How To Stop Self-Sabotage From Ruining Your Dreams


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Got self-sabotage? If you’ve ever set out to follow your dreams, pursue your passions and lead your best life only to realize a few months down the line that in spite of best intentions you seem to be standing in your own way this post is for you.

Sabotage is the (deliberate) act of destroying or damaging something so that it does not work correctly. Self-sabotage is when you are the one sabotaging yourself.

I can hear you say: ‘Hey, wait a minute, I am really doing everything I can to live my best life, I’m not doing this on purpose!!’


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Meet your ally and your foe.

As you may know our minds are divided between a conscious and subconscious part.

The conscious mind is the logical, rational part of our mind. It deals with what we are aware of. According to the experts it accounts for about 5% of our mental processes.

The subconscious mind is the under-current where 95% of our mental life happens. It’s the part that runs all the processes that allow us to speak, walk, write and perform tasks without thinking about them. It’s akin to an auto-pilot mode. It operates on an agenda that has nothing to do with logic and rationality: it gets programmed and it runs those programs with no judgement.

Back to self-sabotage.

Self-sabotage is the ‘brainchild’ of your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind’s job is to make your life easier. It does so by saving what you expose it to frequently as programs. When your subconscious perceives something as being a threat to your well-being (when you expose it to something in opposition to the programs it has saved) it does everything in its power to prevent you from getting hurt and to do so it uses every possible way to stop you from making progress.

That’s why after a few days of waking up early to work out you forget to set the alarm or every time you begin to work on new business you suddenly get very tired.

Some of its favorite tricks are:

    – Procrastination

    – Tiredness

    – Being late

    – Not following through

    – Negative self-talk

    – Letting opportunities pass you by

    – Getting distracted

    – Setting the wrong priorities

    – Busy work

People are often under the impression that self-sabotage manifests itself in openly destructive attitudes such as negative self-talk, or lack of self-esteem but that’s not always the case. Self-sabotage doesn’t always manifest itself through our sloppy, negative, lazy traits.

Self-sabotage could also take the form of perfectionism, or hyper productivity. Basically, anything that we do that gets in the way of us achieving our conscious objectives is self-sabotage. Being an hyper productive, punctual, meticulous worker who dutifully puts in the hours on a task can be a form of self-sabotage, if you’re performing the wrong task, or you’re forgetting to regularly adjust your plans according to the latest developments of a situation.

Self-sabotage doesn't always look like you're doing something wrong Click To Tweet

What can you do

Here are some tricks that can help mitigate your self-sabotaging ways:

    – Procrastination

    Schedule 1 small task, un-intimidating to get you started. Once you’ve got the ball rolling you should be ok.

    – Tiredness

    Anticipate your energy slumps by getting adequate rest and planning some naps so you have less chances of getting exhausted at the wrong time.

    – Being late

    Give yourself a buffer.

    – Not following through

    Create systems and plan regular check-in times.

    – Negative self-talk

    Identify your negative patterns and reverse them. (I know I am over-simplifying, this could fit in a book)

    – Letting opportunities passing you by

    Train yourself to make quick decisions.

    – Distractions

    Create focus zones (time & space dedicated to making progress), keep your objectives in sight.

    – Setting the wrong priorities

    Do multi-layered soul-searching to identify the ultimate why. Regularly review your priorities against the latest developments, the big picture and the ultimate why.

    – Busy work

    Prioritize, have frequent check-ins, keep the big picture in front of you.

Here are some ways you can stop self-sabotage Click To Tweet

Towards lasting change

Ultimately, these tricks will only fix the symptoms. However, self-sabotage reveals a much bigger issue.

The key issue with self-sabotage is a conflict between your conscious and your subconscious mind: you’re operating on 2 conflicting agendas. On one hand the agenda of your conscious mind which desires changes, on the other the agenda of your subconscious mind which is trying to maintain the status quo.

At the core self-sabotage simply means that your belief system is not aligned with your objectives. In other words, you’ve updated your objectives but you’re running obsolete mental programs that are not supportive of the changes you want to make.

For example:

You want to be an artist but you’ve always been told that being an artist is not a serious profession and you secretly worry about the judgement of your peers if you were to abandon your successful career.

To achieve this dream you will have to transform your beliefs about what constitutes an appropriate career, and make peace with the judgment of your peers.

You want to launch a business but you’ve always been told that having a business is risky and while you claim to be a risk-taker part of you worries that you will throw it all away just to starve.

To accomplish this dream, you will have to acquire new beliefs that support the idea that having a business is safe and find ways to mitigate the financial risks you are concerned about.

The key issue with self-sabotage is a conflict between your conscious and your subconscious mind. Click To Tweet

A new program

Ultimately, self-sabotage doesn’t mean you’re broken. So, don’t beat yourself over the head. Self-sabotage simply means that your subconscious mind is doing a superb job at protecting you from the dangers it perceives in your new endeavors.

While you might be excited by the idea of traveling the world to pursue your passion for photography, your subconscious mind is freaking out and working over time to prevent you from making a fool of yourself by taking ‘sh*tty pictures’ (its words, not mine!) and from going broke half way across the world when your savings run out. It’s all done in love.

Your job is to help your subconscious ‘relax’ by figuring out which dangers it is trying to protect to you from, mitigate the risks you identify and reprogram your mind to function as one unit towards success.

Going back to traveling the world to take pictures that might mean: getting over that friend who told you that you take ‘sh*tty pictures’ (that’s where your subconscious got that crazy idea. Actually, your pictures are gorgeous-), building up your savings and creating income streams to rely on while you travel. With such as plan in place you alleviate the ‘concerns’ of your subconscious and it can finally begin to support your dreams.

Self-sabotage doesn't mean you're broken. Click To Tweet

How do you reconcile your conscious and subconscious mind to put an end to self-sabotage?

    – Make sure that you’re following the right dreams

    – Be clear on the reasons for pursuing this new dream

    – Get clear on your personal values (conscious and subconscious)

    – Identify any misalignment between your personal values and your new dream.

    – Use tools such as new habits, affirmations and visualizations to transform your mindset.

Obviously, this is easier said than done. However, if you stick with it you should soon see results and finally be done with self-sabotage. And if you feel this is all too much and that you could use some support and guidance on your journey to building the life of your dreams, I am here for you.

Self-sabotage can be conquered with the right strategy. Click To Tweet

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I am Dominique! I help smart, sassy, successful (but unfulfilled!) women create soulful lives. (You can learn more here)

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