you accountable to your goals – you will have more chance of completing them.
And it doesn’t have to be tricky, find someone you trust and who is supportive (& willing). Tell them your goals each week along with if you achieved last weeks goals. I cannot state how important this step is.
6. Constantly Visualise Your Success
Researchers show that whether we do something or imagine it, our brain cannot tell the difference.
So if you want to win your subconscious mind and those self-sabotaging behaviors by carving new neural pathways – and you can improve your chances of this greatly with visualisation.
A. Keep visualizing your success – what it will feel like to attain your end goal, how you will be, etc.
B. Visualise doing your mini-goal with ease – notice how easy it is, how great you feel afterwards, the sense of achievement.
This way you’re able to carve in the habit much quicker because your brain cannot tell the difference between when you’re doing the action or just thinking about doing the action.
Understand it takes time to create new pathways in your brain (through action and visualisation). That you’re stretching yourself out of your comfort zone and there is going to be some growing pains.
So don’t beat yourself up, it is human nature but you must take 100% responsibility. If you know you aren’t taking the action, have someone hold you accountable, along with other the steps above and your self-sabotage will be transformed into success.