Do you feel like you constantly get in your own way?
Maybe you feel like you’re taking 3 steps forward and 2 steps back.
But for some reason, no matter how frustrated you get with yourself and no matter how many times you tell yourself ‘I’ll do it different next time’ you still keep getting stuck in the same cycle.
At this point, your mind has plenty of evidence that you can’t actually reach your goals because you’ve tried so many times. And you likely don’t trust yourself to truly succeed because every time you try you keep ‘messing it all up.’
After all of these years of running the same self-sabotage patterns with food, your career goals, and in relationships, you might be wondering…
“Is it even possible to change?”
“Can I really get out of my own way?”
The answer is YES.
But it’s not going to happen by ‘trying harder’ or learning more skills.
The number one reason why you keep getting stuck in self-sabotage is because of the way that you talk to yourself.
Think about it for a second.
When you make a mistake or when something feels hard, what do you say to yourself?
Do you say “you got this, keep going!”
Or does that sneaky voice inside of your head tell you that ‘you’re not smart enough’ and that ‘there must be something wrong with you’?
If you find yourself constantly being hard on yourself, it’s no wonder that you don’t have the motivation to follow through or to keep showing up.
The secret to overcoming self-sabotage is changing the way that you talk to yourself.
It’s about learning how to be compassionate, kind, supportive, and gentle with yourself.
One way you can approach this is by thinking about how you talk to yourself compared to how you talk to other people.
If your best friend was trying to start a business, and it was taking longer than she thought it should, what would you tell her?
If your mom was trying to lose weight and she missed a day of exercise, what would you say to her?
If your son or daughter went through a break up, what would you say to him or her?
It’s likely that you would say much nicer things to them than you are currently saying to yourself.
So how do you actually change your self-talk?
Practice this simple 5 step process when you notice that you are in a self-sabotage cycle.
Step 1: Awareness
Start to notice the conversation that you have in your mind when you feel frustrated or feel like you messed up.
Note: Try to catch your thoughts in the moment. If you are new to this practice, be patient with yourself. Even if you only notice later on in the day or the next day, you can still complete do this process as soon as you notice.
Step 2: Identify
Get clear on the specific thoughts you are having and write them down. This part is super important.
(If you don’t have a pen and paper handy in the moment, jot it down in your phone.)
Writing the thoughts down on paper will help you to see how hard you are being on yourself. It will be easier to shift your thoughts when you can actually see them in front of you.
Step 3: Reflect
Ask yourself, “would I say that to someone who I loved and respect?”
If the answer is no, then move on to Step 4.
Step 4: Visualize
Picture in your mind someone that you love standing in front of you. Imagine that they were saying the words that you wrote down in Step 2 to themselves. Notice how that feels.
Step 5: Re-frame
Change your inner dialogue by writing down a more supportive and empowering conversation that feels better to you.
Here are some examples:
“It’s okay if you made a mistake, what can you do differently next time?”
“Don’t worry, you can try again tomorrow.”
“Everything is going to be okay, you got this.”
Don’t worry, if this feels really uncomfortable and counter-intuitive at first, it’s totally normal.
If you’re not used to saying nice things to yourself, it might feel ‘cheesy’ or ‘fake’ at first.
If you keep practicing, it will get easier.
Just think about how long you have been running the old sabotage conversation in your head.
Every time you repeat the same self-sabotage conversation, you’re sending a signal to the neurons in your brain, which makes this familiar thought pattern easier to access.
As you start to use your self-compassion practice on a daily basis, you will start creating a new positive ‘neural network’ in your brain.
A neural network is a cluster of neurons that gets created when you repeat the same thoughts and habits over and over again.
Soon, your new thought patterns will become more familiar to your brain and you’ll start to notice that it’s EASY to follow through with any ideas or goals that you put your mind to!