THREE WAYS TO STOMP OUT SELF-SABOTAGE
For a more fulfilled, happier and meaningful life
Do you grab for that doughnut when you feel stressed? Do you tell yourself you’ll only have one slice of pizza and then end up eating the whole thing? Do you skip going to the gym and instead lounge on the couch and spend the time watching hours of mindless TV? Do you wake up late rather than get up early enough for a run through the park?
Are you a self-saboteur?
Like most people, you know you have to eat well and exercise regularly to be healthy, live with energy and have a great physique. And, of course, you want all those things. Everyone does. So why is it that your mind defaults to self-sabotaging behaviour as soon as you let your guard down?
Well, there are many reasons. Here are just a few:
Low self-esteem: You feel unimportant and not worth taking care of, as if you don’t deserve health and happiness. It’s easier to self-medicate with food, alcohol, drugs, shopping …You name it.
Poor self-image: Low self-esteem leads to a poor self-image and your head fills with self-defeating thoughts like, ‘I’m stupid’, ‘I’m unable to control my eating’, ‘Going to the gym is hopeless. I’m too fat and tired to work out’, ‘I’m a failure’.
Bad habits: Because you don’t value yourself, you have not taken the time and put in the effort to change your bad habits. As a result, you stop at a fast food place and eat junk food, rather than take the time to shop and prepare a home-cooked meal. You eat your food down in front of the TV and then fall fast asleep, rather than working out at the gym, or taking a brisk walk, run or bike ride through the park.
All these sabotaging bad habits doom you for failure. Why do you find it so hard to break out of them? Self-sabotaging becomes a safety mechanism – the brain’s way of preventing hurt by keeping you within your comfort zone.
Here are some ways to prevent selfsabotaging:
1. Accept your emotions: We all have negative thoughts. We all feel anger, sadness, regret, hate and resentment. Acknowledge that these negative emotions exist and learn to accept the full range of emotions you experience. Make friends with them. Once you stop resisting negative emotions and realise they’re just physical sensations, they’ll lose a lot of their power over you.
2. Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself. No one is perfect. Accept that you have flaws and move on from mistakes and failures. A single setback doesn’t mean all is lost. You can always bounce back and change if you practice a positive thought mindset.
3. Create strong ‘pain and pleasure’ motivators: The beauty of your mind is that it’s very susceptible to change. You can take advantage of this by building strong mental associations around each of your self-sabotaging behaviors. List all of the painful consequences as if you were to continue doing a certain negative behaviour (e.g. I’ll get fat, I’ll be unattractive, I’ll die younger etc.). Make sure you go really deep with this to bring up as much pain as possible. Now, if you reinforce these negative associations over and over again, soon you’ll find yourself avoiding those behaviours.
Do yourself a favour in 2016. Dare to take risks! Jump out of your safety net. Break through your comfort zone. Doing so will help you eliminate self-sabotaging behaviour.
You will live a more fulfilled, happier and meaningful life.
Andy Anderson is the CEO of Ultimate You. Using his three pillars of change methodology, mindset, nutrition and training, Andy has helped thousands of people to transform their mind, body and life outlook and become lean, energetic and healthy. Andy’s philosophy is that weight loss and fitness can’t be achieved just with a physical training program, mindset and nutritional habits also need to be addressed to achieve long term change in a positive way.