Do you struggle with self-sabotage? This blog is for you.
Self-sabotage is a huge frustration with many of my clients. They have goals, a picture in their head of how it should go, and when they start to backslide into old habits they struggle to see that IT’S NORMAL and part of the process. Self-sabotage is your brains way of protecting you from perceived danger. Wait what? What you see as achieving your goals, your brain sees as a threat to your safety. Your current daily habits (even if they aren’t something you’re proud of) are normal and comfortable. They are safe. Even if you know they aren’t serving you. Here are 3 Reasons you self-sabotage and how to start making long-term change.
1) Diet Mentality and Your Beliefs on Weight Loss: your beliefs on “how” to achieve your goals. You associate weight loss with restriction, hating yourself, starving, miserable, restriction, etc. You find yourself reaching for a new diet when you see a bad picture, feel shame, or panic. You don’t think you can reach your wellness goals without rules and a plan to adhere to. If you think the only way to reach your goals is through misery, you will get sick of it and seek out the normal comfort and rewards in place of the threat (aka misery). Can you see why negative experiences with weight loss can contribute to not wanting to stay with something?
How to change that? Create a process you enjoy and are willing to do 10 years from now. If you find yourself going through the diet cycle over and over there is a glitch in the system.
2) Perfectionist Thinking: You describe yourself as all or nothing, on or off the wagon, you don’t think you can reach your wellness goals without rules and a plan to adhere to. Perfectionism breeds shame, inaction and fear.
How to fix it: Meet yourself where you’re at with compassion and commit to what you will actually do. Work towards developing a growth mindset and be open towards failure as a learning experience rather than a reason to beat yourself up and quit. Start with something that seems too easy. If you are constantly having to fight with your brain about cravings, moving your body or following through; chances are what you are doing is unsustainable. Do what you are willing to do NOW and make sure it’s something you would be doing 10 years from now.
3) You are waiting for motivation, willpower, a Monday, an event to inspire you into action. All the motivational quotes in the world will fail you if you are waiting for the right time or the next best thing to get started. Instead, start where you are. Action leads to motivation, not the other way around. By ditching the “woo” and focusing on sustainable habits you can end the battle for motivation and willpower once and for all.
How to fix it: Stop relying on motivation and start building habits. In James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits” he shares his formula derived from the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. The Habit Loop consists of The Cue, The Craving, The Response, The Reward. Each of these components is the driving force behind our behaviors (even the less stellar behaviors). By applying the habit loop to your health goals you’ll be able to break habits you don’t like and build new ones. Habits also give you flexibility and choice, rather than relying on emotion which can be turbulent at best. See exactly how to make an exercise habit HERE.