Over and over again in life, I will be plugging away at some goal or some dream, when it suddenly falls all apart. It feels like a failure. It is frustrating to see all that hard work end up being for nothing, or so it seems. How anytime in our lives can we look back and see this same pattern? We have almost touched the finish line, after striving for so long and so hard, then we trip and never get across it. In reflection on my own history I can’t help but wonder if some of these instances were self-sabotage. Were there feelings of not being “good enough” or “worthy” that cause excuses to come up and block progress. Let’s look at some examples and dig a little deeper into this idea.
Weight loss: How many times have I been making great progress losing weight. I am working out, eating right, and the pounds are coming off. Then all of a sudden I completely binge on something and all bets are off. The diet is out the window and I am putting the weight back on. If I was successful for so long, why am I all of a sudden no longer capable? I have heard the idea that people may keep extra weight on as a type of protection. Could I be using weight as a way to feel safe? Could I be using it to hide from whom I am meant to be?
Running: I have thought, over the years, of running a half marathon in each of the 50 states. I have had goals of running a full marathon. I successfully trained and finished 3 half marathons. My time was not fast, but I was only in it, to do it. The joy of running and participating in a road race is amazing. It is fun and invigorating. I have done multiple 5Ks and a few 10Ks and even a 10 miler, over the years. I love doing them. The last half marathon and 5K I did were in 2015. I had been running for several years at that point but I hurt my knee and that was it. I believed that I couldn’t do it any more. I would feel the urge, year after year. Usually the autumn would call me to the running trails (as that was the start of the running season when I lived in Florida). It didn’t work so well for me to get back to running in the North country. I would use the Snow, the cold, my knee pain, my busy schedule, and every other excuse not to run anymore. Even at one point saying I was too old and that part of my life was over. Now, 7 years later, I am signed up to do a 5K the end of April. My training is going well. There is nothing in my body that “can’t” do it. The only thing that has been holding me back is my head.
These examples are both related to the physical body and fitness, but this could hold true to all kinds of goals. Career, gardening, education, meditation, spiritual or religious aspirations, home renovations could all be affected by our own self-sabotage. Any goal we set for ourselves, could be subconsciously derailed by our “protective” mechanisms. Somewhere deep inside we believe that we should not achieve that goal because we are not worthy, not capable, not enough, don’t have the right skills or attributes. I remember once when I was a child I over heard my grandmother and my mother talking. We were all in the garden picking weeds and my mother said to my grandmother, “Stacy is a strong starter, but she doesn’t finish things”. On some level my child brain took that in as a “truth” and held on to it. For the next 3 decades (or so), I held on to the belief that I started things but never finished them. I was reading the book Worthy by Nancy Levin and there is an exercise she has you do in the book that helped me became aware that I had this belief about myself. My own self-sabotage was helping to keep this belief true while sacrificing my goals. I did not realized this on a conscious level, at the time it was happening.
If you reflect on the goals you have fallen short of, do you see any hints that what stood in your way was actually you? It is much easier and more comfortable to blame it on exterior factors. I didn’t have time to do the training. My stress was too high to focus on committing to that goal. I am not the kind of person that achieves those results. The truth is we are capable. We can do it. We are the type of people who achieve those results. I watched a documentary the other night about an overweight young adult who grew up on a hog farm, who became vegan and ran an ultra marathon. That is 100 miles in 30 hours. Human beings are capable of amazing things! The documentary is Once is Enough. It is on Prime Video, if you are interested in checking it out. He didn’t fit in the box of what an Ultra Marathoner looked like but He didn’t let that stop him.
When road blocks pop up to prevent me from taking care of myself, I plan to reflect on what is really going on. Am I blocking my progress? Is this self-sabotage? Do I have a belief about myself that is not in alignment with what I am about to accomplish? Being aware is the first step to overcoming.
We can do this! We are the people who will cross the finish line! We are the type of people who do amazing things! We will push on despite being busy, stressed, overloaded, insecure, and/or being completely in over our heads in unmapped territory. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do the thing or be the person, because you can. Don’t let anyone else set your course for you. It is not too late. You are amazing! You are capable. I am proud of you. Believe in yourself. And in those quiet moments when you hear the whispers of the subconscious, holding you back, tell it that you can and will cross the finish line!
Thank you for reading my blog. May you accomplish what you set out after, because you are the type of person who lives the life of their dreams. Believe!