So many times we insert a caveat to our goals and actions. It sounds like this: “I would but… ” Or “I’m probably not going to be good at this.” “I’m fine without… ” We essentially create these tiny loopholes that free us from expectations, accomplishments, or commitments.
The hardest thing is that we often don’t even realize we’re doing it! We have become pro’s at these little self-sabotaging mechanisms. Unfortunately, if you are every going to improve yourself or have success, you are going to have to ditch this behavior. So let’s lay out a few common ones.
First is the “support based” self-sabotage. You approach your family and friends with statements like “Isn’t this just crazy, I don’t even think I should be doing it.” Or “I know you’re probably not going to like my new boyfriend/job/whatever.” Then what happens is those around you do exactly what you told them they should do and you feel disappointed and unsupported. This is insanity, and yet we do it all the time. We insecurely feed people the emotion we are afraid they will have. Then naturally they have that exact reaction, and we act all bent out of shape about it. You are essentially asking people to ignore everything you are saying and how you are acting, and rise above all of it to be supportive. Not going to happen.
Instead, project what you want. Believe in what you are doing or don’t do it. And give people a chance to support you. If you aren’t positive about something, why should they be? So let’s try this again. “I just got this really unique job opportunity that feels exciting!” And, “I can’t wait for you to meet ____! He is a wonderful artist and is very kind.” See now I would want to meet her/him too!
Second, is the “everyone is doing it” self-sabotage. This is when you rationalize a dumb behavior or poor attempt based on the masses. You will notice this type of verbiage, “Everyone get’s car loans, people do it all the time.” Or “I’m not the only person struggling with working out.” This tends to put off a “what the hell” vibe and severely limits your ability to make a good decision. It’s also almost always true. People really do get car loans all the time, however, that doesn’t mean you should.
When you find yourself slipping into the land of “everyone else,” remember everyone isn’t you. You need to decide if you should be getting in debt. You need to workout because you want to and need to, not because of what other people are doing. Find what you want and don’t rationalize it away by what the masses are doing. The masses are rarely right.
Thirdly, I present the “it’s not that bad” self-sabotage. “I’m not that overweight.” “He’s not that abusive to me.” “When I get to THIS point, I’ll start… ” “I don’t smoke that much.” “I really only eat out a few times a week.” “I don’t have too many credit cards.” Do I need to go on? We basically very forgivingly recognize that we aren’t THAT in trouble with whatever habit we are struggling with.
I suggest to fix this we own up and acknowledge whatever problem we are trying to justify. When you hear yourself saying these things, stop immediately and instead say, “I’m not comfortable with where I’m at, I am going to move forward with fixing it.” Don’t even let yourself continuing with the logic. Turn it around quickly and with direct language.
Finally, there is the “I’ve always” self-sabotage. You know the ones. The ones where you’ve apparently always been a certain way so there is no chance you could possibly do it now. Here’s my personal favorite: “I’ve never been a good test taker, so I’m not going to do very well.” Set the bar really low and you will never really fail! That’s what all the quotes on success say right?
Not even close. If you’re looking to achieve, then you cannot predict your failure. Instead try saying things differently. “I know this information and I’ve studied hard, I’m sure I’ll pass.” You will not believe the difference. Whatever you say you will do, is most likely what the outcome will be.
I hope this will help you see the little ways you hold yourself back! It is amazing what we keep ourselves from being able to do. For more on this, check out ditchingdumb.com. We also provide a manual on change called Leveraging a Lifestyle. We want you to be and accomplish everything you WANT!