Why do people self-sabotage?

You may or may not know that I started out as a personal fitness trainer (many, many moons ago). The first few years were brutal and I almost quit several times. I eventually ended up taking a 6 month break from my business in an attempt to rearrange my thoughts, work on my mindset, and recharge my batteries.

Returning from my hiatus I was on fire!!! I worked harder than ever before and I actually started seeing some progress. My schedule was filling up, I gained more and more confidence in myself and my abilities, and the first year back I made 60k. Which may not sound like a lot but for me it was waaaaay more than I had ever made before in my business. Life was good!

The next goal I set for myself was 100k. If I could make a 100k a year, then I’d be set. With 2-4 weeks vacation a year, I calculated I would need to make about nine thousand dollars a month. The first few months of the following year went well. I actually hit my first 10k month. I was on track to reach my goal in no time and I was sooooo excited!

But then something happened. It was weird. I noticed that I didn’t put in the effort that I put in at the beginning. I kept getting annoyed with my work. Clients kept canceling on me and the new clients that came in were the opposite of my “ideal” client. As a result I could see my income dwindling down and I ended up making pretty much the same money I had made the year before. This whole process repeated the following year. 

It almost seemed like I was sabotaging myself. Every time things were going well, something happened that pulled me back to the level I was at before. There was just no escaping it. 

As I was going through the process trying to figure out what the hell I was doing, I realized that some of my personal training clients were doing the same thing in their fitness journey. They’d do really well for several months and once they hit the first milestones, they lost motivation, they didn’t put in the effort they did at the beginning, and they ended up where they had started (or worse). 

Why am I telling you this story? Because I believe that actually happens to a lot of people; in business and in life itself. And it might be happening to you as well. 

What is self-sabotage?

Let’s take a closer look at self-sabotage. Self-sabotage simply means that your actions, thoughts and behavioral patterns are not aligned with your goals. You want to make x amount of money but you’re not putting the effort in to market your business, network, and find new clients. You want to lose weight but you keep eating ice cream in front of the TV instead of hitting the gym. You want a loving relationship but you keep criticizing your partner. You get the picture. 

The causes of self-sabotage

This is so frustrating!! But why are you doing this? Why do you keep making the same mistakes? 

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I talk a lot about the role our subconscious plays in our life. (If you haven’t watched the masterclass on how your mind works, I highly encourage you to check it out. It’s only 20 min long and it will give you great insight into why we as humans do, what we do. You can watch it here).

The main objective your subconscious mind has is that it wants to keep you safe. As a result, it will try to prevent (or sabotage) everything that seems like a threat to your safety. Makes sense, right? 

The problem is, that what your subconscious mind interprets as a threat might actually be necessary for you to make progress in your life. 

Let me give you an example: You’re very comfortable in your business right now. You’re making good money, things are going well, and you decide you want to push it a bit further. You want to grow your business. 

In order for you to do that, you decide you need some investors. So you prepare a presentation, do your research, but when it comes to reaching out and actually scheduling meetings with investors, you panic. And all the hard work, all the preparation, all your hopes and dreams will end up in your desk drawer. 

What happened? There is a good chance that your subconscious mind associated some kind of danger with the situation. 

Maybe holding presentations in general is something that has been freaking you out for years because when you were six years old you had a role in your school’s theater play, you forgot your lines, and the whole school laughed at you. Now every time you have a presentation coming up or know you’ll be in the spotlight, you’ll find excuses.  

Or maybe the idea of actually finding an investor freaks you out. What if you are not able to generate the promised profit? What if you lose their money? What if you fail? Maybe you’ve failed in other endeavors in the past and now your subconscious mind wants to protect you from making a similar mistake and experiencing the frustration and feeling of defeat that came with it all over again. 

There are literally a million reasons why people self-sabotage but most of them boil down to three main things: 

A fear of failure

A feeling of not being good enough, not being worthy of success

A fear of success 

What to do about it

If you want to break through to the next level of your business, you need to find out what exactly it is that is holding you back. If you keep repeating the same patterns of procrastination, losing drive and momentum when it gets important, focusing on the little things that keep you busy instead of making major moves that will bring you forward in your business, then pause for a second. 

Grab a pen and paper and do a, how I call it, “brain dumb”. Ask yourself: What is going on? Why am I holding back? Why am I self-sabotaging? And simply write down everything that comes to mind. Don’t think about it, just write. 

This process alone will help you become more aware of your underlying patterns and thought processes. And sometimes this is already enough to give you the push that you need to get going and stop self-sabotaging. If the issue lies a bit deeper and has been ongoing for a while, I highly recommend hypnosis. Hypnosis is an AWESOME way to establish communication with your subconscious mind so you can initiate changes in your thought patterns and beliefs. Once your subconscious mind understands that there is no threat involved and that you will be capable of dealing with whatever situation arises as a result of becoming more successful at what you do, it will stop resisting. 

And when your subconscious mind is on board, there is no stopping you!

If you need help with this, feel free to reach out here