2021 is dancing upon us and many people will be keen to jump on the ‘New Year’s resolutions’ bandwagon. That’s all well and good, I’m all for taking control and creating the life of your dreams, but I thought it was worth considering self-sabotage for a moment. It is really common to inexplicably lose enthusiasm and motivation, especially when it comes to the most impactful and transformative goals. Why is it so easy to go off the boil after revving yourself up for a project or endeavour, a habit change or starting something new? Even when you know, in your heart of hearts, that this somethin’ somethin’ will be good for you – enhance your happiness, success or whatever your goal – the passion or motivation can soon dwindle. Strange, huh?
When we want to make a change, be it bringing in something new or stopping something old, it helps to remember that we have been somewhat comfortable as we are for a while now. Psychologist Jeremy Dean tells us that it takes ‘21 days to form a habit’, and many of us have been doing what we want to quit for more than 21 days, let’s face it. So how do we change our programming?
A big cause of self-sabotage is what we therapists call ‘Limiting Beliefs’. These are thoughts, often that we are largely unaware of, that talk us out of things by telling us we are not good enough, that we won’t succeed, blah blah blah – you get the picture, I’m sure. They can also lead us into harmful behaviours in a similar way, for example continuing to use drugs or smoking. They are super sneaky, often quieter than conscious thoughts, then before you know it, you’re off the wagon and then you feel worse about yourself than when you started. These limiting beliefs are tied to your core values, often brought about in childhood, so they’ve been with you for as long as you can remember. Some embed themselves later in your life because your brain believes these limiting beliefs to be serving or protecting you in some way. Might sound counter-intuitive when it comes to something you know to be harmful that you, your conscious mind, wants to drop. Surely your brain can’t think it’s better to be a smoker or to overeat? Well, yes it can but it will be a complex network of stories and neurons at play.
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?
If you are a self-sabotager, the most powerful thing you can do for yourself (and the changes you want to manifest) is to be honest with yourself and shine a light on those hidden thought patterns. Make yourself aware of how your core beliefs and automatic conditioning are ruling the roost, because that is what may be holding you back from achieving what you consciously want.
When we identify our self-limiting views and break the habits that do not serve us, we can then begin to establish constructive and healthy behaviours from a place of self-love and worthiness instead of beating ourselves up to get to a goal ASAP. Then you are in a position to feel a greater sense of peace, easiness in the flow of your life and freedom to create what you really want with an awareness of why you desire it– it is essential that you are doing it for you and NOT because you think you are not enough or because people will like you more etc.
GOOD NEWS though! Self-sabotage is not your fault, it’s just your programming and you can change it. Some of this programming runs so deep that we can’t identify it in a blind spot, but with the right therapist you can find and change any behaviour that is standing in your way and allow you to welcome and accept your growth and success. In the meantime, below are some tips to help you on your journey. Dear heart, I wish you well!
- Start small – If you want to get fit don’t think you’re going to spend 3 hours’ a day in a gym from day one. It’s just not realistic.
- Be okay with the journey not just focussed on the destination – yes goals help you stay on track but you will discover much about yourself ON THE JOURNEY. This a great opportunity to learn about yourself and that stuff is the gold! Self-awareness is empowerment and the building blocks that will improve your life permanently.
- Get clear on why you want it – It’s got to be for you, to make a difference to how YOU want to feel. Example; Don’t lose weight to attract a partner, know you are enough and desire the weight loss because it is what you want.
- Keep a journal – it helps to get your thoughts and feelings out about your new endeavour so they don’t eat away at you inside your head.
- Remember why you started – write a list or make a collage of pictures that you can easily get your hands on if you feel like throwing in the towel.
- Find time – Make space for calm. Sometimes your brain needs a break! Take a nap or meditate. I have meditations on my YouTube channel ShamanicHeartspace