In What Ways Do I Undermine My Progress?
Apart from giving too much attention to your excuses, there are a number of other habits or patterns of behaviour that can self-sabotage or undermine your own efforts. Initially it’s important to just become aware of what they are, because you can’t change anything until you are aware that it is happening.
Let’s look at three very common forms of self-sabotaging behaviour that tend to keep people stuck.
Perfectionism or ‘all-or-nothing’ type thinking
Many people tend to set the bar so high for themselves, that they are never really happy with their achievements, despite being generally very successful.
Which of these examples might apply to you?
I get angry with myself when I make a mistake
I don’t like to do things that I know I won’t do well
Nothing ever feels good enough – I could do better
I have high expectations of myself and others
I look for the bad in a situation and have a hard time focusing on the positives
Unfortunately this type of thinking can become a real barrier to achieving your goals. When you believe your efforts are never good enough, you are much more likely to give up. It’s actually a way of minimising disappointment. If you believe you are going to fail, subconsciously you’ll make sure you do, so you won’t be disappointed.
Fear of failure or of making mistakes
Guess what? You will never really achieve anything worthwhile unless you suck at it first!
Making mistakes is a normal and essential part of the change process. It’s simply unrealistic to expect that you won’t make a few (usually many) mistakes and experience a number of challenges and setbacks along the way. I can guarantee there will be times when you feel that you have taken one step forward and two steps back. Don’t allow these experiences to cause you to give up – progress, not perfection, is what we’re aiming for.
Failure really only exists in your mind. You only make it a reality when you choose to believe your thoughts and critical self-talk and give up trying. Failure is nothing more than a perception, a name, or a label you have given to some event or experience in your life.
Unfortunately, however, once you have labelled something this way, you become very critical, focus on the problems (rather than the solutions), lose motivation, and give up. Try to re-frame such events as ‘challenges’, ‘lessons’, or ‘learning experiences’, and you will suddenly find that you have more choices in how you respond. Giving up is no longer the only option. You now get to approach the situation from a far more productive, creative, curious, and solution-focused perspective.
When have I given up because I’ve felt that I have ‘failed’?
Am I willing to make a few (or maybe more than a few) mistakes on my journey?
Lack of permission for self-care
It’s your responsibility to look after your physical, mental and emotional health. Unfortunately, it’s so often the case that many people are very good at looking after the needs of others, but fail to take care of them-selves. When you do this you are actually sending the message to yourself that you are not worth it.
You absolutely must give yourself permission to become your number one priority. There is absolutely nothing to be gained from consistently sacrificing healthy eating, exercise, recharging time, rest and sleep in order to attend to the needs of others. When you can successfully satisfy your own needs first, you will be far better equipped to take care of everyone else, including your family.
Remember that responsible self-care is never selfish. There is simply no point wasting your energy on feeling guilty about something that will enhance your life and move you closer to what you really want. Without health and vitality (which you can only experience through self-care) you will never really get to do the things you want to do, be the person you want to be, and take care of those you truly love.
I should also point out the distinction between feeling love for your body and showing love for it. If you find it difficult to feel love for your body, that’s okay. I’m not asking you to somehow magically change the way you feel. But showing love for yourself and your body through your self-care actions, behaviours and habits is another matter altogether. Loving your body isn’t a prerequisite for taking care of it.
What commitments am I keeping for others?
How do I feel if I don’t meet these commitments?
So does that motivate me to honour them?
Have I made any commitments to myself regarding eating, exercise, relaxation or sleep?
Am I meeting these commitments?
If not, what is it costing me? (consider your weight, stress, sleep, diet, lifestyle, health, relationships etc.)
Am I willing to step up and make myself the number one priority?
What small commitment to myself can I make today?
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