Get Out Of Your Own Way: How To Overcome Self-Sabotage
Here’s a question: have you ever set yourself a goal, made really steady progress towards it, and then suddenly, almost without noticing, you find yourself slipping back into old habits that threaten to derail everything you’ve worked so hard for?
Maybe you’re on a mission to make new friends and have been taking every opportunity to get out and socialise but suddenly you feel curtailed by a sudden and unexplainable lack of confidence. Perhaps you’re working towards landing some new clients in your business but, when it comes to marketing yourself, you find you’re procrastinating on every single project.
Sounds like you’re self-sabotaging. But don’t despair. Self-sabotage is actually a sign that you’ve made really great progress, and a fear-based part of you is simply reacting to your success by doing its utmost to protect you from change.
This fear-based part of you can halt your progress in lots of different ways. It can be really obvious or it can be really sneaky and hidden. Either way, self-sabotage, if left unchecked, can steer you away from your goals.
Why do we self-sabotage?
Great question and the answer will help you move forward. Self-sabotage is the process of undermining your own goals. It’s something you’d never intentionally choose to do. None of us would deliberate stall our progress towards our goals, but our ego self wants to keep us nice and safe.
See, the ego, the fear-based part of our brain, perceives anything outside of our comfort zone as a threat, even if that thing makes us happy. If it’s unfamiliar, the ego will do its best to sabotage your progress and hold you back. It’s a protective mechanism that can keep us safe from actual dangers as much as it can keep us stuck from achieving the things we desire. That is, if we let it.
There can also be a little something called ‘cognitive dissonance’ at play. This concept is best summed up as the mental struggle between two conflicting ideas: for example, say you’ve set a goal to land a salary increase of 10 per cent but your family never had money when you were growing up and you don’t feel worthy of it now.
On a psychological level, you don’t feel deserving of the salary increase, and there’s a disconnect between the person you want to become and the beliefs you hold about the person you are now.
Put simply, our self-limiting beliefs often come to the surface the closer we get to our goals and we often respond with destructive habits to protect us from the pain of failure.
Here are some examples of self-sabotaging behaviours:
- Procrastination: Are you doing everything in your power to avoid working on that important work project or getting out the door to go to the gym? Yep, that’s self-sabotage at play.
- Commitment issues: It happens in relationships too. Have you ever made a new friend or started a new relationship and suddenly felt the urge to run in the opposite direction or push the other person away?
- Constant worry & doubt: Hello, overthinking! Just as you’re making headway on an important goal, you might start to question if you deserve it, fret about whether you really want it, or notice your inner critic has gone into overdrive.
- Indulging in bad (comfortable) habits: Think blowing your monthly wage on an unnecessary purchase when you’re about to hit your savings target or ordering a takeaway when you planned to have a salad.
- Giving up: Sometimes when the going gets tough, the tough throw in the towel.
You might think that self-sabotage is a losing battle and that your determination and motivation are no match for the ego, but, jump up and down with joy, because you can move through it. Here’s how…
How to overcome self-sabotage
Be on the lookout for it
There’s actually two types of self-sabotage: conscious and unconscious, and it’s the latter one that’s particularly sneaky. While we might be able to easily spot missing our third workout in a row or notice when we’re procrastinating, unconscious self-sabotage is a little harder to spot.
Maybe you’ve suddenly noticed your progress has stalled in a certain area or something that once felt easy, joyful and fulfilling has become a source of stress.
Committing to a daily journaling habit can help you uncover destructive patterns and spot when your ego is doing its best to hinder your progress. What self-sabotaging behaviours are currently holding you back and what’s triggering them?
Maybe you’re in a new relationship but are so uncomfortable being close to someone that you’re doing your utmost to push the other person away, or you’re finally making headway in your business but suddenly feel plagued by feelings of self-doubt.
When you suspect self-sabotage is at play, take five to ten minutes every day to free-write in your journal and get analytic. Ask yourself, why might my subconscious mind perceive this goal as unsafe? Why might it be trying to protect me? You might just be surprised at what comes up.
Respond in a new way
Now that you know what’s triggering your self-sabotage and how these destructive habits are holding you back, it’s time to put that freshly gleaned insight to good use. Ask yourself, how could I respond to my self-sabotage triggers in a better way?
Always overindulge in foods that make you feel bad when you feel stressed? Maybe you could go for a walk to destress instead. Often find you procrastinate on your most important tasks? Perhaps you could give the Eat That Frog method a go. The Journal by The Head Plan and Roxie Nafousi gives you oodles of space to work through this process in more detail.
While you work through this important step, tap into feelings of worthiness. We often self-sabotage because we don’t feel worthy of our goals, and recognising this is a crucial step in moving forward.
How do you cultivate feelings of worthiness, you ask? You could keep a list of your accomplishments, use our Mirror Markers to repeat daily empowering statements about yourself, or learn to set boundaries that protect you.
The most important step of all, however, is treating yourself with unconditional love. Make a commitment to love and nurture yourself every single day.
Stick with your priorities
Overcoming self-sabotage means getting comfortable with discomfort. It means choosing to keep going even though it feels difficult.
When you need an extra push of motivation to move forward, turn to the long and short term goal pages in your Head Plan Productivity & Wellness Journal and remember your ‘why’. What are you working towards and why?
Next, focus on the small daily actions you can take that don’t feel so scary or intimidating. Your ego fears change and if you change too much too quickly, it can freak out. What daily habits can you commit to today that stretch you out of your comfort zone without overwhelming you?
Here’s the really good news: The more you stick with those habits, the more ingrained they become. Pretty soon, your ego won’t want to fight against your new behaviours because they’ll feel normal, natural, and safe.
You might think destructive behaviours are a sign that you’re weak, unworthy or destined to fail, but you’re none of those things. See, self-sabotage is a normal part of the journey towards your goals. Almost everyone will come up against it at some point or another while in pursuit of their desires. The good news is, you can reframe it with a change in perspective.
We often see setbacks as a negative, but they are essential for our growth. Moving past these blocks allows you to grow into the person you are destined to become. They alert you to limiting beliefs and give you an opportunity to change them.
When self-sabotage feels insurmountable, recognise the progress you’ve already made and remember this is just a little bump in the road and you’ll overcome it like you have so many others.
The only person stopping you from achieving your goals is YOU. That’s good news because it means everything you’ve ever wanted is within your grasp and within your control.
Each and every one of us has deeply ingrained thoughts that can hinder our progress. It’s the very reason some areas of our lives often feel needlessly difficult. Maybe you struggle to manifest a loving partner because deep down you don’t really feel worthy of love. Perhaps you’ve always had a hard time establishing a healthy money mindset.
We’re here to tell you something: those tricky areas are a result of the beliefs you hold about yourself and the world. Every word you say and every thought you think establishes your beliefs, and it is these beliefs that manifest your reality.
Limiting beliefs block us from achieving the things we want. But don’t fret, because that’s where mantras come in. And lucky for you, we’ve teamed up with Roxie Nafousi once again to bring a transformational 52-card deck of mantra cards that can shift your mood, raise your vibration, and eliminate those limiting beliefs.
This beautiful card deck includes 52 inspirational mantras that were carefully selected by Roxie herself so you always have an empowering statement right at your fingertips: no need to come up with your own.
We’re certain this deck of mantra cards is going to raise your vibration and take you on a revolutionary journey of healing, but first things first…
What’s a mantra?
For the uninitiated, mantras are simply positive, empowering phrases that you can repeat out loud or in your head at any time. Sometimes known as affirmations, The Psychology Dictionary defines them as:
“A brief phrase which is spoken again and again in an effort to plant seeds of happy and positive notions, conceptions, and attitudes into one’s psyche.”
Their power is profound but easy to understand. Mantras send positive messages to our subconscious. Repeated often enough, these mantras become our automatic thoughts. Over time, they become our beliefs and ultimately shift our reality for the better.
Roxie explains it best. She says, “Mantras work by sending positive messages to the subconscious, which is where self-worth, self-belief, and our capacity for self-love, really live. Our subconscious mind is said to obey the conscious mind; so whatever you think or say, your subconscious will believe it to be true, and react accordingly.”
That means your mood and mindset are in your hands. Approximately 95% of our thoughts and behaviour patterns are said to come from our subconscious mind; mantras ensure you’re making this integral part of the brain work to your advantage.
But don’t just take our word for it. Because, get this, there’s a tonne of both medical and scientific research that backs up the power of mantras.
One study for example found that repeating mantras produces physical changes in the brain. Researchers discovered that mantras could rewire brain networks and result in positive behaviour changes.
Other studies have found that mantras are key to overcoming stress and making gradual improvements in our health and self-image. There’s even proof to suggest they can accelerate physical healing.
All it takes is uttering these empowering and powerful phrases on the daily. Roxie has hand picked her favourite mantras to make this process as simple as possible for you to adapt into your routine. So, here’s how to get the most of your mantra card practice…
How to make mantra cards work for you
Repeat, repeat, repeat..
When you pull a mantra card be sure to repeat it five times there and then and remember to take it with you throughout the day. Anytime a niggling doubt or harsh self-criticism pops into your head, repeat your mantra again and again.
Feeling a little uncomfortable? That’s okay. In fact, it’s totally normal to feel a little strange when you first start your mantra practice. Often, that’s because we’ve been saying less than empowering things to our selves for so long.
“For most of us, our negative thoughts speak to us automatically; they have been plaguing our minds for so long that we are actually comfortable in their presence,” explains Roxie.
“In fact, it feels more uncomfortable to speak to ourselves in empowering and loving ways. We have to make a conscious decision to notice them, stop them, and then replace them. Mantras are an easy way for us to do this.” Just keep going.
Master the art of self-love
The best way to amplify your mantra practice is to combine it with The Journal by Roxie Nafousi and The Head Plan. Mantras and self-love go hand in hand and this 12-week guided journal is all about improving the relationship you have with yourself and identifying the thought patterns that have held you back.
It’ll help you see where those limiting beliefs of yours have come from and empower you to take strides forward. Once you are aware of the areas you want to work on, you might like to pick a card from the deck that really resonates with the part of you, you want to heal.
Here’s a pro tip: keep that card with you throughout the day and repeat it as often as you can. Pin it to your Vision Board or place it on your desk as you work. You might like to set reminders to do this, add the words to your phone lock screen, or use a prompt from your daily routine, like showering or boiling the kettle, to remind you.
As you go through this process, track your progress in The Journal. You’ll be amazed at how your beliefs evolve and how aware you become of your thoughts throughout the day.
Live and breathe them
Here’s the thing: mantras aren’t a onetime thing. They are a self-development tool and a continuous practice that will allow you to heal your subconscious mind if you let them.
That means making mantras a daily practice by keeping your mantra cards nearby: pop them on your coffee table, desk or next to your bed. It means turning to your mantra cards, when you hear negative self-talk that’s trying to sabotage you or an inner critic who’s starting to judge.
Most of all, it means sticking with it, even if you don’t believe what you’re saying initially. Here’s Roxie’s advice:
“The beauty of mantras is that your subconscious will believe it even if you (initially) don’t. I know that for many of you reading this, you may feel silly saying ‘I am perfect exactly as I am’ when you don’t feel in that moment that you are. That’s totally normal, but don’t worry, keep saying it. One day soon, you will say it and you will feel it and you really will believe it.”
Shuffle the deck, change your life…
The simplest hacks are often the best ones. And that’s certainly true of mantras. Every time you speak you have a choice to pick words that empower you or tear you down. Putting mantras into practice can feel uncomfortable to begin with, but it reaps dividends, and in time, those inspiring words won’t feel silly or untrue, they’ll become automatic and your whole world will shift as a result.
So, reach for your mantra card deck and let your intuition be your guide. A healed version of you is waiting.