Recently, I’ve been asking myself this question quite a bit, “Why am I f*ckin up my progress on my personal goals?” If you find yourself asking anything similar we may be in a season of self-sabotage. Or what feels a lot like it…
This morning, after waking up with butterflies in my stomach; a sign that lets me know anxiety is ramping up, I decided to consult the cards. I hadn’t previously because a concise enough question had yet to come to mind. But as I cleaned up a random mess I made the question became clear through my complaints; “I’m trying to figure out the steps I need to take AND why I won’t take ’em, I don’t have to time to sweep!”
Instantly, I realized (again) I was the problem. I was standing in my own way but I wasn’t aware of why. The cards led me to observe my inner conflicts. Pay attention to what happens instead of ‘the work”. It’s possible I’m not actually sabotaging but learning so that later, I can teach.
Observing Internal Conflict
The best we can do in these times is to acknowledge and observe. Become aware of our words, actions, and feelings and let them speak to us. Then we address the concerns of our different parts with changed words and actions which will result in changed feelings.
The words we use in our Self-talk speak to the mindset we occupy at the time. In a fixed mindset it’s easy to self-sabotage because you don’t believe you’re able to change. We label ourselves and quickly succumb to the label as there no use in fighting against our “nature”.
My plan this week is to make a list of the words and phrases that come up in times of sabotage. As I see the theme I’ll be able to better address the main concern with a solution oriented goal. As the list forms I can take immediate action by replacing any words with their growth mindset counterpart.
The actions we take speak to our circumstance. It’s easy to stop trying when you have few responsibilities. When there’s nothing on your plate, expectations from others are low but from yourself super high, you know you have no other reason not to do what you’re “supposed to” so you beat yourself up for not doing it. This beating leads to self-pity and loathing, which means there’s no work getting done now.
On the flip side having a ton responsibilities means everyone expects something from you and you have no expectations to get anything done for yourself. All of your energy is going out, you put yourself last on the list, so nothing is getting done in service to your goals.
When it comes to action there’s always a choice. My plan is to pay closer attention to those choices and offer compromise. Finding the theme in the other choices will, again, help me see what my true concern is so I can address it. It will also give me something to reward myself with. I will reinstate my Power Hour plan that serves as the ultimate compromise. After working for one hour I reward myself with one hour of doing what I would be doing if I weren’t being mindful at all (for me that’s probably laying in bed!).
For someone with a lot of their plate the plan should be prioritizing. Choosing 5 people/things a day that will get your time and attention and the rest is for you and yours. Tomorrow is a new day, you can choose 5 new things, but always leave some for You.
In this space we see a bit of both of the above play out. The parts of Self that want to move are crying out because they’re unable to so we end up acting out in other ways; excessive eating, overly partaking in vices, etc. Then, the parts that don’t want to move but are being forced to, exercise their autonomy in other ways; not getting out of bed, not motivated to clean body or space, etc. The result is a feeling of conflict. We’re being pulled into two different directions.
The plan is to address the conflict with surrender and boundaries. Like a child throwing a tantrum sometimes you just gotta let them tucker themselves out. So with the excess I’ll let it play out until I get sick of it. So either eat until I’m sick or not bathe until I’m well…sick. Conversely I can give myself parameters. As in I can eat excessively but only if it’s fruit everything else has to be a normal (for me) amount. Or I don’t have to clean the whole room but I do have to clear the chair (you know the chair!)
In these small ways we can simultaneously get back into progress mode while being gentle with ourselves during a rough time. And with proper notes and viable solutions, we can turn around guide others through their own moments of self-sabotage. Knowing the universe that last part was the plan all along…
When Sabotage Becomes Empowerment
To shift self-sabotage into self-empowerment we have to remove our Self from the equation. if you notice much of what serves as a solution to the sub-issues is simply observation. Observing the parts of our Self that’s moving and determining what it means. We shouldn’t take it personally or take it on as part of our identity. Instead, we should acknowledge that this is within us, reflect on the concepts and concerns these parts of Self have brought to our attention, and then care for those parts of Self as we would any other loved one. Leading to a stronger relationship with Self and I don’t know about You, but that’s what I call power!