Do you procrastinate?
Research shows that people who procrastinate most are those who have a lot on their plate. Rather then forcing yourself to do things, stop for a moment and ask yourself what you are stressed about. Yes, think about what’s causing you most stress at the moment. The situation that’s causing you stress is most likely always on your mind. It’s depleting you of your mental and physical willpower. And when it comes to doing something productive, the prefrontal cortex (a part of your brain) is shouting ‘I have been so busy figuring the thing out that is causing you stress. I’m tired, give me a brake!’ 2 hours later you catch yourself watching silly videos on YouTube…
4 steps that will change everything
If the above sounds painfully familiar, being aware of the below 4 steps – yet better applying them – will change how you look at procrastination. More importantly, you to develop new habits and will start making empowering choices which will change everything!
Step #1 – Think about what’s stressing you out most – take your time doing this & be honest with yourself!
Step #2 – Think about what role you play in this situation and FORGIVE yourself! Yes, you need to apply the F-word – truly and honestly. The act of true forgiveness relaxes us & frees up headspace. So forgive yourself about having thoughts about yourself and others which don’t serve you. Forgive yourself about looking at the world negatively – disregarding the things that are good in your life. Forgive yourself about being hard on yourself and feeling stressed, anxious, down as a result. You may even want to give yourself a hug!
Step #3 – Thinking of your task, apply The 5-Second Rule: Quickly count down from 5 to 1 with the intention to immediately start with the task as soon as you reach 1 and ONLY for 5 minutes! The counting down distracts the brain from having procrastinating thoughts. Plus, research shows that 80 percent of you will keep going after the 5 minutes!
Step #4 – Apply the above 3 steps consistently over the next 30 days! By doing so, you will gradually create new & empowering habits. Also, you will create new neurological pathways, which will make it so much easier for you to look at the world as a better place. This process in incredibly powerful – especially when we realise that the lives we lead are the direct result of the thoughts and behaviours we practice most!
Behind every act of self-sabotage lie different feelings, beliefs and convictions.
These feelings, beliefs and convictions will be different for all of us. They are the real cause for self-sabotaging behaviour.
If you have recognised that you self-sabotage and want to do something about it, you have to start with asking yourself some honest questions. One of the most important questions is ‘What am I afraid of?’
Below you will find some of the most common ways why people self-sabotage.
- fear of failure and embarrassment
- fear of success
- fear of loss of safety
- fear of disapproval and criticism
- fear of resentment
- feeling of inadequacy and low self-worth
- overwhelming yourself
- guilt and self-blame
You will always make sure things happen as you feel and believe deep down inside.
How to heal self-sabotage
The first step towards healing self-sabotaging behaviour is recognising what’s going on and, ideally also, why. Examine your past and try to find a connection why you sabotage yourself. Did something happen to you in the past, going as far back as your childhood, that you cannot forget? Once you are aware of your self-defeating behaviours and habits and where they come from, you have a choice to act differently.
Many of the self-sabotaging behaviours run on a subconscious level as they have been practiced over and over again (often for many years) and until they have become an almost inseparable part of us – as in Dave’s case.
To change our self-sabotaging and self-defeating behaviours, we need to start working on the way we see ourselves in the world and how we fit in.
Here are some tools which will help you to overcome self-sabotage:
- Create and repeat affirmations daily – in fact as often as you can and especially when you notice your self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviour kicking-in. Affirmations are positive statements including doing and feeling words which have the power to change how you feel about yourself and motive you to do good things you may be afraid of.
For example and in the case of perfectionism (which may be holding us back from enjoying our work and experiencing life), you could use an affirmation such as: ‘I’m feeling good about getting things done and move on knowing that done is the new perfect.’
- Create an image of what or who you want to be. Bring this image up every time you find yourself sabotaging and ask yourself the question ‘How is my behaviour helping me to get to this place?’ If it isn’t, do something different which will – no matter how small the step might appear to be.
- Create a vision board which will remind you of the person you want to be, the things you want to have and do, the places you want to go to etc. Be creative with it and put it somewhere where you will see it daily. Look at it and take the time to imagine that you have achieved all the things on the board until you feel really good about yourself.
Get professional help
It’s OK if you feel that you can’t do this yourself. Sometimes the feeling of self-worth or inadequacy, or perhaps the feeling that you don’t deserve something are so deeply rooted that professional help is needed (coaches, psychologists etc.). And there is nothing wrong with that.
If we don’t feel well or sustain an injury to our body it feels natural to see a doctor. So why shouldn’t we seek out a professional who could help us to feel better, which as a result would allow us act in better ways.
Failing to achieve your goal in the past does not mean that you cannot achieve it in the future.
Sonja Kirschner MA
Sonja Kirschner MA is the founder of APOWER 3 - Confidence Coaching, Resilience Building & Mind Freedom®. She is an accredited coach and is passionate about empowering women leaders.