Foiled by Your Own Self-Sabotaging Behaviors?

Woman choose between cake and appleWhy would we choose to sabotage ourselves? You know, those frustrating times when we set a new exercise plan and promptly skip doing it. Or we set a new, healthier, eating program, and then head directly for the frig in search of something sweet. Why do we do that? In my experience, there are many reasons, most having to do with our resident belief structure.


We accumulate this belief structure throughout our lifetime. We have events happen to us. Then, we make decisions, build perceptions, and choose a belief because of experiencing that event. These beliefs are usually about how life is, who we are, what always happens, what never happens, what we can do, what we can’t do, and the like.


So long as these beliefs are healthy, unlimited, in alignment with TRUTH, and rational, they serve us well. As new events happen, they are filtered through this belief structure and instinctively, automatically, and effortlessly, we respond to this new event based upon the “knowledge” of those beliefs. Unfortunately, if any of our belief structure is limiting, unhealthy, irrational, simply not the TRUTH, or not in our best interest, they still color our response in an ineffective, destructive, or often unhealthy way.


If we hold beliefs that include phrases related to literal or even figurative survival, the subconscious response moves in the direction that the belief drives so “survival” is likely.


Say, for example, we hold the subconscious belief — if I do everything that I should to improve my health, I’ll have no time left to have a life. Then our subconscious would likely sabotage any attempts at following health improvement programs. After all, why would we do something that would result in not having a life? The subconscious can interpret these beliefs quite literally. It operates in the area of feelings and deep knowing, rather than in the realm of rational thought. It is important to remember our response is NOT about what we THINK.


When planning to change behavior, it is always a good idea to root out any if/ then survival beliefs. Then do appropriate affirmational programs to shift them. When completed, it will allow us to respond to life in the new intended way, without fighting or sabotaging ourselves.



The subconscious is really powerful. Used appropriately, it is a strong ally. Allowing incongruent beliefs to stay lodged and functional in the subconscious creates a powerful saboteur in our personal midst.


Another reason we sabotage intended changes is because we hold beliefs that require high or scary expectations of ourselves, if we fulfill a particular goal. For example, if we are afraid of public speaking in general, and simultaneously hold the belief that if I go for this promotion, I will have to speak in front of hundreds of people on a regular basis and I’ll choke up. This belief can cause us to sabotage even trying for the new, exciting, higher paying position in the field of our dreams. When the actual truth is—with a little research, we might discover that we’d only be speaking in front of 8 to 10 people to start or most of the time. And further with a little shifting of belief structure and a speech class or two, we might discover we actually enjoy speaking to groups.


Another reason for sabotaging intended behavior changes is due to the fact that the current behavior is actually working for us. There is actually at least a subconscious, perceived payoff for remaining sick—(they will take care of me), or remaining helpless—(someone else will do IT), or not doing what we say we want—(’cause then I’ll have to…). It is important to review if the change is truly something we personally want and will indeed serve us; as well as dig really deep for any rational or irrational payoffs for not changing the behavior, habit, or status quo. For example, if staying overweight allows us not to address our fear of dating, because we a.) then expect ourselves to get back into the dating scene if we lose weight and b.) our prior dating or relationship experiences were perceived as disastrous, then why ever would our subconscious allow us to lose the excess weight?

Oak Tree Blown Down Across a Neighborhood Street

There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path; don’t allow yourself to become one of them.  ~  Ralph Marston

If we hold generalized beliefs about no matter what I do, I never get what I want; or even if I actually get my goal, it gets taken away; or it is not possible for me to actually ever get what I want; then any new plans will often be met, first with excitement and shortly thereafter with apathy or disinterest. After all, why bother if we’d never achieve it or get to keep it anyway?



So, it is really useful to take a good look at our related and generalized belief structure surrounding any new changes or plans that we want to bring into being. Pre emptive action will save time, effort and the frustration of those pesky beliefs becoming huge stumbling blocks on the way to achieving our goals.


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