Beat Self Sabotage
Self sabotage. We all do it from time to time whether we realise it or not.
Whether its in our careers, relationships, life or fitness goals the sad fact is that it happens to everyone whether we know it or not.
How do you stop it from happening? How do you deal with it? How do you make the right choice?
First I believe we need to understand it.
I believe it can be best described as you (either subconsciously or otherwise) feeling you are undeserving of something. This then results in you self sabotaging to justify the notion to prove to yourself that you were in fact not worthy. On the surface this can be seem like something benign and silly, but when you really think about it the implications of believing you are undeserving of something that you want which will ultimately bring you joy it can get a little more serious.
Marie Forleo addressed this topic in the video below. She refers to it as you hitting your “Upper Limit”. In the video below she addresses a followers question on how to deal with self sabotage in her business. Check it out – Maybe you can relate to her followers problem in some way:
Sure, the above video relates to business, not health and fitness, but the cause and effect remain the same.
Try these tips to stop self sabotage in its tracks:
1. Track Your Progress
This can be as simple as taking a photo in your undies before you start a new workout routine or diet or buying a fitness watch. Doing this gives you a point of reference to go back to in order to remind yourself of where you were and compare to where you are now.
Look back at the photo’s or the info gathered by the watch whenever you feel like you haven’t achieved anything or you need to remove some negative thoughts.
Personally I love the fitness watch because using the dashboard you can easily see how you’re performing over time in a lot of aspects. Some love the before/after photo as it gives them a direct comparison about where they’ve been and why they’re never going back.
2. Celebrate the Small Victories
Did you just eat clean for a whole week/month/year? Did you just go down a size? Did you just get a new PB on the bench press?
Then I have 3 words for you my friend – Treat Yo Self <——- Click that link to view the video. Unfortunately the uploader disabled embedding 🙁
Celebrate that little victory. You earned it. Tom and Donna spend a day spending money on themselves (not that they’re in the same boat as you) but the point here is that you achieved something. Rewarding yourself for an achievement isn’t selfish and don’t be shy about it either. If someone asks why you’re eating a whole rack of ribs you make sure you tell them why, then you finish that rack and smile about it to their face.
Celebrating the small victories in life keeps you on track to achieve the next goal. It keeps you motivated knowing that if you can do X then you will get Y (Where for me X = control my appetite for junk food and Y = a nice dessert once a week). Many in the health and fitness world call this Cheat Day or a Cheat Meal. Your reward doesn’t have to be food, it can be an experience too. You just need to know what drives you. For me its food. End of story.
3. Recognise Your Behaviour
This is probably one of the most difficult things to do. Knowing you’re self sabotaging can be easy, but actually recognising your doing it and stopping is incredibly hard. Most people fail so badly at this they’ll end up compromising their goals and re-setting them at an easier to reach level. Sure we set some unrealistic goals that need to be adjusted sometimes but really, whats stopping you from being able to run that marathon or get to 15% body fat apart from yourself?
Sometimes it takes many failures to get it right. You can miss the signs that you’re sabotaging yourself time and time again. All it takes is to remain observant. Think about how to control that urge and resist it. Just once. When you’ve done that just one time you’ve beaten it.
Here’s an example from my own personal experience:
You’ve had a hard working week and you’re in the car on the way home and you’re hungry. You pass a couple of takeaway places and all of a sudden it hits you. That feeling of “I’m hungry NOW and Maccas is the ONLY thing that will satisfy me!”. You start thinking about the chips, all salty and golden. You’re thinking about how good that Quarter Pounder is going to taste. Then you see it. The next Maccas. Before you know it you’re in the turning lane and salivating at the prospect of fulfilling this need to stuff your face with a burger and chips.
Its times like this you need to ask yourself “Why do I want this and does it fit with my goal?”.
Usually the answer is as simple as “Its here and I want it” AKA: Convenience and laziness and you’ve got to push the urge aside and say to yourself “No, my goal is to eat healthy foods and its not time to Treat Yo Self yet”.
Once you’ve figured out why you want to do it you can start using your willpower to resist it and think logically about the situation. You only really want it because its there. If it wasn’t there you’d have to go out of your way to get it and it wouldn’t be so appealing. There’s dinner already in the fridge, you just have to reheat it when you get home.
Once you recognise the thought and behaviour pattern that lead you to be drawn it in the first place (negative thoughts about self worth, letting hunger take over your thoughts etc…) you’ll be able to recognise yourself doing it in the future and prevent it from happening.
4. Simplify Your Goals
Don’t get confused here, I don’t mean you should downgrade your goals. Set an awesome goal you want to achieve that is realistic that you really want, then simply just break it down into smaller ones to achieve that will make up the end goal.
Say your goal is to win an event. That’s great, but just looking at that statement gives you nothing to go on. You’ll be treading water unless you simplify it down to some smaller goals to help you achieve the bigger one.
Try something like this:
1. Training and performance goals
Week 1 Goal: Run 5km total
Week 2 Goal: Run 7km total
Week 3 Goal: Run 10km total
2. Nutritional goals
Week 1 Goal: Eat good wholesome foods for 6 days
Week 2-3 Goal: Eat good wholesome foods for 13 days
These goals could be broken down even further into tasks to complete on each day to achieve those goals. Get as in depth as you need to. By doing this you’ll have created your own plan to achieve your goal which coincidentally leads me on to the last point.
5. Create Accountability
You’ve got to be accountable to someone. Whether that’s yourself, a friend, your partner or a trainer/coach. This person has to be someone you can count on when you’re having a crisis and can’t control the urge or when you just need to talk to someone.
Accountability causes you to not want to do something because it has a direct consequence you will see. Having someone disappointed in you for doing something is a huge motivator not to do it again.
Think back to your childhood when a parent, teacher or someone you looked up to said “I’m not angry, just disappointed”. Bet you didn’t want to disappoint them again after that.
Accountability comes in other forms too.
Money is also a big motivator for people. If you had to pay for a trainer, you’re more likely to use them and follow their advice than some page you found on the internet with a fitness program on it. This is why gym’s and other places have cash prizes or financial incentives for people who can compete in their latest transformation competition.
Figure out what creates accountability for you and kick self sabotage for good.