Self-Sabotage – Part Two

by 30th July 2020

Dwelling on “If Only”

The behaviour

In some of my clients, I often see the same behaviour played out. These behaviours are preventing people from taking the next step towards success. People sometimes get into this rut of self-sabotage. Are you stuck in this rut? I believe we have all been there at one time or another?

Dwelling on, ”If only…”

We all have these regrets that we must live with: “If only I’d studied harder.”; “If only I could stand up for myself.” A lot of us have played this “if only” game, with things we have no control over and wish we could change. The classical one I get told by the younger generation is “If only I could have parents that understand me and knew how I felt.” A common one I get told by adults, “If only my partner would change.”

I could write a whole page of, “if only…”

These “if only” feelings have been going on for centuries, and the major problem with “if only” is that it does not lead to us to action.

“If only” keeps us stuck and brings with it nothing but frustration. It does not get us moving into action and does not solve any problems. Right now you could be in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50’s, 60’s; reading this while being stuck in the “if only” trap.

If for instance, you use “if only” in your relationships it will cause resentment and will make your relationship more likely to struggle in the long term.

Let’s play a game (I’m all for playing games when I am coaching or training!). Let’s turn “if only” into accepting a different mindset.

(a) I can’t do anything about the past it’s gone: I am going to accept that that stage of my life is over, and that stage of my life is behind me. I can learn from it, and learn how not to do things in the future and what went wrong. The things that went right I am going to take with me.

(b) Think of the future: Ask yourself the following questions: “How can I improve my future?” What can I do today that will give me that satisfaction?

This is an amazing way of looking at “if only” with an alternative mindset and a different point of view. Using this in my work and life has certainly helped me.

How can you change these negative behaviour patterns of self-sabotage?

Being afraid of your thoughts: The thoughts that tell us we are no good, the thoughts of the obsessional thinker that is locked in battle, the thoughts that we just can’t let go. Let’s stop you getting trapped in that battle, unable to take that step forward. (I read somewhere that to change your thinking it can help by thinking of something funny thoughts or a magic act). The longer that your battle with your thoughts is going on, the more you are denying yourself opportunities, and the more negativity you are locking yourself into. So, acknowledge your thoughts and label them. Try saying this out loud: “I made a mistake, and yes, I have been stressed out. I acknowledge that I don’t have to be afraid of this as I am human. From this point on, however, I will sleep better, get over this bad week, I will no longer dwell upon it or think about it, and will learn from it so that I can now move forward in life”.

Burying your feelings: A few people think that screaming at the top of voice is a great way of letting go of your feelings and that this will lead to you feeling better. This is not necessarily useful. The best way of dealing with your feelings is to first acknowledge them, and slowly work through them in the first place. Most of the time we do bury our feelings out of embarrassment or guilt. These feelings when hidden start to grow, and get bigger and bigger. They start to attack our inside, and unfortunately, these emotions never seem to go away on their own, even though we do our best at keeping them in. It’s almost like having a pan of hot, boiling water on the stove, and you putting a lid on; it will just boil over. If you start to take the lid off a little bit and allow air to get in, it will simmer down calmly. So, therefore, acknowledge your feelings and don’t let them boil out of control.

Habitually ‘starting tomorrow’: Who is guilty of this? Hand ups! POV: You have eaten your way through three packets of biscuits, those nice naughty chocolate biscuits you buy for high days and holidays. You look at the time and it’s 4 pm in the afternoon and you think to yourself, I’ve done very little work today so you abandon today and have the rest of the day visualising tomorrow, a beautiful blank canvas. Saving your improvements, to-do’s and goals for tomorrow is a sabotaging habit. Let’s face it, it’s never tomorrow that the work gets done is it? As tomorrow is a constantly moving target. If you need a ‘clean canvas’ and that is your habit, it’s time to get motivated today my friend. Why not plan to have a clean canvas to work on in an hour? Or even in 30 minutes? This helps prevent you from getting further and further away from your goal.

  1. Plan your work, that is the first step towards progressing;
  2. I also endorse: Taking a brisk walk;
  3. Do meditation or self-hypnosis;
  4. Have a quick chat with a friend who encourages or inspires you;
  5. Do some breathing exercises;
  6. Do some exercise;
  7. Watch videos that make you smile or help to motivate you;
  8. These small steps will make you more productive and allow you to focus more on your goal. Get rid of that vague ‘tomorrow’, which when you come to think of it, is put you in the driving seat today. When you’re in the driving seat you are in control of getting work done.

Letting habits harm you rather than helping you: A good habit is fantastic to keep and have, and it is helping you in your life and is on your side. All too often we have habits that cause us nightmares, make us unproductive and unhealthy. Therefore having a clean canvas every day can be so helpful and powerful. We are desperate to be free from things that blight us; a failed diet, failed relationship, stress at work. We don’t want to hang onto any of it. We want a new start as that is what appeals to us and seems like the only answer or way out. I have some good news for you, you can change and become the new you and obtain positive habits that will propel you forward through life if you want to change, right now.

About Karen Baughan

Karen Baughan is an NLP Master Practitioner based in Bromsgrove, UK. Having used NLP to affect her own personal transformation, she now helps clients, from around the world, to transform their lives and achieve their dreams.

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