Have you ever done something that caused big problems for you and seemed to be in direct opposition to what you thought you wanted? Like consistently shown up late for work even though your boss warned that you were treading on thin ice? Or perhaps you kept feeling compelled to eat junk food even though you were trying to lose weight and get in shape? Or you kept pulling money out of your savings, even though it meant you cannot go on that holiday?
Why do we do these things? You would think that setting a goal and creating a plan would be enough to get us where we want to go, right? Not necessarily.
Sometimes our subconscious minds can work against us, even if we consciously believe we want something. There are many possible reasons why we do this, they most often involve a fear or an ingrained habit.
Take a look at these behaviors and ask yourself whether they have ever derailed your plans:
If you’ve ever found yourself holding back on doing something even though you kept telling yourself you really wanted to do it, you were procrastinating. You may have felt drawn to watch endless hours of television, or felt compelled to suddenly clean out your basement, or caused dramatic episodes with friends and family members for no apparent reason – all so you wouldn’ t have to work on your goals.
You were trying to distract yourself. Why? Believe it or not, procrastination usually has little to do with laziness and more to do with avoidance. Most often, you are trying to avoid an underlying fear or resistance that you don’t feel ready to handle.
No matter how fired up you are about your goals, your old, ingrained habits can seem as solid as concrete. The biggest mistake we often make is underestimating the amount of energy and effort that will be required when we first start making changes. We’re used to doing things a certain way and if we try to change those comfortable old routines, we feel nervous and out of place.
In order to become comfortable with new habits, you need to stick with them long enough so that they become second nature. Remember, that’s how you got comfortable where you are – even if it’ s not exactly where you want to be.
An incredible amount of focus and willpower may be needed in order to change your old habits, but eventually they will become as solid as concrete too.
Learn to recognize the signs of self-sabotage:
The greatest gift you can give yourself is self-awareness. The subconscious nature of self-sabotage is what makes it so difficult to recognize, but with enough honest introspection you will begin to understand yourself better.
When you do, you will be able to tell when you are working in opposition to your goals. You’ll be able to tell when you feel fearful and hesitant about stepping out of your comfort zones. You’ll recognize avoidance behaviors and take steps to turn them around immediately.