January 30, 2022

Are you Self Sabotaging?

Have you ever struggled over your incapacity to get enough done? Have you found yourself working towards an important goal only to fail or give up because you became overwhelmed? Perhaps you feel stressed and anxious at the thought of trying to achieve or complete something important which is leading you to constant procrastination?

Are you finding that your behaviour or attitude is interfering with your values and ability to accomplish your goals in life?

These feelings can create many overbearing emotions, leading to loss of sleep and generating thoughts of failure and doom, what's worse is these feelings can hinder your ability to manage your tasks and daily life thus even fewer things get done. It all becomes a vicious cycle.

The hard reality is, you may be the only thing that is creating this vicious cycle and chances are you're self-sabotaging and impacting your productivity. The real question is why are you doing it and how do you stop?  

What are the Signs?

There are many ways self-sabotage can manifest. Whilst these are unique and varied between individuals there are some recurring ones that many have in common, some being ;negative self-talk, poor self-care, avoidance, perfectionism and procrastination. These manifestations of self-sabotage are often led by fear, self-doubt and anxiety, and unfortunately challenge your own values and efforts to build the life you want.

Let's take a deeper look into some of these common self-sabotaging behaviours.

Negative self-talk – Often automatic and done subconsciously as a knee-jerk reaction to situations we encounter, we do this as a form of self-sabotage as it prevents us from believing that we can achieve our goals and that we have what it takes. It protects your fears.  

Procrastination and Avoidance ;The behaviour of stalling rather than jumping into the project at hand and lacking the discipline to get work done on time. There are many reasons someone may use this as an unknown self-sabotage tool. We may feel too overwhelmed by the task at hand, or like an imposter (link to helix blog on imposter syndrome) who doesn't have the skills to complete the work. We procrastinate or avoid the task by spending time perusing social media or news articles, going out with friends or watching tv. Sure, short term you feel comfortable, relaxed, avoiding the stress but ultimately it only adds to it and creates for a larger amount of anxiety which comes back to bite you in the future.

Poor Self-Care – Yes, this is also a form of self-sabotage! Lack of proper care for ourselves can prevent us from thriving in many aspects of our lives. This form of self-sabotage can include lack of sleep, not exercising, poor eating habits and avoiding seeing professionals (Dr's or Therapists) for physical and mental health challenges. We could also find ourselves self-medicating with alcohol and drugs or comfort eating.

Perfectionism – People who tend to overthink or need everything to be completely perfect. The self- sabotaging aspect in this is when we can't start or advance in a task for fear of it not being 100% correct or perfect. It can be self-defeating and prevent you from taking necessary risks or completing projects.

Tips to Stop Self Sabotage

The good news is that we can overcome self-sabotaging behaviours and habits, with practice and awareness.  

Here are some suggestions to try:  

Recognise the self-sabotaging behaviour - Can you pinpoint moments when you should have easily completed a task or made a decision but couldn't? Is there a behaviour, something you do or don't do that impedes on successfully achieving your desired results?  
Take some time to boost your self-awareness around this, try journaling to record your behaviours and thoughts and check in with yourself when you start to feel overwhelmed. As you gain more insight and awareness you can become more intentional about making the changes you require.

Set goals and develop an action plan to match ;Having goals can allow you to live with intention and help drive you in the right direction. Start with small, easy to achieve goals and create an action plan so you can clearly see what you need to do to get there. When creating these goals consider what will give you a sense of purpose, what will make you feel energized, what do you want out of your life?

Try the Pomodoro Technique – The Pomodoro Technique is done by creating focused 25 minute short, intense, work sessions with 5-minute breaks in between to promote prolonged concentration and put off mental fatigue. Many swear by it to stave off procrastination and avoid distractions like constantly wanting to check their phones.  

Positive affirmations – It's time to befriend yourself and nip negative thoughts in the bud with positive affirmations. Create your affirmations in the present tense and repeat them daily or write them down somewhere they will catch your eye to remind yourself. Connect this positive self-talk to what you want to accomplish.

Try a therapist – A Therapist can help guide you towards understanding yourself and can provide tools and tips to help control the self-sabotaging habits and change your minds way of dealing with life matters. A few types of therapy you could investigate that help with self-sabotage are:  
- Mindfulness based therapies ;(MBCT) (Learning how to be grounded and present in each moment, in turn helping you choose how to respond to problems or feelings that occur) (Find source)
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) (find a source about cbt)
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) -(Find source)

When it comes to self-sabotage not everyone does it in the same way, nor do they do it for the same reasons. It can also often look like something completely different; avoidance, creating conflict, procrastination and/or controlling behaviour. Take the time to work out what yours are and why you are doing it, then create some self-supporting behaviours to keep you on the right path.  

If you feel you are self sabotaging in business, book in a time with Sarah at Helix Planning. Together, she can help guide you and give you tools and pathways to change your habits and progress further with your business goals.


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