3 Ways We Sabotage Achieving Our Goals


The other day I heard this statistic about resolutions,  "The average person sets the same resolution 10 times before experiencing success." WOW! TEN TIMES?!?! What's keeping us from achieving our goals and resolutions? Is it because we've failed in the past? Been reprimanded? Shamed ourselves or have been shamed by someone else? I believe it comes down to self-sabotage which manifests itself by allowing fear, self-doubt and uncertainty to prevent us from taking action.

The first way we self-sabotage is to let fear paralyzed us from moving towards the good things we want in our life. We've all experienced fear when we've entered into unfamiliar territory or wanted to do something we've never done before. I experienced a great amount of fear as I started my new business and again when I committed to speaking to 150 college freshmen. Moving out of the comfort zone to pursue the things we want requires fierce courage on our part. Courage is NOT the absence of fear. Rather, it is CHOOSING to take ACTION in spite of it. I've found it helpful to pull myself away and look at what's causing me to be afraid.  Once I have identified the source, I do my best to harness it in a way that propels me forward. Remember, fear's job is not just to keep us safe; it is also to test us and prepare us for success. Think about it. When we're afraid, we tend to be more focused and act with urgency. In this regard, fear prepares us for peak performance.

The second way we self-sabotage is by doubting ourselves. We ask ourselves "Can I do this?" "Do I have what it takes?" We tend to think other people are smarter, more experienced, have better skills, more resources and perhaps even a bigger network or impact. I've met all sorts of successful people, many who are often sought to speak to groups or sit on a panel of "experts." Through conversations with them, I've learned that EVERYONE experiences self-doubt. On the outside these "experts" seem confident.  Yet, on the inside they are questioning their skills, experience and knowledge. What these confident people are doing internally is acting courageously. Confident-looking people step up by faith and trust that as they continue to move in the direction of their desires they'll grow in confidence. This is what Jack Canfield, author of "The Success Principles", calls "Acting As If." By repeating to "act as if", a person creates the inner experience that takes her to the actual expression of what she wants.

I've discovered that self-doubt reveals itself even when I've experienced success in the past. Although I had several years of experience speaking to groups and leading them through training, I was confronted with self-doubt while preparing for the Mount Marty College Freshmen Retreat. In fact, just before I took the stage, I was battling my inner saboteur who was busy telling me that I was going to fail. I was going to bore the students to death and at some point they were going to pull me off stage because they had figured out that I was not experienced enough to be their retreat leader. Ironically, once I took the stage the voice quieted.  The learning I took away from this experience is that like fear, self-doubt pushes me to perform my best. And, as I move towards the things I want in my life, self-doubt becomes silent.

The third way we sabotage ourselves is by delaying action because we're not completely certain of where we want to go or the path that will take us there. Uncertainty is normal to experience when a person is moving into uncharted territory or when a destination hasn't been determined. However, once we clearly identify where we want to go, the path to get there appears. At worse, the first step appears. Once we take that first step, the next step will naturally appear. As we continue step-by-step to move closer to the destination, the path becomes clear.

I experienced this as I prepared for the three day training for Mount Marty College. Prior to that, I had only dreamed of hosting this type of event. Once I said yes and wrote down the desired outcomes, the activities, processes and timeline naturally emerged. Each time I completed a task, the next step simply presented itself. By committing to take action, I eventually found myself in front of a group of people delivering the program of my dreams!

Self-sabotage comes in many forms. Here, I've identified three:  fear, self-doubt and uncertainty. In all of these cases, KNOWING THE OUTCOME WE WANT and COMMITMENT TO ACTION  helps us to overcome and brings us closer to the things we desire most.

What is the source of your hesitation when it comes to moving towards your goal?

Molly ChristiansonComment