Last spring, my nurse coach, Jessica, called me out. I’d stopped meditating after months of keeping up the habit. I had all the excuses ready, as I am really good at making excuses.
I was too tired.
M2 didn’t nap long enough.
I had so many other things going on.
If I couldn’t meditate for 30 minutes, I wouldn’t get all the benefits I wanted.
Does this sound familiar? This is called self sabotage.
This is the most difficult part of goal setting. The planning is the easy part. Make that SMART goal and you’re on your way to success, right?
Even as an Upholder, I struggle with connecting the dots. The fact that you struggle too isn’t a comment on your worth or capacity to do hard things. It’s simply that we’ve been taught that failure is bad. So much of our goal setting is created out of shame. When we rid ourselves of this burden of using our goals to prove our worth, it is a much simpler process.
So, what’s the first step? Awareness. Dragging it out into the light so you can see it for what it really is. But, I want to bring in a caveat here. This isn’t another way to shame you, so don’t turn it into that on your own. Look at these behaviors with non-judging awareness. See it with compassion. Awareness without self compassion is useless.
Here are my five favorite self sabotaging behaviors, how to spot them, and what to do about it.
How to spot it: perfectionist, black and white thinking, can’t get started for fear of “failure”
Have you even heard yourself?: “If I can’t get to the gym 6 days a week for an hour a day, it’s not worth it.”
How to fix it: SHOW UP, approach slip-ups or “failures” with compassion and curiosity
If this is you, I’m calling you out on your shit right now because I know you. I know you because I am you. Your success in your goals are not a measure of your worth. You are enough already without another check mark on your goal sheet. Once you are ready to detach yourself from the belief that failure makes you unworthy and simply show up for yourself, you’re going to be on fire. Trust me.
In my upcoming program, we will address the shame-based perfectionism that creeps into motherhood and our goal setting. I’ll give you the tools and resources that have helped me crawl out of my perfectionist hole, create small promises to myself, and actually meet them in an act of self love.
How to spot it: you’re doing what everyone else is doing, you’re doing it because you think you “should”
Have you even heard yourself?: “I should lose weight.”
How to fix it: create a gift goal
The “should” goal comes from a place of shame (do you see the pattern here?). It’s about meeting external expectations, rather than internal desires. If you’re here right now, ask yourself whether you actually want this change. Are you motivated to make this adjustment in your behavior, or are you simply in the contemplative stage? Where ever you’re at, pause. See it with non judging eyes. You’re perfect right where you’re at.
But if you’re ready to shift, it’s time for a reframe. Create a “gift goal,” as Tara Mohr states in her book “Playing Big.” What goal would you create for yourself if you were to give yourself something out of love, rather than doing something because you think you should? This is a reframe I use frequently with my clients.
How to spot it: you’re doing ALL THE THINGS
Have you even heard yourself?: “I’m doing a Whole30 and a meditation challenge and doing a coach to 5k and decluttering my entire house!”
How to fix it: slow you roll, start smaller
Before you know it, you’ve crashed and burned and have made absolutely zero changes to your life. Habit change happens on the micro level. You can’t overload yourself to fix everything you think it wrong with you (shame). This turns out a lot like the All-or Nothing Goal where either everything blows up in your face or you willpower your way through it and nothing ends up changing for good.
As my coaching client, I have you create insanely tiny goals for yourself that are a piece of cake to achieve so that you build momentum for those larger mountains you want to climb (literally or metaphorically). This allows you to collect evidence that you are the person you are looking to become. You are fully capable of creating change in your life, and as your coach, I help you to see it!
Similar Post: How To Manage Expectations in Goal Setting
How to spot it: you’re relying on willpower to get through you goal and nothing ever sticks
Have you even heard yourself?: “I don’t have a lot of willpower.”
How to fix it: change your environment, remember your WHY, become the person you need to be
Willpower is a limited resource AND it won’t bring you the habit change that you desire. If you want to make a change, make it EASY to make the right decision. In Melissa Urban’s Do the Thing podcast, James Clear discusses that environmental changes set you up for success. Can’t stay away from candy? Don’t bring it into the house. Want to work out in the morning? Sleep in your workout clothes.
As a client, I help you create those microscopic changes that help pave the path to an easier, healthier life.
And finally, there’s something we need to talk about. It’s the thing that seems to permeate each of these behaviors, particularly in women. It’s the belief that we must give to everyone else at the expense of ourselves, the belief that we are not worthy of the change that we seek, that there is something always more important than us and our needs. Everyone else before me.
This belief that we are not worth our own time very often comes out as these behaviors.
I see you. I feel the struggle every day. The guilt when I ask for time for myself. The urge to do something “more productive.” The to-do list always comes first. So I know that saying “just stop it” does very little other than amplify the shame you feel for not fitting in more self care or being a “good example” for your kids.
But I’m here to tell you that YOU ARE WORTH YOUR TIME.
I’d like to share a story of a mama I worked with last year. She was stressed out in her job, feeling disconnected with her coworkers, as well as in her family. She reached out to me, wanting to focus on creating more space for herself in her own life. As a result, she gained energy, felt more confident and resilient at work, improved her relationship with her husband, and felt more present in her moments with her son. This happened in just a few sessions with me.
What could you achieve if you had a place in your own life? Imagine what amazing things you could accomplish if you believed that you were worth your time. What would you be able to do with that power? What would your relationships look like? Your career? Would you be able to live your life with more joy and fulfillment?
If you’re ready to find out how you can make this happen for yourself, get on my waitlist for my upcoming group coaching program (crazy discounts to be a founding member!!!). By getting on this waitlist, you’re telling me that you’re interested in hearing more about this program and what benefits you can receive. You’ll be the first to hear about it when the time comes this February.