What’s the deal with self-sabotage? 

Does this situation sound familiar to you: 

You’ve been sooooo damn healthy all week – going for runs every morning, having nourishing salads for lunch each day, and fitting in a few meditation sessions to boot. You’re feeling really good until… Friday night hits, you’re tired and out of sorts, so you grab some greasy take-away and wash it down with a sugar laden soft drink (or bottle of wine!) and then tuck into a entire packet of chocolate biscuits while pinning ‘motivational’ stuff on Pinterest!! 

Hello, Self-Sabotage. There you are, AGAIN. 

I was wondering when you would rear your ugly little head! After trying so hard and doing so well, all of a sudden you feel like you’ve slid back to square one – all your efforts wasted, your spirits crushed, and your heart filled with guilt and regret. 

What is self-sabotage anyway? 

I once heard a story, that has stuck with me ever since. 

Picture this: There were two men. Both were going to the same markets on Saturday morning. Both left home at the same time, shopped for their fresh fruit and veggies, and then left around the same time. From any onlooker’s point of view, their experience of the markets that morning would have been the same. BUT… their experiences could not have been more different. You see, the first man left his house annoyed that HE had to go to the markets – why hadn’t someone else done the food shop? He was annoyed and irritable. He got to the markets and it had started to lightly rain. ‘Great,’ he thought, ‘Now it is raining. It’s going to be muddy and people are going to be even more pushy and annoying than usual.’ He kept thinking about how he always seems to get left with the fruit and veg that is just about to turn bad and he grumbled something to one of the famers who grumbled something straight back. He left thinking, ‘I knew it, the markets are total crap, what a waste of time.’ The second man left his house feeling grateful to have this time to go to the markets. When he gets there it is raining lightly. He thinks to himself how refreshing it is, and it seems to have created this very relaxed vibe at the markets. He loves the farmers and marvels at how fresh and colourful all the produce is. He smiles and tells one of the farmers how his girlfriend loves his pears, and the farmer chuckles and throws a few more in. And he leaves thinking ‘God I love the Saturday markets.’ 

Now there are many meanings to this story, but in relation to self-sabotage, the message is this: your mind will ALWAYS do what it needs to prove itself right! 

No kidding… Our minds are absolutely amazing like that! So if you have a belief playing somewhere in your mind (which you may or may not even be aware of) that you are not actually ever going to get really healthy, or that you’ll never actually achieve that beautiful vision of you being your brightest and happiest self, then it is most likely that you will sabotage yourself along the way!!!! 

And why the HELL do we do it? 

Honestly… To protect ourselves. If something seems scary – like a big goal or dream –then that means we are onto something that is going to get us to grow, stretch, shift our mindset and move us towards that bright vision of ourselves. But if there is limiting beliefs playing in the background of your mind – like failing at being the fittest and healthiest you have ever been because you just don’t think you’re good enough or deserve to be – then you will self-sabotage to (1) prove yourself right and keep you in line with that current limiting belief, and (2) to protect yourself (even though it is not at all going to actually help you). It will keep you stuck in your current comfort zone and situation and you clearly want something bigger, something better!!! Don’t feel like you’re alone on the self-sabotage bandwagon. We all do it from time to time. I remember recently, when I signed up to do a course and felt like maybe I was aiming too high to be with this incredible group of women. I kept thinking that I didn’t really belong with these amazing, talented ladies and started feeling really crappy about myself. And just like that, there was my sneaky little saboteur… But there is a way to STOP this self-defeating practice so that you can start chasing your goals and start living the life of your dreams. 

When you feel the urge to start self-sabotaging sneak into your mind, here are three things to do to get you back on track. 

1. Identify what you’re feeling and why. Awareness is key here, ladies (and gents, if you are reading too!). Start to put space between yourself, your thought process and the action. It might sound strange, but what I mean is to begin to watch yourself and instead of just ‘reacting’ mindlessly… take a moment… pause. Ask yourself ‘What just happened?’ ‘What was I just thinking?’ ‘What did that make me feel?’ ‘Is that real?’ ‘Is that even rational?’ And then, my love… make the choice that is most loving for you! 

2. Do something, do anything. Sometimes, one of the best things you can do, is TO DO anything – Break the pattern! Mix things up! Instead of reaching for that usual bag of chips and watching re-runs of ‘One Tree Hill’ or whatever it is that you do to sabotage yourself, DO something – ANYTHING – else. Wash the dishes, run a bath, go for a walk, make dinner, call your Mum…. Break that automatic tendency to sabotage. 

3. Get to know that inner saboteur badass To me, it feels like my inner saboteur is a robber. A big ol’ badass crim that tries to rob me of my dreams!! But once I get up close and personal with it, I realise that yeah, it’s still sneaky and badass at times, but it is trying to protect me. And I know now to use it as a sign that I have fear and limiting beliefs around whatever it is I am doing, and I get excited!! Because this means that I can clear that little sucker – I can let it go, acknowledge it, thank it and replace it with some positive self-affirming thoughts and be kinder to myself. 

Do you find yourself trapped in the self-sabotage cycle? What’s your sure-fire method for breaking free? Share with us in the comments below – I’d love to hear you stories. 

Love Jo xx