How about that for a New Year’s resolution? Whether knowingly or inadvertently, we humans sometimes have a knack for sabotaging ourselves. What do I mean by that? According to “Psychology Today,” it’s behavior that creates problems with our daily life and interferes with our long-term goals.
We all do it. I sabotage myself almost every Monday morning when I make a decision to start the week by eating healthier and committing to exercising regularly. And then I cave in when I attend a Monday night football watching party and indulge in pizza and Buffalo wings.
Sabotaging ourselves doesn’t stop with poor nutrition. We can sabotage ourselves in many other ways, from our relationships, to our career paths, to our parenting techniques, to relationships with our aging parents. How does it begin? Where will it end?
Psychologists generally agree that self-sabotage starts in early childhood with an embedded sense of not being good enough. Add a healthy dose of fear that may likely increase as we get older, and before we can even realize it, we are sabotaging ourselves by using our powerful inner voices to say the wrong thing. We aren’t good enough. It was just good luck. Right place, right time. Feel free to add your own self-talking points here.
Modifying our tendency to self-sabotage starts with observation. If you’re not even the slightest bit aware of what you’ve been doing up until now, try taking a look with a fresh perspective. Notice when you’re judging yourself, and flip the switch. Acknowledge your efforts rather than your results. Whether you complete the half-marathon isn’t nearly as important as how far you got. If you meant your snarky email for someone specific but instead hit “reply all,” take responsibility for your mistake by apologizing. I’m pretty sure you’ll figure out a way to avoid doing it again next time.
Kindness is a perfect antidote to self-sabotage. Anyone who knows me has probably heard me say “treat yourself gently.” That’s pretty good advice, if I do say so myself. Having some compassion for your own feelings, acknowledging that they’re real, honest, and above all, temporary, is one form of kindness.
In the same vein, I also recommend self-care. Obviously, we all define self-care in our own ways, and hopefully, we all do some sort of self-care on a regular basis. Whether you take the concept literally and get a massage or a pedicure, or whether you take it figuratively and nurture your soul with a leisurely walk or an hour with an audio book, it’s a personal choice.
Learning to be less judgmental about ourselves can take a lifetime. It’s the beginning of a new year, and it could be the beginning of a healthier year. Again, it’s a personal choice.
Do you have an antidote to self-sabotage? If so, please share it with me.