The Art of Self Sabotage

Self-SabotageSelf-sabotage: There’s no doubt that at one point or another, you’ve experienced a time when you’ve self-sabotaged yourself.  Lately, I’ve felt like I have managed to turn self-sabotage into a new art form.  It feels like it’s my calling, and let me tell you, I’m wickedly good at it.  The unfortunate reality is, of course, this “art form” is one that is doing me all harm and absolutely no good.

I decided to write about self-sabotage in terms of overeating, especially while I’m trying to lose weight, but before I started typing I did a quick Google search to see what the official definition of self-sabotage even was. According to Psychology Today, self-sabotage is

“behavior that creates problems and interferes with long-standing goals. The most common selfsabotaging behaviors are procrastination, self-medication with drugs or alcohol, comfort eating, and forms of self-injury such as cutting.”

It turns out that, while some of the behaviors mentioned I have no issues with to speak of (I’ve never once thought about any self-injury or self-medication..other than via food of course), I realized that not only am I a true artist at the food thing, but I am the freaking master of procrastination.  I knew this about myself, of course, but didn’t necessarily equate it to my own personal form of self-sabotage, because I was so focused on the food thing.  However, it turns out that the only thing I do better than sabotage my healthy eating is procrastinating.  It’s no wonder I’ve felt stuck with the same goals and no progress for so long.

Let’s start with what inspired me to sit down and write this to begin with: poor eating habits.  We’re not talking about just having a generally unhealthy lifestyle.  For me, it goes much deeper than that.  I have this supposed desire to lose weight and get back in shape. I did it once, I know how to do it, and yet there is this disconnect in my brain this time around between the desire to get to goal and the actual self-control to take the necessary steps to get there. Here’s how a typical day has gone lately.  On point for breakfast, and usually through lunch, but then the afternoon slump hits and that’s the start of my downward spiral for the day.  Instead of eating one piece of leftover candy, I’ll have several. Then I will succumb to the very thing I preach at my followers to NOT do: in my mind, I go “well, I’ve already screwed up today. Might as well stop tracking, do what I want, and start fresh tomorrow.” So, I don’t track dinner, even if it is a healthier meal. After dinner, odds are I will find my way back to whatever candy or sweet treat is hanging around my home.

This has been happening every. Single. Day!

The worst part is, every day I ask myself why, tell myself “not today, satan,” and come up with a plan…that I inevitably stray from by 8 pm.  Sure, I have good days.  Those of you who watch my Youtube channel have seen some of my more recent victories, and those are 100% true, but it feels like for every good day I have I end up with at least 2 or 3 bad ones.  Mathematically, that will obviously not get me to any health and fitness goals in the foreseeable future.  The exception is (ironically) today, where I have felt 100% in control all day, kicked butt at the gym, have met my water goal, and still have 16 points left, complete with a dinner plan, and it’s almost 6 pm.  I’m determined not to fail today, and yet, while my Weight Watchers lifestyle has been on point today, I can’t say the same for the other self-sabotaging behavior of which I am a master.

Procrastination.

There’s a reason this post is getting written at 6 pm.  I always take too long doing the less important things: poking at my phone, getting dressed after a shower, literally doing anything but the thing that I intended to get done on any given day.  This is the story of my life.  As a girl with lofty goals, this is an incredibly frustrating habit to have, and what’s worse is I’m not entirely sure how to break it.

One thing I know for sure is that before I can break this nasty habit, I have to figure out why I self-sabotage to begin with.  After a little bit of research, I’ve found several theories.

Fear:  For as much as I’m convinced this isn’t the issue for me (at least in terms of goals for Diva and the Divine), odds are it actually is the primary reason I self-sabotage my diet. If I get down to goal again, I can promise you I’ll be terrified of gaining weight right back, just like the first time.  Therefore, my subconscious is probably saying “why bother getting back there if you’re just going to screw it up again, Brianna? Eat ALL the sugar!!”  As for blogging goals, perhaps there’s an underlying fear of what success would actually mean: more work, being popular enough to have haters, negative comments, having things not meet my expectations… Sure, all of those things are risks, but aren’t all of the good things that come from success with Diva and the Divine worth risking the things that bring fear? You would think so…

Control:  There’s a theory out there that it feels better to be able to control your own failure rather than let it blindside you out of nowhere.  It makes sense.

The Comparison Trap:  If I can’t be as fit/skinny as so and so or not get to 1 million subscribers, are those goals even worth working for??  Of COURSE they are. I know this one isn’t my problem, but for many people, comparison is a huge thing that keeps them down.

Laziness: I can promise you that this is me sometimes, which I find absolutely infuriating.  Back in college, I hustled like the good music theater student I was. I could balance the gym, practice, rehearsal (two different things, I swear), friends, classes, and homework like a pro, and somehow still have time to goof off.  I don’t know when I got lazy or what the underlying issue is here, but I need to figure it out, stat!

There are other articles with more science behind self-sabotage out there, but these are a few of the “whys” that spoke to me.  I honestly don’t know what I expected this post to turn into when I sat down to write it, but I knew it was something I wanted to get off my chest if only to tell you all that I struggle, big time.  Everyone struggles in some way.  If this resonated with you, you are not alone.  

So now the real question is this: How do we overcome the self-sabotage that is holding us back from reaching our goals and being our best selves?  

6 thoughts on “The Art of Self Sabotage

  1. Deborah says:

    Are you sure that’s you your writing about and not me? Well almost me, didn’t do the drama/dance in college.
    I’ve lost over 100 lbs, with 25/30 to go. BUT I’ve been playing with the same 5/6 lbs for the last five months. The only thing I can figure is that I’m afraid of something.
    I’ve done the comparison thing, the procrastination thing and probably a few more that I haven’t realized.
    So we’re in this journey together, along with others who haven’t commented. Together we’ll figure it out eventually.
    P.S. This is one of the few times I’ve commented on a blog.

    • divaandthedivine says:

      Thanks for commenting, Deborah! I know there are so many that can relate, and somehow, maybe, we’ll figure out the answer.

  2. Rene says:

    Wow! I get you 100%!!! I’m so good at making all sorts of plans and goals but then get lazy about accomplishing them. I don’t have the answers either but I figure if every day I do something to move forward I can be proud of myself. Although…honestly…there are days where moving backward is all that I manage to accomplish. Those are the days I have to remind myself to be kind and don’t give up hope. Thanks for sharing your heart!!

    • divaandthedivine says:

      I am so with you. Praise the baby steps and on bad days, strive to do better tomorrow. If you ever unlock the secret to overcoming this, let me know.

  3. Juli Almanza says:

    If and when you find a solution for procrastination and laziness, I’m all in! I think we all have a tendency to self-sabotage, it seems like it’s a human nature thing, UNLESS you really train yourself and work hard at NOT doing that…. I doubt even the most highly successful executives are 100% on their game all the time though, but I’ll bet they have some great exercises or personal procedures in place for staying on track with their goals and preventing things like procrastination and laziness. For me, the number one thing that’s helped in most of these areas is my planner! I know using a planner can’t necessarily assist in battling fear, or maybe the comparison thing (unless you write and read constant quotes and support/motivation on that topic), but for me using my planner is such a proactive way to not only reach for my goals, but to take the necessary concrete steps to get there, does that make sense? My planner is a mess and I need to organize within my organization, but it’s still been invaluable! I think utilizing a planner you could really take some concrete and practical steps to reducing self-sabotage situations. Of course, I still have moments (like every single night before bed I am laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazyyyyyyyyyyy), but it’s definitely a work in progress, and a good one!

  4. Vicki says:

    It’s so helpful to know that I’m not alone in this self sabotage situation. Do you know how I found your blog? I was searching to find out if jelly beans are allowed on Weight Watchers. Sounds like I’m super serious about shedding the fat that envelopes me, right? Well , I’m very motivated when I look in the mirror … but then I step away from the mirror and just try to handle life, sweeping the chubby image of myself under the rug for as long as I can.
    I don’t know why any of us self-sabotage. I have a 7th grade student who does it with his work. He said there’s something inside him that holds him back and he wants to know what it is but is afraid. I think that maybe I can relate to that a bit too well.
    I hope you’ll revisit this topic. It’s one that’s worthy of discussion and exploration.

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