Conquer Self Sabotage: 5 Signs You’re Getting in Your Own Way

Hard pill to swallow, the most likely variable getting in the way of achieving whatever it is you’d like to achieve…is you. 

This is always a hard area to navigate as a coach because clients will come up to you complaining about lack of progress for reasons “XY and Z“.

Oh I can’t lose weight because…” “I can’t get to the gym because…” “I’d start that new project but...”

There’s always going to be external variables to blame. But the longer the story goes on, the more apparent it becomes that the individual is simply getting in their own way. For coaches our job is to help them realize all that’s stopping what they want from happening is…them (Without outright blaming them). Once this realization is made they can simply “step out of the way” so to speak and almost like magic their problem goes away.

Many “issues” can easily be solved with this realization and concurrent acceptance of personal responsibility. The hard part is usually realizing you’re in your way in the first place.

This being said undeniably some individuals will have to face obstacles genuinely beyond their control, for these instances you control all variables still left for you to control to the very best of your ability. But in the vast majority of cases, we are just going to be duking it out with our own mind. To try to help you avoid this problem here’s 5 signs you might actually be the one getting in your own way.

1. You’re Constantly Waiting to “Be Ready” to Start

How many times have you heard this “Oh I’m going to start *insert person’s dream goal* when *insert highly specific scenario said person has made up*“.

Many of us are waiting for the stars to align, the universe to send us the right omens, or the literal answer to our questions to fall out of the sky and hit us over the head before we start our goals.

Just start. 

One of the hardest things to learn is there’s never going to be a true moment where you feel “ready“. Doesn’t matter how much planning you’ve put in, how much you’ve thought it over in your head, how much you’ve “practiced” behind the scenes. Unless you actually start with what it is you intend to do…you will never be ready. 

A large majority of learning skills comes from the genuine experience of doing said skill. For example, if you want to have a strong social media presence on YouTube but are afraid of speaking to a camera. Your fastest route to get there is to just start talking to the camera. Not watching videos on how to speak to a camera. Not watching other YouTubers speak to a camera. Just you and the camera, figuring it out as you go along.

Will you be good at this the first time you try? Probably not. Are you going to mess up? Inevitably. But every single time you come back you are going to be just that much better. Compound that progress over time and eventually you’ll hit a point where you don’t even have to think twice about pressing the record button and chatting away.

Progress like this is possible for basically any skill you can think of, but only if you choose to get started in the first place and accept all the bumps along the road that are bound to come with getting started.

2. You Compare Your Results to Others 

The easiest way to take all the wind out of your sails with progress you are making is to start comparing yourself to others.

You’ll see this all the time in a gym setting. Someone could have just hit a new PR on their squat, and within seconds they go from being happy with their achievement to “Larry Wheels could have overhead pressed that“. This is a guaranteed way to forever be disappointed in your rate of progress.

Stop using others as your metric for what amount of progress is “acceptable” to you or not. Regardless of what passion it is that you pursue, it’s almost certain that there is someone out there that is farther along with it than you are and that’s okay.

As cliché as it is the only person you should be comparing yourself to is the person you were yesterday. If you have progressed yourself to be 1% better than you were yesterday than you have already done enough. No need to check for internet validation.

3. Rejecting Personal Responsibility

In wake of everything that has happened over the course of 2020, it’s easy to have fallen into feelings of powerlessness, that the universe is quite literally out to get you, along with an overall negative self talk narrative constantly spinning in our head to boot.

As a side effect of this, it’s equally likely to adopt a mindset of “Why even bother? Not like I can change anything anyways.”

There is almost always something that you can do. Might not be something you particularly want to do, but there’s always options for you to continue to take control over every possible variable you have to control in your life.

Tackling goals requires a certain level of personal responsibility and being raw with yourself about if you are doing your part in getting to where you want to go.

When you start to get real with yourself, you’ll see just how many of the excuses you make are shielding you from the fact that you are what’s getting in your own way.

Do you really not have enough time for the gym? Or did you just not time manage very well today? Is a relationship of yours struggling because the other person is being stubborn? Or did you fail to communicate effectively? Is your weight loss goal truly impossible to achieve? Or did you fail to consistently follow your game plan?

Being this real with yourself can sometimes be misconstrued with being hard on yourself and I’d disagree. At the end of the day you should be your number one supporter, it’s up to you to have those tough moments and call yourself out when it’s you that’s letting you down.

4. You Take on Too Much or Too Little

Constantly oscillating between taking on as much as you possibly can and doing absolutely nothing?

You’re probably relying on your own motivation to make things happen. Here’s the thing though…that motivation isn’t always going to be there for you.

Relying on motivation results in that constant ebb and flow above ^. You’ll float between trying to fix your entire life in a single day and feeling so  mentally and physically exhausted from your effort that you do absolutely nothing at all the following day. Sometimes it feels almost impossible to break out of this cycle, but your answer is habits.

Don’t create this perception in your head that you have to get absolutely everything and anything together in your life done…today. Instead, shoot to create the systems and habits that can ensure your success over the long term. Those little things you do every single day are going to be far more important than those crazy mammoth efforts you do…every now and again.

Habits will be there for you when your motivation is not and are the key to following through with your goals. (For more on habit forming check out the Becoming The Lion Podcast “Smash Your Goals in 2021”)

5. You’re Afraid of Failing 

You’re going to fail at whatever your goal is. Basically guaranteed.

I don’t say that to scare you out of going through with your goals, but so you understand right from the start failing is normal. Just part of the process. There’s no magic scenario where you start with your intended goal and absolutely everything goes exactly as planned for the rest of your life. You’re going to hit some road bumps and it’s fine.

This comes back to our first tip “waiting to be ready to start“. Fear of failure is usually the biggest factor holding people back from starting in the first place (I get it the feeling of failure sucks).

Here’s the thing though, we know that failure is going to be a part of the process. So instead of fearing it, we just need to reframe our mindset around it. Each failed attempt isn’t some shame that you have to bear, but instead it’s you learning. You’re learning what doesn’t work, you’re learning to attack things from a new angle, you’re learning where you may be strongest and where you may be weakest.

Each failure is simply more data to help you come back and attack your goals even harder. When you start looking at things from this mindset you’ll stop putting so much weight on each of your “failed attempts” because in the bigger picture you’ll know it’s helping you get closer to what you want.

 

 

Matt Molloy

Matt Molloy

I'm a graduate the University of Pittsburgh with a major in Exercise Science. I’m a local guy (North Penn) and athletics has dominated my life. I've led teams in basketball, baseball, soccer, golf and my passion, long distance running. I've been strength training for 6 years with a focus in power-lifting but have recently stretched to strongman since joining the pride here at the Den. When I’m not in the gym I enjoy, spending time with my friends, music, and relaxing and playing some video games.