Category: Self-improvement

self-sabotage

Here’s Why We Self-Sabotage

It can be so frustrating when we know we self-sabotage, but we don’t know WHY.

Perhaps you find:

  • You keep dating the same kind of person that is wrong for you
  • You keep ending up in a job you hate
  • You keep sabotaging your own efforts to get fit and lose weight
  • You keep losing your temper, despite your best efforts not to
  • You give up when things get hard, again and again

If any of this resonates, keep reading.

From my experience and training, I think it can be pinned back on one thing.

The subconscious mind.

What does the subconscious mind have to do with it?

Well, it likes to keep us safe.

I’ll say more about that…

The subconscious mind is the part of the mind that runs the “programming.”

It’s the habits, patterns, and tendencies that are hard-wired into us.

How do they form?

We become “wired” in certain ways from a very young age. It is based on survival techniques we employed to keep us safe and help us get our needs met.

We relied completely on our primary caregivers when we were young. Therefore, getting our needs met from them was of the utmost importance.

We needed them to feed us, clothe us, and provide us with shelter. We also longed for touch and attention.

Those things kept us alive, and the strategies we used to get them became hardwired into our subconscious mind.

Now let me tell you a secret about the subconscious mind (and this is important!):

The subconscious mind doesn’t like change.

It doesn’t like it at all.

Why?

Well, change poses a threat to the subconscious mind. The subconscious likes to use the strategies it knows. It favors the familiar.

Doing new things is threatening to the status quo.

The subconscious would rather things stayed the same, even if they aren’t working that well.

It’s a creature of habit. It likes what it knows.

This is why you may find it hard to change an old pattern or habit that isn’t serving you any longer. This is why you unintentionally self-sabotage.

Likely, the subconscious mind is running an old program that no longer fits. This is so frustrating to the adult self.

It may seem obvious to your conscious mind that things need to change, but no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to do things differently.

You are probably getting the point here:

The subconscious mind is wired to try and keep you SAFE, no matter what.

So, don’t beat yourself up if you keep repeating the same (unhealthy) patterns again and again.

The brain contains billions of neurons that communicate with each other. The neurons and neural pathways that you use all the time only become stronger with use.

Chances are, the old pattern or habit you are trying to kick has become very strongly embedded in your brain’s wiring.

When a set of neurons get activated, they become intricately connected. It becomes a whole sequence that is more likely to repeat in reaction to that type of circumstance or event in the future.

Thus, in order to change things once and for all, you’ve got to uncover what the trigger is and then re-wire your brain for new habits and patterns. Ones that will serve you well for who you are now.

The good news is that we have the help of the latest research in neuroscience. This research shows us that the brain possesses neuroplasticity, meaning that the the brain’s structure and wiring can be changed or molded by experience.

The research also informs us exactly how we can effectively re-wire new habits, as some experiences are more impactful on the brain than others.

This is exciting stuff!

The bottom line: Things don’t have to stay the same forever! You have the potential to stop self-sabotage and change old, outdated behaviors that no longer fit.

Need help stopping self-sabotage and learning to re-wire old habits and patterns? I can help! Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to learn how.

life-change

The #1 Question You Need to Ask Yourself if You are Struggling to Make a Change

Change can be hard.

If you are the kind of person who can generally set your mind to something and make changes with ease, then you may get especially frustrated when one particular problem or area of life continues to challenge you.

Sometimes the changes that matter to us most are the hardest to make.

If you find that no matter what, you just can’t make the change you desire, then ask yourself this:

“What do I stand to lose by making this change?”

It seems counterintuitive—but asking yourself what you stand to LOSE if you make a healthy change can help you understand why you might be unconsciously self-sabotaging.

Often my clients are at first confused when I post this question to them. I’ll ask, “What do you stand to lose if you make _______ change?”

They’ll say, “I’m not sure what you mean. I don’t think there would be anything to lose.”

On the surface it seems like there aren’t any down sides.

Then, I explain more saying, “Okay, what would you have to give up if you you were to make this change?”

Once we drill down a bit, we get to the good stuff. This may take several rounds of questions, but eventually we get there.

Like, “Well, I guess if I weren’t sick all the time, I’d have to give up being taken care of (and getting extra attention from) my spouse.”

Bingo! There are some benefits to things staying the same.

(In this case, there are benefits of being sick. Getting well would have unintended consequences, such as loss of special care and maybe would require the ill spouse to go back to work full-time).

Sometimes we get extra love and care from others when things stay the way they are.

Think about the child who might pretend to be sick, just to get taken care of a bit more than usual (think popsicles, chicken noodle soup, and movie marathons on a school day).

While this is more of a temporary example, it still showcases the benefits of being sick that we can all relate to.

Often times people stall in making positive health changes because there are some benefits to being sick.

Beside extra TLC, there are many other potential things people would have to give up if a change were to take place.

Sometimes, there is the realization from some people that their current life situation allows them to feel justified in their feelings (such as anger, resentment, or depression).

If they were to change, they’d have to give that up. Then, who would they be without that thing they’ve held onto for so long?

Commonly, making healthy changes would mean taking responsibility for your life rather than feeling justified in blaming it on circumstance.

Pain, struggle and dissatisfaction can be addicting.

Notice if you may be unintentionally holding on to any of these things and letting them keep you from what you really want.

Staying the same can offer protection.

For example, sometimes it can feel safer to be alone than in relationships with others.

Notice how staying the same might keep you safe from attracting a partner (which you say you want, but actually it terrifies you).

Or perhaps you are afraid to change your diet and lifestyle because you believe the extra weight will keep you safe from unwanted sexual advances.

If you’ve been objectified, assaulted, or abused in the past, it makes sense that you’d be afraid. (If this is the case, it may be good to see someone who works with trauma and can help you heal).

Whatever the reasons, it may be hard to realize the truth about a pattern you’ve been letting run your life for years.

However, it ultimately lays the groundwork for REAL, lasting change.

Even if you’ve spent a portion of your life letting fear hold you back from being healthy, happy or fulfilled, it’s never too late to reclaim what you really want.

By asking yourself this simple question, you can see the unintended consequences of making a change.

If you feel stuck in a rut, or need help uncovering your hidden barriers to change, I can help. Part of my job is to help you see your blind spots and develop a plan for moving forward.

Interested in learning more? Please don’t hesitate to reach out. There is nothing to lose.

Reach out now.

stress-management

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