May 9, 2022
There are two powerful emotions that come with self sabotage.
The first is that freeing feeling of “who cares?” That’s what pops up when you see that perfect dress with the staggering price tag but still reach for your credit card. It’s a rush.
The second is that sinking feeling of “I can’t believe I did this again.” That’s what pops up when you get that mind-boggling credit card bill at the end of the month. It can be crushing.
And then you go through the same old routine—you swear off the plastic, promise yourself that this time will be different. And it works… for a little while. But your willpower grows thin. Suddenly, there’s another shiny trinket on your screen and you just. Can’t. Resist.
Oops, you did it again.
It’s a vicious cycle, and it can feel like you’re stuck in quicksand. But there is a way out.
The first step is recognizing that self sabotage is a form of negative reinforcement. In other words, you’re doing it because you—and others—tell yourself it’s just a part of you and you can’t help it.
For instance, what thoughts run through your head when you self sabotage? Do you think, “Gee, I made another mistake. Thank goodness my actions don’t define me, and I’ll get through this. I am capable of changing my behavior.”
Or do you think, “I’m such an idiot. I can’t believe I did that again. I guess I’m just fundamentally flawed and doomed to repeat this over and over again.”
For many, it’s the latter. And that narrative condemns you to self sabotage, even if you would love to do things differently.
Think about it. This line of thinking reinforces that you can’t change, even though you sharply feel the consequences of your actions. It implies that you’re helpless. And if that’s what you tell yourself, is it any surprise if that becomes the narrative of your life?
So what do you need? A better story.
The key to breaking out of the cycle of self sabotage is changing your mindset. You need to think about yourself in a different way—a way that empowers you and gives you control over your actions.
Instead of thinking “I’m a flawed person who will always make mistakes,” think “I am human and I will make mistakes. But I can also choose differently. I just need to do it.”
And the best part about it? You’ll finally start telling yourself the truth. You are capable of change. You just made a mistake. And there’s no reason that you have to keep making them.
So the next time you find yourself hitting yourself for another financial slip up, stop for a moment and ask yourself—what story am I telling myself about myself? Is it limiting? Or is it the truth?