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Last Updated on August 17, 2020

How to Stop Self-Sabotaging and Be Positive Again

How to Stop Self-Sabotaging and Be Positive Again

The following quote is one of the best descriptions of what self sabotage is all about and how it negatively impacts living life to the fullest.

“Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.” -Alyce Cornyn-Selby

If you are in the habit of self sabotage, you are actively getting in the way of your own goals and dreams. The reasons one may do this can be complex, but there are ways to learn how to stop self sabotage.

Why Do We Sabotage Ourselves?

Self sabotage is when we do something that gets in the way of our intent or of our biggest dreams or goals in life. We want something, but somehow we never accomplish it.

Many of us (including me) are engaged in self-destructive behaviors that have become habits. We allow these behaviors and habits to undermine our right to success and happiness. The funny thing is that we often don’t even realize we are doing it. These destructive thoughts and behaviors are part of our life, and we accept that!

Your brain is built to reinforce and regulate your life, but what many people don’t realize is that, just as your brain is built to regulate your physical self, it also tries to regulate your mental self.

Your subconscious mind is the gatekeeper to your comfort zone. The subconscious is wired to see self sabotage as a way to protect you, prevent pain, and keep you safe. When we want to step out of our comfort zone or do anything that challenges us, our subconscious starts to work on stopping us.

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If we allow a self-sabotaging mindset to control us, over time our inner voice becomes an inner critical voice that holds us back from seizing new challenges and living life to our fullest potential.

How to Recognize Your Self Sabotage Habits

The first step to breaking the cycle of self sabotage is becoming aware of these behaviors. Once you know which self-destructive habits, thought patterns, and mindsets are holding you back, you can then start to take action to manage the negative influence they have on your life

In her book, The Healthy Mind Toolkit, Alice Boyes[1] helps the reader self-diagnose their sabotaging thinking and behavioral habits that are holding them back in life and in love. She also provides simple, practical tips for overcoming these patterns.

Alice Boyes identifies the 3 common self-sabotage behaviors that most people have:

1. Procrastination

Instead of completing goals in a timely manner, you allow yourself to take your time or find excuses to extend the timeline. You agree with your inner voice’s numerous reasons as to why you have to wait for the right time to start or even finish a project or achieve a goal. Nothing will be achieved, and you end up frustrated.

2. Negative Self-Talk / Negative Thinking

Your inner voice is constantly critical, and you keep blaming yourself for your past mistakes. Regretful thinking dominates your thoughts. Your self-belief and confidence are at an all-time low.

3. Perfectionism

You tell yourself you can’t take action until it is the right time or believe you need to perfect your skills before you move forward. Perfectionism is impossible to maintain in your life, and you will not move forward in any part of your life if you cling to this.

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Once you understand what self sabotage means for you, and you recognize your behaviors and thought patterns, then you can take action to learn how to stop self sabotage.

How to Stop Self Sabotaging

Here are 4 steps that you can take immediately to stop self sabotaging your success and to start living a more positive life.

1. Look at Your Self-Worth

For many of us, our self sabotage behaviors and beliefs are rooted in our feelings of self-worth. Figuring out what is causing you to self sabotage will help you to focus on the specific changes to stop these behaviors.

In her book, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It, Dr. Valerie Young provides an in-depth study of the Imposter Syndrome and the Five Personality Types[2].

Our subconscious is where the Imposter Syndrome and self sabotage plays. One of the five personality types of Imposter Syndrome is the Perfectionist. In her book, Dr, Valerie Young provides practical strategies on how to overcome the Imposter Syndrome from ruining your life.

If perfectionism or any self sabotage behaviors are impacting your life, then reading Dr. Valerie Young’s book would be a great start for you to start working out which of the strategies she suggests to fix this problem.

2. Take Time For Reflection

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

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Taking time out to understand why you keep shooting yourself in the foot is important. Self-reflection enables you to think through your choices, decisions, and actions. It gives you space to dig deep within yourself to gain more insight into your underlying emotions and desires.

Only through self-reflection will you gain the necessary insight, perspective, and understanding to begin the process of change and personal transformation.

3. Face Your Fears

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face….We must do that which we think we cannot.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

The first step to overcoming procrastination is to take action. We procrastinate mainly because we are afraid. The best way to deal with our fear is to face it. You won’t ever be able to live a positive, full, and happy life if you are always fearful.

Ask yourself if you really want to self sabotage your chance of living a full and happy life. Hopefully, the answer is NO. Then, write down all the negative feelings, fears, or random thoughts that come up as to why you shouldn’t achieve your goals or dreams in life. Keep going until there are no more negative thoughts left.

Then, look at every negative fear or thought you have written down and, beside each one, put an X next to the ones that are potentially life-threatening. Hopefully, there will be no X’s, and you will realize that you have nothing to fear. So go for it!

4. Focus on Only Listening to Your Inner Positive Voice

“For me, it’s always been about preparation, and the more prepared I can be each week, the less pressure I feel and the more confident I am. As your confidence grows, it’s only natural that the pressure you feel diminishes.” -Aaron Rodgers

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Fear tends to be the main cause of what holds us back. We fear that our inner critic is right; we believe that we don’t deserve happiness, aren’t tough or bright enough, or we just don’t have it in us to be a success in life. These thoughts and self-limiting beliefs are not helpful, and your negative dialogue needs to become a very slight whisper that you can hardly hear.

To live a positive and fulfilling life, your internal dialogue also needs to be positive as well. You can choose not to engage in self-sabotaging behaviors and thoughts by focusing on sending more positive and encouraging thoughts to your inner self.

Affirmations, practicing gratitude, showing appreciation, and doing acts of kindness are three very practical actions you can take to having a more positive mindset.

Final Thoughts

Once you identify why you are exhibiting self-sabotage behaviors, you can then take action to learn how to stop self sabotage and rise above these destructive behaviors. The four practical actions above are realistic steps that will enable you to take control so that you can live your life to your fullest potential, where you are not afraid or lacking in self-belief.

Your inner self-critic no longer holds you back. It is your inner positive voice that encourages you and supports you to grab those opportunities and chase your dreams. That is what living a positive life is all about.

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what? Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident, and more and more successful.” ­-Mark Victor Hansen

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on October 5, 2020

How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

We are given life with many opportunities to make it everything we want it to be and more. If you find that you’ve slipped into living a boring life, it’s time to take a hard look at what you’ve been doing and what you can start doing now to make it more interesting.

Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, or maybe your daily routine is limiting your growth and happiness. Whatever your reason is, the following list can definitely make any day or life more interesting. Some of them are silly, while some are more meaningful, so hopefully just reading the list makes your life less boring and sparks your creativity.

Let’s dive in the list to quit your boring life and start living an interesting (and meaningful) one!

1. Channel Your 7-Year-Old Self

Imagine being a young child. Life was never boring, was it? That’s because children harness every ounce of creativity they have in order to try new things.

What would your 7-year-old self want to do in this moment? Maybe they’d pick up a paintbrush and try to paint the landscape around them. May they would go outside and build something with random materials around the yard. Maybe they would raid the fridge and put together a dish they’ve never seen before.

Just because you’re a grown-up doesn’t mean any of this stuff will be less enjoyable than you remember it. Give yourself permission to play and use your creativity to its fullest.

2. Go Play With Kids

Speaking of little kids, if you have your own (or a niece or nephew), go play with them!

Kids are absolutely hilarious, so it’s simply impossible to be bored when you’re around them. They also keep things so simple, and we can really stand to be reminded of this and stop allowing ourselves to get bogged down in boring details.

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3. Play Cell Phone Roulette

You’ll need at least one buddy for this, but this is a great way to avoid a boring life. Scroll through the contacts in your phone, stop on a random one, and (if it feels right) call the person.

You could spark an incredible catch-up session or, at the very least, remind someone that you’re thinking of them. Neither are boring.

4. Fill out a Pack of Thank-You Cards

This is a great part of a gratitude practice. We often forget to thank the people who do things for us, especially if we have come to expect those things. For example, have you ever thought about thanking your mom for that weekly phone call? Or thanking your sister for always sending you a homemade gift on your birthday?

Take time to think of at least 5 people you would like to say thank you to and write out a card. You could even write them out for random people in your neighborhood, like the local librarian, a teacher at your child’s school, or the accountant at your bank.

Anyone and everyone appreciates being thanked for their efforts.

5. Sign up for a Class

Nowadays, there are classes for everything. To make it as interesting as possible, try finding one that you wouldn’t normally consider doing, like salsa lessons, improv, or boxing.

Otherwise, try to find a course on something you’ve always wanted to learn, like pottery, photography, or a foreign language course.

What’s good about joining an interest class is that you will also meet new people, which will add even more interest to your life!

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6. Talk to Your Grandparents About Their Lives

We often underestimate how interesting the elderly are. You can rest assured that any elderly person you talk to will not have had a boring life! Take some time to talk to them and hear their interesting stories. You may even find that this motivates you to go out and find your own interesting experiences.

7. Get up on Stage at an Open Mic Night

Whether you’re funny or not, get up on stage. If you’re not into comedy, find an open mic that focuses on reading poetry or short stories and bring your own. These groups tend to be incredibly supportive for anyone who is willing to be brave enough to get up and try.

8. Do Something for Someone Else

Showing kindness automatically makes you feel good, but doing these small acts will also help to ensure that you don’t have a boring life. Try doing one or two things each week that are outside your normal routine.

For example, you could make a batch of cookies for the mailperson or help your elderly neighbor organize one of their rooms. There are a million ways to show kindness to those around you. Tap into your creativity and find your own or use some of the ideas from the image below[1].

Do random acts of kindness to avoid living a boring life.

    9. Start a DIY Project in Your Home

    If you have your own place, there is always a project that needs to get done. Many people simply pay for someone else to do it in order to avoid the hassle, but taking on a DIY project can make a boring life much more interesting.

    It doesn’t have to be super complicated. Maybe you repaint an old vase or build a spice shelf out of used pallets.

    If you need ideas, you can also check out these 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of.

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    10. Plan a Weekend Trip or an All-Out Vacation

    This will give you something to look forward to. One study actually found that most travelers are happiest before a vacation[2]. Therefore, simply planning a trip will boost your mood, even if you can’t actually take the vacation right now.

    Even if you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, plan for a staycation, which is also fun and relaxing!

    11. Go People Watching

    Find a bench in a crowded area (centers of transportation like airports, bus stops, and train stations are great for this!) and just observe[3].

    People are infinitely interesting. Try to imagine what their lives are like, what they’re thinking, or where they’re going. You’ll never know if you’re right, but it will give you something to focus on and also help you practice empathy.

    12. Eat Something You’ve Never Eaten Before

    You can try that new Moroccan restaurant down the street and pick the most interesting dish on the menu. Or, you can raid your own fridge and throw together a dish you’ve never made before.

    If you’re up for a trip to the grocery store, try picking up a new fruit or veggie from the produce section. You may find a new food that you love!

    13. Dance

    You can get your friends together for a night on the town or just pull up a video on YouTube and bust a move from your own living room.

    If you’re feeling extra brave, you can even dance in public or join a flash mob.

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    14. Pick up a Book and Start Reading

    Reading a good book can keep you occupied for hours. It will also transport you to a life that isn’t your own, and one that likely will be the opposite of a boring life. You’ll be amazed by what you can learn from those pages.

    Pick on of these inspirational books to start reading: 10 Best Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life

    15. Spend Some Time With People You Care About

    Facebook stalking doesn’t count as real social interaction. Call up a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or bring a coffee over to your parent’s place and catch up. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and you’ll avoid boredom.

    16. Check out a Museum You’ve Never Been to

    Some people are bored by museums, so if that’s you, skip to the next one. However, if you love art, history, or culture, this one is for you!

    17. Write a List of Things You Desire and Truly Want

    This is a great way to help you figure out the real reason why you’re feeling bored about your life. Maybe you haven’t really done things that you truly enjoy? Maybe what you’ve wanted to do all the time has been left behind?

    Think about the list of things you really want to do, and ask yourself why you aren’t doing these things (yet). Then, start taking your first step to make it happen.

    Now, go make your life interesting and live your dream life!

    More on How to Quit a Boring Life

    Featured photo credit: Alex Alvarez via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] FECAVA: Random Acts of Kindness
    [2] Applied Research in Quality of Life: Vacationers Happier, but Most not Happier After a Holiday
    [3] Psychology Today: The Expert’s Guide to People Watching

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