Have you ever found yourself avoiding a task, even though you know the deadline is approaching? Have you ever spoken to yourself harshly or called yourself names? Maybe you’ve stewed on a mistake you’ve made – thinking about it weeks, months, even years after it happened?
Self-sabotage and negative self-talk can cripple even the brightest and most competent people. These things can block you from achieving the success you are truly capable of. You deserve better personally, and certainly your business does, too. If you’re tired of putting yourself under needless pressure or putting yourself down, this article is for you.
What are negative self-talk and self-sabotage?
Negative self-talk is often hiding in plain sight. It can become so habitual that you don’t even realise that you’re doing it. We can end up hearing an endless loop of insults, put-downs and harsh criticisms. It’s rarely deserved, and never helpful.
Self-sabotage is also a sneaky behaviour that can creep into our daily lives. Here are some examples – ask yourself if you do any of the following:
- Delaying anything to the last possible minute, so the work you submit is mediocre, or late (taxes, quotes, jobs),
- Taking lower pay rates or smaller jobs because you don’t feel you deserve better money,
- Forgetting deadlines, not returning calls or inquiries, failing to check details that are important,
- Filling your head with things that aren’t important, like endless scrolling on social media, disproportionate worrying about things,
- Taking every criticism to heart or interpreting every conversation as negative or a slight on your character.
Sometimes these behaviours are a safety net for people who are perfectionists – a strange thought process that says, ‘If I mess it up then it happens on my terms, but if I try and then mess up, well, then I’d be a failure’.
These behaviours and thoughts interrupt our days and impact the quality of the services we offer. It can cause upset and disappointment in our families and personal relationships. Who wouldn’t want to break free from these things that hobble us?
How to break negative thought patterns
Become aware – catch the thoughts as they happen
Pay attention to your thoughts. Don’t let them pass by unnoticed. You might be surprised to see just how often you’re calling yourself names or thinking badly of yourself. Sometimes the shock of truly hearing yourself can be enough to break the cycle.
Challenge the thoughts – ‘that’s not true!’
Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. If you notice that you’ve called yourself something horrible, rationalise the thought. For example:
Old thought: “I’m such an idiot! I can’t believe I forgot to attach the quote to the email. I can’t do anything right”
Rationalised thought: “I am not an idiot. I’ll just send another quick email now with the quote attached, and I’ll make a note to see if I can automate this to make it easier next time”.
You are allowed to make errors and fix them without beating yourself up. Show yourself some compassion and act to help yourself avoid a similar slip up in the future.
Replace negativity with positivity
Your life didn’t fill up with self-sabotaging behaviours and negative talk overnight. They crept in slowly over time. Now, you can allow positivity to slowly take its place. As you learn to forgive yourself of these constant judgements, you can start seeking positive thoughts to replace them.
- Be grateful for something – anything! If someone shouts you a coffee or you nab the perfect parking spot, take a moment to feel thankful about it.
- Keep a log of good things. Open a note on your phone and jot down good things as they happen during the day. You’ll be surprised at what you’ve been missing.
- Speak kindly to yourself. Push yourself to be forgiving of your own mistakes, and recognise when you’ve done good work.
These ideas are worth implementing – I’ve seen so many of my clients blossom as they learn to treat themselves with respect. You can do it, too. If you’d like to talk more about how you can stop sabotaging your own life, please email me today.
This is the third article in my goal setting series. Check back here every Monday to see the next installment!