After talking to him for a few minutes, I knew that he’d be difficult to coach. While he didn’t realize it consciously, at some level he didn’t really want to change. Maybe he felt it would be too much work, maybe he was afraid of the unknown…maybe he was afraid of actually succeeding.
How did I know?
After having successes and failures with helping people make shifts in their lives, I began to see the patterns between people who changed more readily versus those who didn’t.
Those who change more easily have inner congruence; they have their inner selves aligned in ways that help them make the shift. Those that don’t have inner congruence find it difficult; no matter how much they think they want to change, a part of them doesn’t. They sabotage themselves by taking one step forward and two steps back.
What Are The Signs of Self-Sabotage?
How do you know when someone’s spending too much energy fighting themselves?
1) When they love their problems too much.
When you hear someone talk endlessly about their problems, especially in dramatic and sometimes even boastful ways; watch out! They may say they want to change, but they’re still enjoying the secondary gain they get from having this problem; it could be anything from having an excuse to get off the hook to getting attention.
2) When they argue exactly why suggestions to change won’t work.
Instead of wanting to listen and test new solutions out, they shoot down any suggestions with reasons why they might work for others but not for them. They only say they want to change when they’re obviously fighting it, that’s because they really want things to remain the same.
3) When they focus too much on negative causes and effects than positive intentions and outcomes.
Instead of having their eyes forward to create what they want in the future, they want to go further and further back into the past and dig out root causes of all their problems. The more obsessed this person is with finding out exactly why they’re messed up, the less energy they have to discover just how much better they can be.
How To Turn Self-Sabotage Into Self-Empowerment
If you’ve been self-sabotaging yourself or know someone who is, here is how you can turn self-sabotage into self-encouragement.
1) Fall in love with your strengths.
Everyone has strengths, whether you see it or not. You could stare at a 50kg dumb-bell all day long moaning about how you couldn’t possibly carry it, even explore with a sympathetic person the past origins of why you couldn’t. Or you could start exercising your present strength with a 5kg dumb-bell, knowing that if you keep focusing on working out, one day you’ll be pushing 50 and beyond.
2) Be willing to test out new solutions..
If you want to change, be willing to do new things you’ve never done before…that’s what change means, doesn’t it?
3) Focus on what you want to happen in the future.
We live in the present and can only go into the future. Milton Erickson once said, ‘insight into the past may be somewhat educational. But insight into the past isn’t going to change the past’. Decide to focus more on solutions versus problems. Look forward and answer the question, ‘if you could have the future anyway you wanted it, how would you want it to be?’
Here’s The Guiding Key To Shifting Self-Sabotage
After reading this article, you might recognize someone you know, or times in the past you’ve had moments of self-sabotage. Realize that even those times are now over, and you are bigger than thoughts and reactions you might once have had.
To key is, in the words of Robert Dilts, to shift people from learned hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness to have hope for the future, a sense of capability and responsibility, and a sense of self-worth and belonging
To read more Alvin Soon; visit his blog at http://lifecoachesblog.com