Notice when you’re getting close to finishing something important that it’s harder and harder to get there? Or how you suddenly get an unbelievable urge to check out just when things are finally going great? If you’ve experienced something like this, then you’re normal. This is one of the things that happens to all of us whenever we go beyond our own limits.
In Stop Self-Sabotage With This One Vital Step Marie Forleo talks about how this works and what we can do about it. She’s referring to what Gay Hendrix calls the “Upper Limit Problem” in his book The Big Leap.
We have what Hendrix calls an inner thermostat that sets the amount of success we let ourselves have. Then, when we go over that inner setting, we end up doing something that returns us to the old and familiar place of security.
How do we sabotage ourselves? According to Psychology Today the most common kinds of self-sabotaging behaviors are procrastination, self-medication, comfort eating, and forms of self-injury (such as becoming accident-prone, getting sick). Even though they hurt us in the long run, they make us feel relieved and secure.
We can adjust our Upper Limit and change our self-sabotage in the process. Tapping into both Hendrix and Martha Beck, here’s how:
- Learn to identify the signs – Take a good look at what happened before you self-sabotage. What triggered you? How were you feeling at the time? How did you physically feel – tense in your shoulders, upset stomach?
- Change one thing – once you know what your current upper limit is, and how you typically react to it, deliberately change one thing. For instance, wear a silly (or serious) hat. Do some small incidental thing that changes the circumstances and breaks the pattern.
- Retrain yourself – once you identify that you are self-sabotaging, go back to the thing that triggered it and calm yourself retroactively. Remind yourself that you are adjusting your upper limit. Eventually you will become aware when you are going into the pattern and able to stop it before it happens
- Appreciate what you’ve accomplished – you’ve altered your inner Upper Limit, and can do this any time you find yourself self-sabotaging.
How to get all of our selves in line
Quote of the Week
I think that sometimes love gets in the way of itself – you know, love interrupts itself. We want things so much that we sabotage them. – Jack White