The other day I was working on a new project, and I’d gained some serious momentum. I was proud of myself and probably about 70% done. I put it down to work on something else (I don’t even remember what right now) with the intention of coming back to it later. Later that day turned into weeks later. YIKES!
It happens to the best of us. We are working on something…relationship stuff, work stuff, family stuff…important stuff, and we take what we think will be a temporary pause to focus on something else, and bam weeks have passed and our unfinished projects are still laying on our desk. We think it’ll be quick, and we mean well, but all of a sudden significant time slips away, and progress has come to a screeching halt. Your people aren’t happy, your work isn’t getting done, and you’re not taking care of yourself. It’s a HOT mess…and you are too.
If you’re anything like me, at some point you are standing in the shower (where you get your best thinking done), and you realize the answer to a first world problem. You finally know why you’re stuck. IT’S YOU! HOLY MOLY—the problem is YOU and the answer is YOU.
Ever had that happen? Where the problem and the answer is the same?
Who’s the problem? Me.
Who has the solution to the problem? Me.
Don’t you just hate that??? I mean it’s easy to blame our challenges on everyone else when you need to look yourself in the mirror and say “ yep..it’s me…I suck”. It’s hard as all get out to do so, but it’s necessary.
Why do we do that? I think the easy answer is fear of failure. I mean who wants to be the person that bombs at the thing they set out to do?
But, I am going to take a leap here and say it’s fear of success. Yep…success. What happens on the other side of success? Maybe everything in your life just falls into place like a Rubik’s Cube, and all your challenges melt away. Or, maybe it’s like an episode of Real Housewives where you lead this seemingly charmed life of excess and leisure, but there’s something brewing behind the scenes . What if it’s NOTHING like any of that — just more hard work, a different set of challenges, and more complex living.
Now, I don’t have it 100% all figured out but I have talked to a lot of experts who do and here are the 3 things I think work to kick self sabotage to the curb:
The Price is Way Too High…You Need to Cut it (out)
You have to recognize when you are slipping into self-sabotaging behavior and cut that mess out. Here’s what I mean. Eating is one of my self-sabotaging behaviors. Specifically, cake. By the time I get to this part of the story, I am telling myself that I can’t [fill in the blank mess I tell myself], I am already reaching for the cake. So what I have to do is stop and think about what I am working on and how I am feeling. What’s overwhelming? What do I keep putting off? What goals do I have that are just out of reach (and have been for a long time)? What am I praying about these days (or am I)? Believe it or not, all of this happens before I get to thinking about cake, so the key is to recognize what’s happening early enough to say “hold on a minute. Drop the fork. Chill out. Regroup. Re-prioritize. Strategize. Then reward yourself with cake—-(see cake doesn’t have to be the bad guy).
Make 1-2 Affirmations Your Friend and Say ‘Em! Toss the Rest!
Okay. Confession. I was once asked what my favorite affirmation was during a panel and I drew a complete blank and froze. I had nothing. Gah! But I love affirmations. I was just on affirmation overload (I mean they can pull you in all sorts of directions, and I couldn’t focus. I found that when I picked 1-2 I could memorize that really addressed my pain point ( am I good enough?); I could chuck the rest. I’m not saying things changed overnight, but it sure did feel that way. And whenever it seems like I’m hitting a low spot, I go back to those two affirmations to center and get back on track.
Cut the Clutter…ALLLLLLLL of it!
I don’t care how much you try to convince me that you can work in clutter, I don’t believe ya. When your space (home/office/car/bag) is a jumble of papers, clothes, files, cups, STUFF, it’s easier to walk away from what you’re doing because you legit don’t want to be around it. I’m not telling you to procrastinate and spend weeks cleaning (although if you need weeks; we have to discuss some things, my friend) but taking a day or two to get the environment you most often work in clear and organized will not only clear up your physical environment but your mental environment as well.
Guess what? Your nemesis may not be stalking you on social media or trying to steal your famous recipe for success.
Your nemesis may be perched in your head telling you to eat the cake instead of developing a strategy for tackling a task or two. Your nemesis may be under all the papers on your desk and simply needs to be uncovered and organized. Your nemesis may be looking at you in the mirror. But, don’t fret friend.
Here’s the good thing. You now have 3 tools to identify, battle, and win against the weakling, Self-Sabotage. You are the reigning champion and you won’t lose the battle this time either!