Is Fear the Root Cause of Your Self Sabotage?
Self-sabotage can manifest itself in many way, wreaking havoc on our lives and preventing us from reaching our goals. In fact, few of us have escaped the clutches of self-sabotage at one time or another in our life because it’s so easy to succumb to its seductive ways.
Self-sabotage has many disguises: procrastination, overindulgence, ignoring problems, lack of self-control, comparing yourself to others, anxiety, depression and even negativity and pessimism. People in the throws of self-sabotage rarely seem to make progress, as it’s always one step forward and two steps back.
For many the underlying root problem of self-sabotage is fear. You feel anxious about the “bigness” of your health and wellness goal so you choose to ignore it, or put it off until Monday. This is a serious problem for emotional eaters and pro-dieters who have a tendency to think about these goals in terms of “deadlines to meet” instead of a journey to be on.
Fear and anxiety over not reaching an intended goal or outcome leads to self-sabotage and this in turn causes more fear of failure. Failure fear is common but some fear success. They feel if they complete the task successfully it will set the bar too high for future projects.
An interesting side note: People who procrastinate are usually more prone to drinking, smoking, insomnia and sickness such as colds and flu. Psychologists say the drinking and smoking are to ease the pain of fear and anxiety caused by self-sabotage, which leads to health problems.
We may prevent ourselves from reaching our goals because we fear rejection, criticism, disapproval, and/or negative feedback. We would rather never reach the goal than suffer the fear of our outcome not living up to our highest expectations.
This expands into fear and anxiety of possible rejection, being criticized and making mistakes. Some even fear losing freedom and put off committing to a project. Fears are sometimes unconscious and people deny they suffer from them.
There are many ways to combat fear, anxiety and its offspring self-sabotage. Here are two tips to help:
- Realize you have a choice to succeed or not to succeed. Set realistic (S.M.A.R.T.) goals that build self-confidence and cultivate your sense of self worth.
- Don’t focus on weaknesses. Most fears are unfounded and irrational. Realize you’re working against yourself, analyze your fears, and move on. Ask yourself the real reason you’re afraid. Be brutally honest. For some, exercising and/or deep breathing help.
There is no perfect time to begin. Mark Twain said, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do day after tomorrow.” The important thing is to start. Learn as much as you can about your fears, take one step at a time, reward yourself and soon fear, anxiety, and self-sabotage will disappear.