When I look back on why I’m not where I want to be in life, all I see is my reflection. I only know this because of all the work I’ve been doing on myself lately. I consistently sabotage myself because I don’t believe enough in myself. Or, rather, I fall back into my habits that don’t serve me because it’s safe in my comfort bubble. But, honestly, I’m tired of this bubble. It’s boring and predictable.
Do you know what I mean? Are you a self sabotag-er too?
The following are ways I sabotage myself and how I’m learning how not to do that anymore. How can I be the best version of myself if I’m consistently sabotaging myself?
Sabotage #1 is seen in the form of procrastination, distractions, and busy work.
It’s so easy these days to distract ourselves when we feel stuck. It’s easy to pick up our phones and check email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. I’m guilty of the, “I feel stuck so let me get rid of this discomfort through distracting myself,” mentality. So how do we put down our phones? How do we step away from the email?
The tool has now become the master. And I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sit well with me. So I’ve decided to do something about it. If I’m working on my computer editing and revising a blog post, then I have my phone in another room. And there are ways I can block sites so I won’t be distracted when I’m working.
Or if you need to have your phone with you because you are working away from your desk or your home, then turn it off or put it on airplane mode and let those who may need something from you know why you’re doing it and how to reach you in case there is an emergency.
And let’s be honest, do we really need to check our email 5 times over the course of an hour? Is that emergency really an emergency? No and probably not.
Sabotage #2 is seen in the form of excuses and fear.
Boy, I sure can talk myself out of doing what I said I was going to do. For example, I set a goal to go to the Farmer’s Market the 1st Sunday of the month at the end of last year. And this year I’ve gone, oh, zero times. Why? Because of this dangerous combination: excuses, laziness, and fear. And what’s worse is that I know every time I talk myself out of it, my brain remembers and so the habit is reinforced.
What are some of the things I tell myself?
I received an email informing me of a Creative Morning’s event here in Orlando and registered to go as soon as I got the email (the event was this past Friday). But when I woke up my brain was all like, “It’s early. You didn’t get that much sleep so why don’t you just go back to bed? Networking makes you feel awkward and nervous so just save yourself from those feelings.” But I told my boyfriend I was going and knew if I didn’t push myself to do what I said I was going to do I would regret it. (And I went and it was, not surprisingly, not as bad as I told myself it would be.)
My other excuses include:
- “I don’t really feel like driving.” (Once I get in the car though, this goes away.)
- “It’s too far.” (I know it’s not and I drove all the way to Florida for school so..)
- “I don’t know anyone there.” (Well, didn’t know anyone before I moved here either.)
- “I don’t really feel like going by myself.” (But aren’t I worth it?)
- “I don’t want to offend anyone.” (I can’t please everyone. I can only do my best.)
- “Do I really have anything to say?” or “There’s better people in this space doing better work.” (I was recently reminded that no one can say it the way I can.)
Letting these thoughts and fears go unchecked allows me cop out of the promises I made to myself or justify (to myself) why my forward motion is moving at a snails pace. To combat this I know planning my day gives me clarity to focus and push through those fears. I know that I have to check my thoughts when they arise so that they don’t get out of hand. A great tool is the 5 Second Rule (Thanks Mel!).
Sabotage #3 is not showing up.
We sleep too much. Or we sleep too little. And that damn alarm really just needs to let me sleep. I know that I need 8 hours of sleep to feel refreshed (but can get less and not feel dead). And I know I should go to bed earlier but that doesn’t always happen. I don’t snooze my alarm though, I just turn it off and go back to sleep or just lie in bed debating with myself about getting up.
It’s one thing to take inactive breaks because of addictions to social media, and it’s another thing to not even show up. It’s too hard, maybe. Not putting in the work, hiding behind your fears is easier. Minimal effort gets you minimal rewards.
I know my time is limited because I have a full time job and this blog needs to get worked on in the mornings so I’m forcing myself to get better at this. What’s helped is the 5 second rule (mentioned above) and this quote by Marcus Aurelius:
“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work—as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for—the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?
—But it’s nicer here…
So you were born to feel ‘nice’? Instead of doings things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?
—But we have to sleep sometime…
Agreed. But nature set a limit on that—as it did on eating and drinking. And you’re over the limit. You’ve had more than enough of that. But not of working. There you’re still below your quota. You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it, they even forget to wash or eat. Do you have less respect for your own nature than the engraver does for engraving, the dancer for dance, the miser for money or the social climber for status? When they’re really possessed by what they do, they’d rather stop eating and sleeping than give up practicing their arts.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
And so I ask myself: What’s at stake if I don’t get out of bed and show up to do the work?
This blog post isn’t going to write itself much like my life isn’t going to get better if I don’t show up and put in the effort to reach my goals and dreams.
Is there anything here that you can relate to? Is there something you do that you realize is self sabotaging?