Updated: Dec 3, 2019
We spend so much time talking about what will make us happier, but what we don't talk about is how to get there.
We all want to live a life that makes us happy. What about those of us who deal with anxiety or depression? Or being just plain burned out? Plenty of us, myself included, do what we love and still suffer with not so great symptoms on a regular basis. However, so many of us try to find the next best thing or the next quick fix. A cure all to make us feel good and feel happy. We do this instead of fixing the actual problem. I call this the band-aid fix.
I realized not long ago that I was doing this. That I have been doing this for YEARS. It was such a big wake up call. Instead of doing the things that bring me real joy, I was drowning my sorrows and emotions in things that numbed the pain. I literally had no idea.
I had no idea that I was putting myself in a cycle of self-sabotage.
What does this look like?
Well, let's start with distractions. I was the Queen of distractions- procrastination, perfectionism, unhealthy coping strategies (eating, partying, relationships, even purposely doing terrible at things out of fear of failure and judgement), and people pleasing. Yes, I will include people pleasing into that mix. Mainly for the sake that I was avoiding my own life and more focused on other's needs and happiness. Great way to take the focus off me right? Not to mention, I thought it made me feel better about myself...What?! NO! What were you thinking Alexa?! Talk about burned out and resentful. To add to my list of chronic self-sabotage was negative self-talk. I have literally downplayed my gifts and passions, thinking I was being humble or better yet not even realizing that I was CAPABLE of anything I wanted to accomplish. I told myself I couldn't do anything without even giving myself a chance.
In order to overcome self-sabotage and actually begin to make things happen in my life, I had to overcome some things...including fear of failure (thanks to my tribe).
There is absolutely nothing wrong with failure. In fact, one of my mentors mentioned one time that it is a good quality to have. Why? Because without failure, we have no room to grow. I was literally avoiding this like the plague. Failure seemed so embarrassing.
I realized that I was on this path of life avoiding anything and everything that could actually get me somewhere. To actually have goals and achieve them! I don't want to get older and look back regretting what I could have done, but didn't because I was too embarrassed or was too caught up in my old habits.
Maybe for you, this could look different.
Are you wondering what self-sabotage is or how you are sabotaging yourself? Here are a few signs for self-sabotaging behavior:
Negative self-talk- a habit of trash talking ourselves, downplaying gifts, tearing ourselves down before anyone else gets the chance
Procrastination- putting things off to protect us from the consequences of what could potentially happen
Perfectionism- the need to make things perfectly by spending more time focusing on little things when we can't see the big picture or to avoid failure
Unhealthy coping habits- stress and change are inevitable and how we handle them is what matters. Many of us will prioritize comfort over progress or again what I call the band-aid fix
Being stuck in fear- fear of failure, fear of success, fear of judgement, fear of commitment. The list goes on. Fear keeps us stuck
Now, when you ask yourself why you self-sabotage, ask yourself the following:
What do I tell myself when I start something new?
What do I tell myself when I wake up in the morning?
What do I tell myself when I look at myself in the mirror?
What am I doing in my life that is keeping me away from achieving better things?
What am I afraid of?
Now that you know, how do you stop?
Identify your self-sabotaging thoughts and replace them with thoughts of who you want to be
Pause and reflect on your words and actions through journaling, praying, meditating
Change your self-talk from negative to positive by affirmations (WRITE THEM DOWN. I don't care if they are posted everywhere. Put them where you can see them)
Upgrade your habits by starting small so you don't drain yourself (Remember: Baby Steps)
Upgrade your routines by prioritizing how you start your day to how you finish it
Set goals and dreams for your career, relationships, the kind of person you want to be, finances, health
Now that you have any idea of how to stop self-sabotaging, what will you do to remove some of these obstacles out of your life? Who will hold you accountable for removing them?
Good luck my friends!