You know the feeling, it’s like you can actually see yourself doing it but at the same time you can’t stop.
It might be watching ‘just’ one more episode when really it’s already late or wandering downstairs to the kitchen again when you should be working or eating a bag of crisps as you leave the exercise class. You can see what you are doing, but at the same time you feel as though you’re a bit of an observer of your own actions.
Self-sabotage is when it’s us and only us standing in the way of our goals. The video and blog below explore why we do it, and suggest some ways we can break free in this area.
It can get very frustrating as you can be close to achieving what you want to and then you see yourself stary to undo some of the good work you’ve done. Suddenly your goals seem far from your grasp again and you never quite seem to get there. I now a lot of people experience this. They might hit a certain goal, or get close to it but just can’t seem to get beyond that point. This is common with weight loss goals; as people get close to their goal weight, they start to struggle and the self-sabotage sets in.
It can have a knock-on effect in other areas of life too and make you feel lethargic and apathetic and unable to fulfil life or goals in other areas.
Why do we do it? Self-sabotage is quite different to emotional eating or cravings. When we self-sabotage there may not be an emotional reason behind it. It can often happen in periods of boredom or tiredness, but it’s not really driven by the emotion, it/s just something that we do before we reach a goal we’ve set. And we do it because we have an underlying belief that what we are doing won’t make a difference anyway, or it won’t work for you. Perhaps you doubt you could actually get to bed at a sensible time, or that you could not drink too much wine, or that you could ever really lose weight or fat.
It’s a lack of belief in yourself, which ultimately comes down to limiting beliefs about God, and God’s power in your life.
How can you change it?
- Get to grips with the truth of God’s promises. Every promise in the Bible is a promise for you! You might be thinking “those promises aren’t for me, they are for someone else: that person who speaks up on stage, or for my neighbour, or my friend, but not me.” But that simply isn’t true and part of our journey, our relationship with God, is getting to know the promises that he has made for us and claiming them for ourselves.
- Recognise self-sabotage as an attack and come prepared! Someone out there doesn’t want us to reach our full potential and the attack will happen, but if we can be ready for it, we’ll be in a better place. Being prepared might be having some Bible verses to hand, having some worship songs you can sing at an appropriate moment, or it might be prayer. God has given us a great wealth of weapons that we can use to fight back!
- Recognise and reward previous ‘successes’ in your life. It’s important to recognise the areas of your life where you have overcome obstacles and achieved what you wanted to achieve, even if they are different to the areas you are struggling with now. Let those successes build up a picture of you being able to do those things, and more, especially when you have God on your side.
- Get some cheerleaders! Having people alongside you, cheering you on, can make the difference for getting past obstacles and barriers in your way.
- Measure your progress and reward it. When you measure your progress you can see how far you’ve come and the improvements you’ve made. You can see that you are getting to bed a little earlier, or that you are getting healthier. And when you see those things, reward yourself to encourage and inspire you to carry on.
- When you reach a crunch point, have some new techniques ready to try. When you hit a crunch point – that time when you might make a decision to go off track and sabotage your efforts – you need to consciously choose a different path. Think about what you can do when you are about to stay up and watch another film, when you grab that bag of crisps post-gym, or when you are about to give up on a healthy lifestyle, even though you’ve almost reached a goal. Have those techniques ready, and those different actions will get easier.
Once you move forward in this area and lessen the self-sabotage you will be able to achieve far more in all areas and your attitude, beliefs and mindset will change. It all starts from believing what God says about you and believing that the promises in the Bible really are for you too.
We cover self-sabotage and other behaviours that stop us from achieving freedom in mind, body and soul in our 12-week Healthy Whole and Free Course. The next course starts on Monday 26th September. Registration is now open and you can find out more here.