The question isn’t “Do you self-sabotage?”
it’s “How do you self-sabotage?”
It’s frustrating, but it’s extremely common among high-achievers… and those who would like to be.
Sabotage is quite a strong word; it means to deliberately destroy or obstruct something.
“But Jess”, I hear you say, “I don’t go around deliberately messing up my life. I don’t bury my head in the sand about money because I enjoy accumulating debt. I don’t become a bitch-troll-from-hell in relationships because I hate being in one. I don’t over-eat on purpose. It just happens.”
And there in that last sentence lies the very nub of the problem: “It just happens”. In these moments, we are a victim to our unconscious mind. I’ll come back to this in a moment.
Firstly, identify your favourite self-sabotaging behaviours
Take a moment to ask yourself (and be really honest) if you do, or have ever done, any of the following:
Avoidance, procrastination, making irrational decisions, relying on other’s opinions, double-checking, waiting for permission, displacement activities, over-preparing, perfectionism, emotional excuses (you just don’t feel like it, you’re too tired to focus), you’re too busy, or life just gets in the way etc. etc.
These are all forms of self-sabotaging behaviours; the things that we do, unconsciously and unwillingly, that reduce our chances of getting stuff done and feeling good about ourselves.
How are you currently sabotaging your goals?
Here are some of the most common self-sabotaging technique…tick all of your faves and add your own
Tidying your desk, office, clearing the kitchen drawer
Scrolling social media, stalking ex-boyfriends
Double-checking with others before making decisions
Waiting for permission you don’t need
Setting goals that aren’t specific enough
Setting goals that intimidate you
Using excises like ‘Mercury is in Retrograde’
Involving yourself in other people’s drama
Waiting for a response or information you don’t really need
Not keeping track of your cashflow
Slowly accumulating debt
Stop beating yourself up please…
As you know, self-sabotaging behaviours are the things you do that prevent you from achieving your goals, or that slow you down and delay your progress. I use the word ‘goals’ broadly here. By ‘goal’ I mean anything you would like to be, do, have, or create that you perceive as different or better than what you currently have.
You might want to be a senior executive in your company. You might want to do something challenging like climb Mount Everest. You might want to have something special, like own a luxury holiday villa. You might want to create something unique, like a sculpture or write a novel.
The fact that you’re reading this blog suggests that you know you self-sabotage and that you’d quite like to do something about it… and you’re in the right place!
Secondly, how does it make you feel?
In a word? Rubbish.
In lots of words? Frustrated, dissatisfied, anxious, inferior, overloaded, distracted, stuck, self-critical, not in control, suffocated, disempowered, overwhelmed, worthless.
I recently ran a workshop for a group of 16 women who run their own businesses. I asked this question and they managed to fill a flip-chart sheet full of unhelpful and brutally negative feelings within about a minute.
Feel free to list your own.
Third, what one thing would you like to be, do, have or create this year?
Perhaps you’d like a more enjoyable job, a higher income, to start a new project, a larger home, a healthier relationship, to start a family, be healthier, learn something new? If you have specific goals, take a moment to reflect and write down just one of them that you’d like to review (it’s just for you to see, and you can change them any time).
So what’s holding you back, baby?
Why aren’t you out there going after your dreams, making sh*t happen, confidently taking on the world and shaking things up for the better?… Here’s why not…
Your unconscious beliefs are holding you back
We have a collection of beliefs about ourselves that we’ve accumulated over the course of our lifetime. While some of our beliefs motivate us to be, do, have or create something other than our current situation, most of our beliefs about ourselves are discouraging.
And these discouraging beliefs, unfortunately, have more power than any positive things we believe about ourselves. (By the way, if you’ve not heard of the Inner Critic before, then you’ll like this).
The fact is that we have to pro-actively be kinder to ourselves to counter-act the Inner Critic and it’s unhelpful, unkind, negative messages. And this is not an easy task. The brain is very good at duping you into believing that you suck.
And your brain is also very good at believing what it think is true, so when it says…
“You’re so lazy you never see anything through“
it doesn’t reply with something helpful or reassuring like…
“Actually, if you look at the evidence you’ll notice that you’ve achieved quite a lot recently“.
Instead, it says…
“Yeah, you’re so lazy, you never finish anything, you wanted to get fitter but you haven’t been to the gym in weeks, you wanted to write that blog but you haven’t even started …”
And on it goes, convincing you that you’re worthless. Layering on the shame like thick layers of cement.
Until you remember that, actually, everything it says is BS.
Fourth, it’s time to break your self-sabotaging cycle!
The great news is that it’s possible to break this cycle, and there cute a few things you can do that will help you break your self-sabotaging cycle, including:
* Tune into your Inner Critic and limiting self-beliefs – becoming consciously aware of them will give you a sense of control and actually empower you to act in your best interest
* Identify your most powerful sabotages – be brutally honest with yourself here… you’re never going to grow more confident if you can’t face your shadows.
* Define what your success will look like – be specific instead of broad, think short and longer term, don’t get bogged down into too much detail about ‘how’ it will happen (it’ll just fire your IC up again!).
* Design your Shortcut to Success planner – don’t have one yet? Then Sign up to my next One-Day Hideaway and I’ll help you work through it.
Would you like to know more about how to “Stop Sabotaging & Find Your Focus”? Just scroll down for details of my next one-day Hideaway event in an exclusive corner of Islington, London, on 14th September.
Meanwhile, try out some of these methods and let me know in the comments below how you get on, or if you have any questions for me. See you soon!
How do you self-sabotage?
I’m asking women to answer 4 questions so that I can improve my offering when helping people overcome procrastination, self-doubt and anxiety. If you’d like to tell me your opinion, then follow this link to the super-short survey… it’s anonymous. I’ll be sharing the results soon.
Live Events – Join us!
Stop Sabotaging & Find Your Focus – One-Day Hideaway, London
Would you like to achieve so much more, but sometimes feel stuck?
Do your goals feel out of reach or overwhelming?
Would you like to stop procrastinating and be more focused?
I know how you feel. And I can help.
Whether it’s your business, your relationships, your health, or you’re just about to start a new project, the thing you most need right now is the inner confidence to commit to your goals.
Self-sabotaging is a tragedy
Self-sabotage is a set of unhelpful beliefs and behaviours that we aren’t always consciously aware of, and they hold us back from achieving our goals.
Self-sabotaging can make you feel anxious and frustrated, yet it just seems to be part of who you are and how you do things.
But you can change this
As a psychologist I know – from personal and professional experience – that you can change your behaviour. With greater self-awareness and some key techniques, you can begin to make choices that will positively impact your life.
You’re in for a treat
I run the occasional LIVE face to face ‘Hideaway’ events for women. Please see below for more information on each event.
On this one-day hideaway (it’s a cross between a workshop and a retreat) you’ll try different techniques to help to kick-start your progress.
They say that my facilitation style is “approachable, warm and friendly” and that my interactive workshops are “engaging and fun”. It’s my mission to help you get out of your own way and feel ready to take the next step.
What will you get?
You’ll learn simple yet effective exercises that will help you to …
* Tune into your Inner Critic and limiting self-beliefs
* Identify your most powerful sabotages
* Break the self-sabotaging cycle
* Discover how to shift from overwhelm to calm focus
* Define what your success will look and feel like
* Design your Shortcut to Success planner
* Build your resilience to anxiety
* Take home my ‘Tame Your Inner Critic Pocket Guide’ (designed by me, based on CBT)
* Try mindfulness and breathing techniques to help you reclaim your headspace
* Develop self-compassion in all aspects of your life
The price of this one-day hideaway also includes one 30 inute follow-up “Progress Call” to help keep you on track with your goals.
“I found the hideout on Eventbrite as I was actively searching for my next learning and development opportunity, and the hideout was just this. The group of women which Jess facilitated was supporting and empowering, seeing women share their stories, let out emotions and thank each other for their honesty. In the afternoon we broke into small groups and enjoyed our activities sitting on picnic blankets outside in the sunshine, which allowed further investigation of our self-sabotaging behavior and how we can overcome it. The day gave me focus and space to think objectively about my lifestyle, and awareness of how I hold myself back, which will help my future. Thank you Jess.”
Just WOW, from start to finish this was an amazing experience!
The venue was exactly like it said on the tin, a peaceful gem hidden away from the daily grind and everyone meting over refreshments made the group feel relaxed. Jess was full of energy and made the day feel positive and fun.
She was so engaging and managed to create a connection between the whole group with each person speaking frankly and made to feel heard. I think Jess used a variety of great tools to help us understand our Inner Critic but cleverly showed us how to dispute it and claim back self-confidence!
The meditation was a great note to finish on and so useful, I will definitely be looking into using it on a daily basis as I felt pure serenity. By using the Teeny Tiny Steps from the workbook after getting home, I felt motivated, moving towards achieving my goals with a sense of joy!
Everyone women needs a heavenly hideaway experience!”
“Jess held a beautiful space for women to share their feelings in their professional and personal lives. Her approach was practical and compassionate, and she created a safe environment for people to discuss their hopes and fears. The hideaway was in a stunning location and everyone benefitted from the time out to reflect and share ideas. I’d highly recommend Jess as a leadership coach, motivator and workshop facilitator”