I have noticed for some time that I can’t follow through with my goals and intentions, and that I always seem to ruin good things before they get really good. So today I looked up the meaning of self sabotage. Self sabotaging is when your negative thoughts get in the way of you reaching your goals. I learned the most common ways are procrastination, comfort eating, and self medicating with drugs or alcohol. It is an umbrella term for self destructive behavior. I also learned that I am not alone in my struggle.
I am so good at self sabotage that my New Year’s resolution for the past few years has been to follow through on something. Anything! It isn’t to get in shape or eat better or accomplish a specific goal. It is just to accomplish one of the many goals I set for myself but end up never reaching. We are pretty much 35 weeks into this year, and I have probably said 30 times that my diet will start on Monday. Every couple of weeks I make an exercise schedule that ends after 3 or 4 days. I don’t quit because I don’t like what I’m doing, I actually really enjoy exercising. I also don’t quit my diets because I don’t like eating healthy food, I love healthy food! The list of things I quit is never ending, I really can’t tell you the last time I finished something I started. Let me clarify, I always keep my word to other people, it is only my own goals that I can’t seem to accomplish.
In my brief research of self sabotage, I learned that most of the negative thoughts or actions are ingrained in us from childhood. It may be that we were told by a parental figure that we would never amount to anything because we are too lazy, for example. It can also be from witnessing a parental figure be negative towards themselves in regards to body image issues or money problems to name a few.
I consider myself very successful. I graduated high school and college, I have a really good job that pays the bills, I have a family that is supportive of me. So why am I doing this to myself? I honestly ask myself this question over and over but never seem to find an answer. They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Maybe I needed to take this step of searching Google for “what does it mean to self sabotage?”
One of my most stressful issues is money. Not that I don’t make enough of it, because I do if you look at my tax return. It’s the fact that I never seem to have any. I get raises and pay off bills, and still end up feeling like I’m struggling. For example, I got completely out of credit card debt and then back into credit card debt within the same year. It’s like I can’t handle being in control of my finances. I have to ruin all of my hard work and make my money situation stressful for myself.
After thinking about my multitude of self sabotaging habits and which areas of my life they impact, I came up with this list: money, interpersonal relationships with friends and coworkers, losing weight and exercising. I have spent the entire day thinking about these things and what the reasons are that I can’t seem to accomplish even the tiniest goal related to any of these topics.
Money, as I explained above, has always been an issue for me. But what I keep forgetting is that money has always been an issue for my parents and their families as well. The more I thought about this, I remembered my father saying that no one in his family (except for one of his sisters) has ever or will ever have money. They can pay their bills and everything, but they will never be able to reap the benefits of saving up for a big vacation or retiring early or buying a fancy house. Hold on a minute. Did I just say that a comment my father made 20 years ago is still effecting how I live my life? That answer is yes.
Interpersonal relationships is another one of my sabotaged areas. I have a hard time forgiving people, and have completely ended friendships because of something that was said or done. I also have a problem of not thinking before I speak, and this has gotten me into uncomfortable situations. I can hurt someone’s feelings so easily, and I don’t ever intend to. I still get scolded by my mother for how I speak to her. Let me just say that woman is a saint for raising me, I can’t imagine how difficult it was. Another example happened just the other day. I made a comment at work to management that I never should have said. I did apologize to my manager, and she reminded me that I need to think before I speak. It made me stressed for days, and I even started thinking that I should not be in my field, and I shouldn’t try to pursue a position in management one day. Seriously? I am really good at my job, and I have always been a leader, so why in the world am I thinking these things?!
If I think back to my childhood, and what could be the reason for this, I can only think of how my parents argued all of the time. I remember them yelling at each other constantly. Even though they have been divorced for over 10 years now, nothing has changed between them. Is this what has impacted my ability to interact with others in a way that will form lasting relationships? Is this the reason I have a hard time getting to know people and letting myself be vulnerable so that people can know who I really am? I am not my mother, and I am not in the situation of being in a marriage with someone who I don’t get along with, so why can’t I have successful, life long relationships? I deserve to.
I will combine losing weight and exercising into one category. Body image. I have had body image issues for as long as I can remember. I was never skinny enough or pretty enough, no matter what others said to me. There was a short period of time in college when I did think I fit my definition of skinny and pretty, but I did not get there in a healthy way, and that is an entirely different blog post.
All of my life, I was involved in activities like ballet, tap and jazz dancing, hip hop dancing, basketball, softball, track and field and cross country. I even tried my hand at soccer and tennis, but didn’t have the time to commit to them. I was an athlete. I worked my butt off at everything I did, and I was pretty good at everything I tried. So why am I having such a hard time getting back into exercising? I’m not talking boot camps and doing things I hate. I am taking ballet classes and my husband is a boxing instructor, and I truly don’t mind running and doing yoga. I just can’t get through an entire week doing what I had planned for myself.
Are you ready for this? When I was a senior in high school, I was told that I would not be starting on the basketball team, and instead of me, the daughter of the men’s team coach would be taking my position. I, to this day, believe this was the wrong decision for the success of our team. To make a long story short, we lost games we shouldn’t have and weren’t the best we could’ve been. And I sat on the sidelines watching the entire time, knowing that when I was allowed to play, we did a lot better than when I was on the bench. So I ended up quitting the team before the season ended, because I just couldn’t handle watching everyone else play. I even watched a whole lot more during practice because I wasn’t considered a key player, and for that, my endurance and skills suffered. I guess I am a quitter now? Why am I letting this one bad experience ruin all of the experiences that have come after it? This happened 11 years ago.