We often hear phrases like “get out of your own way” at the various empowerment conferences and masterclasses we attend. Then Auntie Iyanla Vanzant loves to tell us to “do the work, beloved”. It all sounds good. We sit back and nod in agreement while committing to do whatever work we need to do, only to sit down in real life and realize we don’t know what we’re doing or where to start.
At the root of these phrases lies the common issue of self-sabotage. We’ve all dealt with them in some shape or form and many of us have yet to conquer them. So before we kick off the new year, let’s go ahead and admit that we have some self-sabotaging habits so we can address them and move on to living our best lives. Here, I’ve listed the 5 most common self-sabotaging habits and how to finally kick them for good:
- Procrastination – It’s the king of all self-sabotaging behaviors and we’ve all fallen victim to it at some point in our lives. Many times, it presents itself in the forms of distractions, laziness, and frustration. If you give into it enough, it will attach itself to you like an addiction and actually become a part of your character before you even realized it. Defeating procrastination will take time and practice. Create a process where you set out to accomplish a task, give that task a specific time block, and eliminate ALL known distractions during that time block until that task is complete. Do not miss your appointed time block for anything. Repeat this process over and over for multiple tasks. At the very least, you’ll become more productive and begin to feel more confident in the fact that you’re actually creating movement in your life.
- Inconsistency – If procrastination is the king of self-sabotaging habits then inconsistency definitely reigns as the queen. How many times have you started working toward a goal with tons of enthusiasm only for you to give up on it a week later? Inconsistency is the result of a lack of self-discipline. To strengthen your self-discipline, you’re going to have to practice it day in and day out. Try tackling one goal like getting up an hour earlier than normal every morning for 30 consecutive days. Once you can do this without fail for 30 straight days, pick up another good lifestyle habit you want to adopt and do the same thing. Discipline is like a muscle. Work it out every day, feed it what it loves (attention) and not only will it grow stronger, it will naturally spill over into other areas of your life.
- Financial Irresponsibility – Reckless spending, mismanaging money, accumulating significant debt with no reasonable repayment plan in place…it’s all indicative of self-sabotage. Since so many people have such an emotional attachment to money, it’s no wonder why so many Americans are drowning in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. If you’re used to never having enough money, you’re most likely to squander it when you do come into more than what you normally have. Don’t believe me? It’s currently November. How many people do you know received a good $5,000 earlier this year in their tax refund checks and blew through it by the summer? That may have even been you. No shade. I’ve done it myself. Just know that these bad money habits are keeping you from progressing toward financial security. In my experience, defeating bad money habits only comes from getting help from an outside source. That could be a financial planner, financial literacy classes or workshops, books about money management, or a combination of all these. It could be as simple as asking a trusted friend or family member who you know is good with money to help you create a budget and a plan to reach a goal. Bottom line is, seek help!
- Snoozing – I don’t know who invented that damned snooze button but they need to know they let the enemy use them! I’m going to get biblical on this one, proverbial to be exact. It deserves such a reference, especially coming from the book of wisdom. Proverbs 6:10-11 says (NIV): A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. As a matter of fact, these same two verses are quoted again in Proverbs 24:33-34. You may or may not be too keen on biblical references but I’m sure you know that when an instruction is repeated, you may want to take note. Your snooze button is setting the tone for the rest of your day by giving you a pass to squander away your time. It’s subconsciously teaching you to procrastinate. You’re going to have to completely do away with the snooze button. Put your alarm on the other side of the room to make sure you have to physically get up out of the bed to turn it off. If you need a little more motivation to keep you from hopping back in bed after you’ve gotten up to turn off the alarm, jump down on the floor and pump out 10 push-ups; or immediately jump in the shower. Pick a routine that makes it extremely difficult to go back to sleep comfortably and do that every morning. Whatever you have to do. Just DON’T SNOOZE!!
- Compromising – Remember when we talked about inconsistency? If you’re wondering how you actually become inconsistent, it’s through tiny, seemingly insignificant compromises that you make with yourself. Every time you put off gym day, every time you hit the snooze button, every time you don’t follow through with what you said you were going to do; it’s all a compromise. Compromising is your intentional choice to settle for less than you what you planned for. It’s like taking a job to receive $1,000 after 30 days of work, but deciding to settle for $100 on the 15th day because you don’t want to do the rest of the work to earn the full amount. It’s insane. The best way to avoid compromising is to avoid hesitation. Hesitation is the starting point of compromise. The moment you begin to bargain with yourself about shortcuts to take around doing what you know needs to be done, is the moment you’ve considered a compromise. In that moment, you have to have the mental fortitude to shut it down! There can be no hesitation when it comes to executing your goals. Combat hesitation with action every time those thoughts pop into your head. Jump into the very task that hesitation is trying to get you to compromise on. This is another one that may take some practice. But start small, do it daily and it will become second nature.
Nothing is worse than knowing what you need to do but failing to actually do these things. Self-sabotage has many of us paralyzed with million-dollar business ideas locked away in our heads like a fancy car locked in a garage with no engine. Self-sabotage does not go down without a fight so you’re going to have to get your mind right and ready for war. But it’s all worth it when you look up 6 months or a year down the line to find that you’re a totally different person for the better and you’re living a life that you didn’t even know was possible.