In this blog post, we’re going to talk about self-sabotaging thoughts, as well as what causes self-sabotaging behavior. I will also share with you 4 tips on how to overcome resistance and get things done.
If you want to listen to the audio version of this blog post, here it is:
Before we get into the tips, first we need to answer one very important question, and that is: Why do we self-sabotage?
What Causes Self-Sabotaging Behavior?
The answer is simpler than you think. We sabotage ourselves because it feels comfortable, familiar, and we know what to expect.
Our minds love what’s familiar because they want to keep us safe. The unfamiliar seems scary, new, unpredictable, so all they do is try to protect us from potential threats.
When we have self-sabotaging thoughts that in turn, lead to self-sabotaging behaviors, we’re just overwhelmed by what’s happening in our minds and need to take a step back and objectively assess the situation. That’s why we feel resistance towards the things we want to have, but feel afraid to pursue.
And here comes my first tip:
1. Observe Your Self-Sabotaging Thoughts
One of my favorite tools I use as a coach is the Automatic Thought Record Tool. I know the name isn’t cool, but trust me, it works like a charm.
Here’s what it does: it helps you track your negative thoughts, by writing them down, assessing your emotional reaction to them, and substituting them with healthier alternatives.
Here’s how you can download it for FREE:
By observing your self-sabotaging thoughts, you’re separating yourself from them and letting them pass without judging. When you know what they are, you have a better understanding of the potential self-sabotaging behaviors that you may engage in the future. And now, you have the conscious choice to change them.
Now, let’s get into my second tip:
2. Use the 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins
The 5-second rule is one of my favorite hacks when it comes to overcoming resistance. Every time you feel resistance towards doing something, count down from 5 and DO IT.
We’re going to get a little geeky now… 🙂
Here’s how the 5-second rule works according to Mel Robbins:
“The 5-Second Rule is a form of metacognition, which means that it’s a way of tricking your brain in order to achieve your goals. It allows you to beat your brain at its own game and distract it from the ways that it tries to sabotage you.”
Most people live their lives on autopilot. In fact, research shows that 40% of your day is spent on autopilot. When you’re on autopilot, you’re operating out of habit.
When you count down from 5, you’re taking deliberate action. The countdown pushes you out of autopilot. And when you act, you’re exercising control and you’re turning on your prefrontal cortex, which is all about decision making, planning, and working towards goals.
So, next time you feel the resistance creeping in, just count down from 5 and take action.
3. Increase the Friction
What do I mean by this? In my first tip, I suggested observing your self-sabotaging thoughts as a way of tracking the path to your self-sabotaging behaviors. When you increase the friction between you and the thing that sabotages you, it gets harder to fall back into your past behavior.
Let me give you an example.
One of the worst self-sabotaging behaviors I had was constantly checking my phone. Since I work from home, most of the things I need to do as an entrepreneur have something to do with my phone. What I noticed was that whenever I had a tough task on my list, I wanted to reach for my phone to distract myself.
Of course, I rationalized it for a bit: “But this social media post won’t post itself…”, “But I have to get back to this friend ASAP”, etc.
No, you don’t. And you know it.
If you’ve been in the same boat as me, you know how addictive your phone can be, especially when it comes to social media.
So, what I decided to do, was to either leave my phone in the other room or switch it off for a couple of hours. I also deleted most of the apps from my phone. That’s how I increased the friction. I had more steps to go through before I could get to my sweet dopamine shots.
You may be sabotaging yourself by eating junk food. Increase the friction by not buying any. If you don’t keep chips in your house, it would be a lot harder to eat it once you feel that craving. You’d have to get up and go to the store, which, again, increases the friction.
Another way we sabotage ourselves is by procrastinating, which is such a highly requested topic from you guys, that I decided to film an entire video on it. It will go live next week on my YouTube channel, so make sure to subscribe.
4. Reaffirm Your New Beliefs
One thing that makes the biggest difference when it comes to changing our behavior, in the long run, is our beliefs. If you regularly use the Automatic Thought Record Tool I mentioned at the beginning, you will notice that in time you’ll start to develop new beliefs.
As James Clear explains it extremely well in his book Atomic Habits which I highly recommend:
“Your identity emerges out of your habits. You are not born with preset beliefs. Every belief, including those about yourself, is learned and conditioned through experience.”
More precisely, your habits are how you embody your identity. When you make your bed each day, you embody the identity of an organized person. When you write each day, you embody the identity of a creative person. When you train each day, you embody the identity of an athletic person.
We all know that sometimes our inner critic may be too loud, so here are more strategies to cope with your inner resistance and move into action:
The more you repeat a behavior, the more you reinforce the identity associated with that behavior. So, the more you reaffirm your new beliefs, the less resistance and self-sabotaging thoughts you’ll have.
I’m curious to know:
What self-sabotaging behavior do you want to change? Share in the comments below 👇