Why we Self-Sabotage

Stop self sabbotage

Why we Self-Sabotage

Have you ever noticed that in our lives, we often end up sabotaging our own progress? Have you ever done something, and then thought “why on earth did I just do that”?

Consider these scenarios:

  • You decide you’re going to lose weight. So you go on a ‘diet’ and eat healthily all day / week / month. But then raid the nuts, crisps, gin and set yourself back.
  • Or… You hit snooze instead of waking up for your exercise class.
  • Or… You know you have a busy day ahead and you should go to bed. but you lay on the couch scrolling Instagram instead.

So why, do we keep self-sabotaging our progress?

The answer is, it’s in your head.

Specifically, the reason is that this change causes a conflict between who you are now and who you want to be.

Because everything you have achieved in your life so far is a consequence of who you are in this moment. So if we want to achieve something different, our internal representation of our self (our identity) needs to change.

“To achieve something you have never achieved before, you must become someone you have never been before…”

You need to change identity.

The problem though, is that change is uncomfortable: the stakes are high, the uncertainty is high. You need to become invested in the change, but the more invested you get, the harder the fall, the bigger the risk… And as humans we crave the exact opposite: we crave comfort, certainty and safety…

What often happens is that we change (or try to change) our behaviours before our identity changes. By going to the gym, eating greens, stopping all junk food, etc. This is good, of course, don’t get me wrong. But by doing so without also working to change our identity means our internal representation and our external behaviours are out of synch with each other.

Because changing our identity is hard. It causes internal conflict between the old you and the wannabe you. It causes discomfort, uncertainty: will I actually manage to lose weight and keep it off? Will I run my fastest ever time? Can I still jump to a good standard?

So what happens is that we change our behaviours back to where we used to be i.e. self sabotage…  We revert to our old-self! Then internal conflict and discomfort subsides and we’re back to ‘normal’…

How can you upgrade your identity to support the person you want to become?

This is something I discuss in great depth with my clients in the Nutrition Programme. We identify the mantras we have created that are not helpful. And create new identities aimed at changing to a new identity to support the person we want to become.

Here’s some examples that they’ve come up with:

  • I’m the type of person who frequently enjoys a fresh healthy salad.
  • I’m the type of person who walks wherever I can.
  • I love waking up feeling fresh and energetic.
  • I’m the type of mum who looks forward to spending an active weekend with my family.
  • I love going to bed early with a book rather than watching crap TV!

It doesn’t happen overnight of course. And it takes practice and coaching. But by practising these mantras we help our future self take on a new identity.

One that supports the type of person that we want to be…

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