Are you sabotaging yourself?
If you have ever really tried to stick to a nutrition program, then you have most likely failed, either in a little or a HUGE way. It happens to 99.99% of the people that I have ever counseled or spoken to about this problem. It doesn’t matter if you have a degree in nutrition. Or just a person who found something that works. At some point, your program is going to be challenged.
Speaking with a friend today, I was shocked at her admission of her struggles. She is an accomplished, professional athlete. And naturally I expected that she had her program together in order to get to her level of competition.
She confided in me that she has always struggled to stay on a program for the long haul. It is a common habit for her to get a few weeks into it, and then react to some situation. And totally blow out her “stick” to the program. She just blows it. And it starts to spiral downward. Admittedly, she does not really know or understand why she does this to herself.
Have you experienced this? It’s mind-blowing to me. Because she was about the 3rd person this WEEK that had come to me with their personal tales of repeated self-sabotage behavior.
In the course of those conversations, I had the opportunity to dig a little deeper to try and understand them. And what my own similar experiences mean. From those interactions, I wanted to share some simple yet powerful tools for recognizing and overcoming the self-sabotaging behavior that can bring us down.
Tools to Overcome Self Sabotaging Behavior
1. Identify the feeling that IMMEDIATELY preceded the stumble. Were you feeling angry, frustrated, powerless, overwhelmed, undervalued, rebellious, tired, lazy, resentful? It is so important to be brave and honest enough to look that emotion in the face. It is a huge part of the discovery process.
2. What situation(s) initiated that feeling you discovered above? Did you have an argument? Are you overwhelmed with your responsibilities? Financial pressures? Trouble at work? Kids got you pulling your hair out? Any one of those situations could evoke a strong emotional response.
3. Why did you start this program? Or, why do you start it over and over? What result are you striving to achieve? I mean, is it just weight loss? Or is it to impress someone? To get someones attention? Is it to be perceived by people a different way? Or simply to look and feel better in your body? Why is this question so important? Your reason for starting this in the first place has to be big enough. So when the emotional life trials kick in to low or high gear, your reason better be a pretty strong one to weather the storm.
In other words, is your goal REALLY your goal? This is how you can tell. In that split second moment of decision, and you say to yourself, “Do I want this (INSERT CRAPPY CHOICE HERE) right now? Because if I do it, it means that I want that more than I want my BIG GOAL/REASON. Let that settle on you for a second. Choose 1 way and get 1 result. Choose the other way and get a different result. Never shall the 2 intersect.
In the end, the actions you take are the TRUEST measure of what your real goals and desires are.
Guess what? This is not about judgment either! I coach people ALL THE TIME. I cannot want their goal for them, more than they do! It’s perfectly okay with me that you choose your goal to be as comfortable as possible. I know that you know that by choosing that GOAL, you choose everything that goes along with it. The GOOD, BAD and the UGLY. So, don’t ever worry about me criticizing you over what you choose as your goal.
BUT, and this is a BIG BUT….if you have told me, or yourself for that matter that you have a specific goal in mind. And you keep doing things that move you away from that goal. Then you are lying to me and lying to yourself. And it is time to readjust your goals. And be honest with yourself. It may be that somewhere deep inside of you, you want the goal. But you DON’T BELIEVE YOU DESERVE IT! That is why you mess up so bad. THAT is why you can’t ever get to the finish line. It’s deep water, I know… But in order to make this change, you are going to have to get wet.
So, from now on, when you are tempted to cheat or blow it, go through the exercises above. Verify that this is not going to be about self sabotaging behavior. Or about negative feelings as a response to a negative (or even positive-think celebrating) situation. So if you are genuinely just going to allow yourself a cheat MEAL… Then do it. And LOVE it! But a reactionary treat meal is likely to lead you down a path that is far away from your goals.
The very last, and potentially most important piece is the accountability. Who can you profess your goals to? Who will call you out when you try to make excuses for NOT pursuing your stated goals? It’s gotta be someone strong. Someone you trust. Who won’t be intimidated by your emotional side. And who has only your best interests to serve. It could be a friend, spouse (yikes!), or a coach like me. But it is the handrails on the rope bridge over the canyon.
These are tools I use myself and teach to the people I coach. They work and I offer them to you. And hope that you try them so that they can work for you too!
You are DESIGNED to live
LEAN – STRONG – HEALTHY!
Anne (Annie) Berryhill is a Crossfit Level 1 Trainer, USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach, Crossfit Athlete and competitor who owns and operates OC Fitness Revival in Orange County, CA. Services include personal and group training, nutrition classes and counseling. As well as providing incredible health-improving supplements to help people to make the most out of what they’ve got.