The following article is being reproduced with permission of its author, Kate Towell. Kate is a holistic wellness counselor who supports individuals to create the balanced, vibrant life they imagine.
Self-sabotage is one of the most common factors that I see leading to the derailment of a person’s wellness goals. Breaking the cycle of self-sabotage is tough. In my coaching practice I see my clients struggle with overcoming old destructive patterns all the time.
What is self-sabotage? Self-sabotage is an unconscious behavior or obstruction that hinders your own cause or endeavor. You consciously have a desired outcome but you work against yourself unconsciously.
We have all done it. When you first start a new wellness journey you feel strong and are super motivated— and then all of a sudden you find yourself at the end of a stressful day skipping your yoga class and emptying a bottle of wine instead. Sound familiar? You feel excited about your plan but before you know it you are falling back into old habits and hating yourself for it.
A few ways self-sabotage can manifest:
- Emotional eating
- Mindless eating
- Creating drama in relationships
- Over-indulging in alcohol
- Opting out of self-care
- People pleasing
- Saying yes when you mean no
- Over scheduling
- Refusing help when you need it
- Down playing your talents and not celebrating success
- Doing what seems comfortable over what is needed
- Doing what is easy over what is best for you
Here are 3 key steps to break free from self sabotage:
1. Know your triggers and identify your patterns.
As with most unwanted habits, self-sabotage often follows a predictable pattern. Awareness of your triggers will help you recognize your patterns so you can break the cycle. A key to uncovering these patterns is notice when you justify behaviors to yourself or others.
What are you triggers? Is it work stress? Relationships or family? Certain social situations? How do you sabotage? Do you binge watch TV? Drink in access? Skip exercise and other self-care?
2. Know your why.
In order to change your behavior there must be a positive intention motivating you. If you’ve worked with me or taken workshops from me then this is familiar. We always start with why. Your why must be clear and compelling. Get super connected to your vision for yourself. Ask yourself how do you want to feel? What will your life be like when you achieve your goal? Hold that positive vision for yourself and recommit to your goals daily. This will give enormous strength to your resolve when you’re faced with temptation and make self-sabotage far less attractive. The more you re-enforce the positive vision you hold for yourself the less likely you will be drawn into old destructive patterns.
3. Treat yourself with Love.
As the Buddha said, “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Self-defeating behaviors are often attached to negative self talk and a harsh internal critic. Learn to be kind and compassionate toward yourself. To achieve your beautiful vision for yourself, you have to believe you deserve it! If a part of you believes that you don’t deserve it or that it isn’t possible for you, you will self-sabotage. Bottom line is to love, respect and accept yourself.
Wishing you Vibrant Wellness.