Self Sabotage and the Comfort of Disappointment: How Making Progress can Ruin your Dreams

Self Sabotage and the Comfort of Disappointment: How Making Progress can Ruin your Dreams

My story, for far too long, was that I was “trying” to do something. Trying to lose weight or get in shape. Trying to build a business. Trying to adopt new habits. Trying to communicate better. Trying, all the time. Sometimes, I would actually put a great deal of effort in one of these endeavors, and I would succeed.

For a little while.

I’d lose 5 or 10 pounds. I’d have an AH HAH business moment. I’d have several conversations going at once, fluidly, and enjoy it. Once I started seeing success though, I’d shy back. Start eating a bit more than I needed or skipping the gym. Not take action on that business idea. Not talk to anyone at all for days on end.

Because if I kept making progress, I’d have to change my story. That would mean new territory. That would mean getting out of my comfort zone. And while I didn’t consciously know these thoughts were happening in my mind, they nonetheless sabotaged all of my efforts.

Our brains like everything to stay the SAME. Sameness, in terms of our neurology, means safety. Your brain has done everything it’s ever done for the sole purpose of protecting you. It silently guides you to seek out similar situations in your life, because it knows these. Your conscious mind may know a potential partner is abusive, may know that staying in the job you hate is destroying your sanity, and may know that eating the whole pizza followed by a whole bottle of wine is the complete opposite of that weight loss goal. But these are the things it knows, and your subconscious will fight with all the power it has to keep you the same.

This is why change is so hard. Our brains are very literally wired into these patterns that we’ve had since childhood. It’s what makes changing our stories so hard. It’s what makes it so nearly impossible to break out of a comfortable pattern in your life when you’re seeking self growth. The self sabotaging behavior we engage in can come from old habits, fears, and even well meaning friends and family members. These choices keep us stuck in the Trying To loop that can end in frustration, anger, and ultimately giving up on your dreams and goals.

Hard pushes forward are very often followed by falling back, to exactly where we were before, and sometimes even further. This can be incredibly discouraging, and this is the part that can short circuit your success. The challenge is to recognize this pattern, and keep pushing forward while ignoring the excuses and justifications of your subconscious mind. It can be done on your own, with a very clear plan to hold yourself to, though it’s a bit easier if you have a coach, mentor, or other professional who can help guide you through the harder times.

It’s also important to hold your WHY close as you face challenges. Your WHY, your whole reason for wanting change in the first place, is going to remain a driving factor through your whole transformation. This is the light you create at the end of your own tunnel. This is what gives you motivation and hope, even when things are the hardest.

What are you trying to achieve? What are your obstacles? What do you need right now to overcome them, to change your story? What is your WHY that you call on each time you need to push yourself farther forward?

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