Why do we self-sabotage ourselves?
Have you ever set goals only to find yourself procrastinating from actually achieving them?
Do you tend to diminish your own success?
Do you hear two completely different voices in your mind that want totally different things?
Self-sabotage is any action that gets in the way of your intentions and goals. There are countless ways we sabotage ourselves. The most common ones are procrastination, stress eating and self-medicating with alcohol or drugs.
At first it may even seem that these strategies to make yourself feel better work perfectly well, as you probably do feel calmer and more relaxed just after you had that bar of chocolate or binge watched that whole TV show in one go. But when they become your daily routine, they will build a thick shell of self-defeat around you, and you might find it difficult to break that shell and regain your inner strength and confidence.
So why do we do it?
Here are a few reasons why we get in the way of our own goals and dreams:
Low self-worth – You might set ambitious goals for yourself and create a beautiful vision of your future. You might even start to achieve your goals, but if you don’t believe that you actually deserve them, your actions will match your beliefs sooner than later. It is called cognitive dissonance.
As human beings, we generally like to be consistent so our actions tend to be in sync with our belief system and our values. When they aren’t, we will do our best to make them in sync again. So even when you start to succeed and achieve your goals, but deep in your heart you still feel worthless and inadequate, you will do whatever you can to make that dissonance disappear.
All of this might be happening on a subconscious level to your own surprise why you are making so much effort to get in your own way.
Familiarity – Choosing consistency is far less scary than leaving your comfort zone in the pursuit of your dreams. Perhaps you are not very happy with your life situation right now but at least you know it well. You’ve probably been there your whole life and while it is far from ideal, it is familiar, and familiarity is safe. You won’t find your dreams there though.
Inner conflict – Imagine such a scenario: A part of you wants freedom and enjoys your life as a single person but there is also a different part of you who wants to settle down so you get into a new relationship and this part of you is happy for a while. Then the part of you that craves freedom, rears its head again and you break up.
Or another scenario: There is a part of you that believes you deserve success in all areas of life. When this part is the dominant one, things start going very well. You achieve your goals, you meet your dream partner, you start to earn more etc. But after a while another voice in your head gets louder and louder and this voice is telling you that you are worthless and far from deserving all the good things that you have in your life. When this other, negative voice starts to be the dominant one, things start to go a bit wrong again.
Does it sound familiar?
These parts of us in conflict may be contradicting values and beliefs. Though all of our parts want the best for us, they sometimes get a bit confused and lost along the way. As we develop and collect various experiences, our perception and strategies to achieve our goals change as well. Some parts of us might get stuck in old strategies and that’s why we suffer from internal conflicts.
All these inner conflicts happen at a subconscious level and unless you seek help to resolve them, they might rule your life without you even realising what’s happening.
So what can you do about self-sabotaging behaviours and habits?
Identify self-sabotaging behaviour – Self-awareness is power. You can’t change what you are unaware of. To identify self-sabotaging behaviours, you need to become acutely aware of your daily habits, behaviours and actions, as well as the consequences of these actions.
Once you identify those behaviours that do not serve you, it is crucial to notice the triggers that might be causing them. These triggers might be people, places or specific objects. Ask yourself: How does this behaviour manifest in my life?
When you can answer this question, you can remove those triggers from your life, you will be better prepared to take conscious control over your thoughts and emotions and over your behaviour as welI.
Identify a new, more healthy replacement behaviour – Once you identified a behaviour that does not serve you well, think of a behaviour that you would like to replace it with.
Ask yourself these questions:
How can I react in a more useful way that will keep me on track with my goals
Why is this behaviour better in this situation?
What are long-term benefits for me to change this specific behaviour?
Practise the new behaviour so that it becomes your habit – The best way to implement a new behaviour is to imagine yourself behaving in a new way in a situation that used to trigger the negative behaviour. See as many details of this situation and feel the wave of positive energy going through your body as you feel that you overcame the old, limiting behaviour.
What you imagine with a lot of details, starts to be real for your mind. That’s how you will prime yourself to behave in a new, more impowering way.
Try these methods whenever you realise that you get in the way of your own success. And if you feel that there is a deeper, subconscious limiting belief that is blocking you from succeeding, message me and we can come up with the best strategy for you to move on with your life.