Why You Self Sabotage Your Dreams

Jul 26, 2020

Elizabeth Houghton

Sutton Full Potential Founder

You have the exact amount of success and happiness in your life that you allow yourself to have. Let that sink in. You have the exact amount of success and happiness that YOU allow yourself to have. We are going to explore together how to unconsciously receive what you want throughout the day. You need to be the master of your mind to enable yourself to achieve the success that you desire.

Do you want to achieve specific goals in life? I talk about goals and action planning a lot. It is a common theme in my podcasts and blogs. Goals and action plans are so crucial if you want to achieve anything. The process of defining goals and creating an action plan keeps you focused, motivates you and gives you your step by step guide to achieving your goal so you can knock down one domino to flow onto the next; so you can move along your journey to finding success on your own terms.

When you have goals, BIGDreams, you can, at times, suffer from overwhelm and fear may even creep in at the seams, which results in us not achieving our goals at all. We don’t purposely go out of our way to sabotage ourselves, but we do, due to fear of failure. I have done this many times, and in my first podcast, I shared with you how I had put off starting my podcast channel due to fear, overwhelm, not knowing what I was doing, procrastination, a fear of not being expert enough, scared that no one would listen. Here we are today, five months later, and my podcast has listeners in over 30 countries, and I am so, so grateful for every one of you listening. To think, if I had started my podcast when I first thought about it, where would I be now? When you think about your goals, your dreams, do you feel it is going to be hard? A struggle? That other people can achieve it, but you cannot? Your thought patterns, your mind is sabotaging your chance of attaining your goals. Which means you will keep on dreaming, but you will never realise your dreams. You will not turn your dreams into reality. And it is my mission in life to empower you, every one of you, to achieve every dream that you have.

I know when you have these feelings of fear, of overwhelm, of self-doubt, it is so hard to break that mindset cycle you have gotten yourself into. I am telling you, if you do not manage to break that cycle, you will stop dreaming big, and you will unconsciously be self-sabotaging yourself, your success, your dreams, and your desires. It is unconscious sabotage. You are not doing it on purpose. It is your brains way of protecting you. It is an internal protection mechanism kicking in called “fight, flight or freeze”. It used to be massively helpful to us when we were cavemen. However, this mechanism cannot tell the difference between being chased by a bear and us wanting to step outside of our comfort zones, just a little bit, to try something new.

Our brains sometimes misinterpret safe situations as dangerous and can set off false alarms when the amygdala, your brain’s guard dog, senses and barks “danger!” Your body enters survival mode quicker than your rational mind can react. Believe in it, trying to figure out why you are feeling this mortal danger. In our minds, when that alarm sounds, our brain starts to focus on negative memories, adverse outcomes. We go into worst-case planning mode, and we get this tunnel vision, and we can only see the negative, and when you start to focus on the negative, you have thoughts like, “I am going to fail”. You fear success. You have a belief, a fear of failure you are not going to be good enough, and you are not worthy of your dreams and the success that you seek. You fear what others are going to say, and a result of this unconscious action is keeping your big dreams quiet. You turn the BIGDream into a smaller dream, and in the end, you just put your desire for success to one side altogether. Then days quickly become weeks and weeks become years and you still, deep down inside, you know you want something different, but yet you stop yourself from trying to succeed every single time. You have this nagging feeling inside of you of not feeling fulfilled. You are between a rock and a hard place. You want your BIGDreams, you want success on your own terms, but your unconscious mind is stopping you. You need to become the master of your mind. You need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable if you want to achieve your success.

The fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of not being good enough or worthy enough will always be there in the back of your mind. You will need to be able to leave that right there in the back of your mind, regardless of your fear, regardless of your feelings of not being expert enough or good enough. You need to push forward towards your goals, towards actualising your dreams, turning your success into reality. It does not matter what your goal or dream is, to be a business owner, to get a promotion at work, to lose 10 kilograms or to run 12 kilometres. You need to be comfortable with your fears and push forward anyway. It is the only way you are going to break your mindset cycle of self-sabotage.

How often have your goals just stopped dead in their tracks and you have not achieved them? Most often, people think about goals; that the goal is the hardest thing to define; that the grand goal of earning thousands and thousands of dollars per month, forgetting that relationship or losing that weight. The hardest thing is to come up with is the goal, but you have no strategy. How would you know which domino you need to knock down first to be able to get to the next one if you have no strategy, no plan in place for turning your grand goal into reality? You need to know the little things that you are going to do every day to achieve your success. Now do not worry, I am going to share with you some tips because I understand that more often than not you know that you are self-sabotaging, but you just don’t know how to stop yourself.

If you are trying to lose weight, for example, you know if you eat that cake or you skip that gym for a few days, you know in your heart of hearts that those choices will keep you from obtaining your goal, but you justify the decision yourself. You have a little bit of self-talk, and you talk yourself into eating the cake or skipping the gym, so you know what you are doing which is preventing you from attaining your goal, but you just do not know how to make the change. Not knowing is 100% okay. We do not know a lot of things. I do not know how my car works, but I know if I press the engine button it starts, and I can go anywhere I want to. I do not do this action consciously. I get in the car, and obviously, my hand goes to the start button, I apply pressure through my fingers to press the button, and the car comes to life. I do not know how the car works. I do not understand how the engine works, but you expect the car to start when you press the engine button, or you turn the key in the ignition. But really, you have no idea how it works, and although you have no idea how it works, you have enough faith, enough belief that it will work, regardless of you knowing how it works or not.

Start today thinking about the small things you can do today that are going to help you get closer to turning your success into a reality. Do not just think about them, do them! Focus on what it is you can do today. For me, today is a day I am recording and uploading my podcast. Now, I don’t know what topic I am going to be talking about ten weeks from now or, come to think of it, even three weeks from now, but I know today, to show up for you, to keep my business alive, I can record and upload a podcast.

I am going to go back to the losing weight example because it is relatable to most people at some point in their lives. If we want to lose any amount of weight, two kilograms, ten kilograms, even 40, what can you do today to start making progress towards that goal? Today, depending on the time of day it is that you are listening to this, you can go for a walk, eat a salad, sign yourself up for boot camp, find a Facebook group where you can get support on your journey and share your highs and lows. Focus on what it is YOU can do today. Remove tomorrow. Remove next week. Do not think about them. What this will do is it will give yourself a sense of achievement. The knowledge that you are moving in the right direction towards obtaining your goal. Focusing on one or two things that you can do today will remove enough stress to trick your mind to stop that guard dog from barking and your mind entering that “fight, flight or freeze” situation. Your thoughts will not go to the negative. You will feel freer and more motivated to progress towards your goal, knocking down your dominoes on your journey.

Take a moment to think about it. If you think too far ahead, it all gets a little bit too overwhelming. You start to think, “it is going to be hard”. Stress creeps in, and fear and you start to overthink everything, over-analyse everything and you end up in a state where you make no change, no decision because it is all too much. Does this sound familiar to you? If you figure out what it is you can do today, your top two things you can do today, that when you do them, you will move closer to achieving your goal. You will be one domino closer. Now, once you accomplish that, you are improving your mindset to reach the next thing. You are not using up your head-space to dwell on what you have or what you have not done. You are not using your head-space to overthink, to paralyse yourself into inaction, and that is just the truth behind it. You need to stop over-thinking. Whatever your goal is, think about what it is you can do today, one or two things that you can do today, to progress towards that goal. Like I said, if you are looking to lose weight, go to the gym, make a healthy food choice at lunch or dinner, or even breakfast. Sign up for that boot camp. Find yourself a support network. If you are looking to get that promotion at work, think about the steps that you need to take or the skills that you need to improve upon to be able to achieve that promotion and focus on two things that you can do today to progress towards those skills.

If you want to start your own business, think about two things you can do today to help you. Join a new business start-up group. Reach out to your local community. Pick your business name. Record a podcast. Whatever it may be, just focus on what you can do today, and if you manage to do those two things, which I know you will, I have so much faith in you, when tomorrow comes, you will have the motivation to do the next two things. So, focus on the now, not on the future, because if you think too far forward, it is all going to become too overwhelming and you will paralyse yourself into inaction.

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