How to Stop Self Sabotaging Your Healthy Habits

How to Stop Self Sabotaging Your Healthy Habits

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Stop self sabotaging Healthy Habits

One of the most common reasons that I see people failing in their efforts to be healthy is  self-sabotaging behaviour that thwarts the long-term success of any healthy lifestyle habits that get adopted. This is why I work on self sabotage with my one-on-one clients over a series of sessions.

It really can be so frustrating to notice yourself sabotaging your own efforts. Perhaps you have been “really good” for a couple of weeks. You have been going to bed early, waking up full of energy, making a green juice and green smoothie every morning, going to the gym every day, eating a salad for lunch, skipping the coffee at Starbucks in the afternoon, and eating a nourishing and fulfilling dinner every night.

You are actually feeling really good and are super proud of yourself. And then BAM! You go and ruin it all by having bender with your best friend on a Friday night after work, that leads to you drinking way too much, staying up way too late, having a terrible weekend-long hangover which causes you to eat everything in sight, and you feel so terrible, that you slip back into your old ways come Monday, as though you had never even tried to change.

Or, it might be more subtle. You skip the gym one day, then again the next, until you have only been once in the week. At the same time, you have started getting your lunch time coffee again, while also sneaking in a piece of cake to go with it. Over a period of 2-3 weeks, you have gone back to your old patterns completely, with no sign of that “new you” anywhere to be seen.

The way I observe sabotage- in others as well as well as in myself- is that it occurs for two main reasons. There are external factors as well as internal ones that lead us to sabotaging, but they can both be dealt with in similar ways.

When your friends or family aren’t supportive

One of the external factors that can cause us to sabotage is when we have a lack of support from our loved ones. They might say they support your efforts, but their actions show little about this.

Perhaps they tease you about your “new diet”, or bully you into eating something you don’t really want to eat. They may coerce you into joining them for a coffee and cake, something you were really trying to avoid, but they guilt-trip you into joining them. Then, once you have given in and eaten what you didn’t want to, you feel like a failure and just decide to stop following your healthy path.

Maybe you are having a bad day- you are PMS-ing big-time, you just had a fight with your partner, your best friend is out of town so you have nobody to talk to, and your boss just loaded you up with more work than you can possibly handle. So you go home, order pizza, drink a whole bottle of wine and feel pretty miserable.

Then you begin to feel guilty and you just wish could take it all back. You think you are not good enough, not deserving enough to be a success, and you fall off the wagon- for good.

Avoiding Self Sabotage

Your thinking is a powerful saboteur

Have you ever had thoughts like this:

Being healthy is too hard in this city

Being healthy is boring, I want to have fun in this one life I live

I am such an outcast by being healthy, it isn’t worth losing my friends for this

What’s the point, I will just fail at this healthy plan anyway

I’m no good at this way of living

I know from my own experience, it is really easy to tell yourself a  bunch of lies and to successfully convince yourself that you are not worthy, so why bother anyway.

Healthy living isn’t all or nothing

The thing to remember is that  following a healthy lifestyle is just that- a lifestyle! It isn’t a diet that you fail in, it is a mind-set, a way of living as much as you possibly can so that you feel good and can reach a state of optimal health long term.

It is okay to get off track and to indulge every now and then, as long as you get back on track again right away {Tweet That}

The thing to do is to recognise what has happened to take you off the path you want to be on, and then course-correct again. I used to be very extreme in my lifestyle, but now I prefer to follow the 80-20 rule, where I am as healthy as possible 80% of the time, but I allow myself to have a treat, or say no to the gym, or eat something I know isn’t great for me, 20% of the time. This way there is none of the guilt or negative self talk goes on that causes so much sabotage to happen.

All or nothing

Recognise your sabotaging patterns

Really getting intimate with your self-sabotaging bahaviours is key to understanding the more internal side to sabotage. By being able to recognise the stories you tell yourself, you are able to take more control over the situations that usually lead you to sabotage. This can be very empowering because then you can take the reigns back and either stop the sabotage from happening in its tracks, or avoid putting yourself into a situation where you might sabotage yourself in the first place.

Set yourself up for inevitable success (not failure)

If you know that are likely to tell yourself that you are too tired to go to the gym in the evening, then you are likely not going stick to that behaviour for very long. Instead, change things up so you workout in the morning or the afternoon instead, when you are less likely to make excuses. If you are not a morning person and know that waking up 30 minutes early to do yoga is unlikely to happen, then schedule in a yoga session for the evening instead.

If you know that hanging out with a particular friend or work colleague is going to lead you to going on a bender, then don’t hang out with them in the evenings. Make lunch dates instead where you can catch up without the thrill of booze or greasy foods.

If having a block of chocolate in the house means you will eat the whole thing in one sitting, then don’t buy the chocolate, or buy a small bar rather than a whole block. Can you see how stopping these patterns can mean you avoid sabotage in the first place?

Making the unhealthy choice

Have a clear motivation and a mantra to guide you

It can also really help in managing sabotage when you are super clear on why you want to be healthy in the first place. Is it to cure an illness, or prevent getting one long term? Is it so that you can feel more confident and attract your soul mate into your life? Is it so that you know that you are being the best mum you can be to your kid? Whatever the reason, you need to hold onto that motivator and then have ways to remind yourself of that reason throughout every day.

I like to make mantras or affirmations that I keep as screen savers on my computer and set as reminders in my phone. That way I am getting constant reminders of what my goals are, and that can be really motivating, especially on those bad days (which will always happen no matter how hard you try to avoid them!).

Four steps to ending sabotage behaviour

So what you want to do to avoid self sabotage is:

  1. Identify when and why you sabotage
  2. Either avoid those triggers or set up ways for you to have inevitable success in spite of them
  3. Forget about having an all-or-nothing attitude, pick yourself up and continue going when you do slip
  4. Have really clear motivations so you can stay focussed on your goals

If you want to work with me more closely on your personal triggers and to get some specific tricks to managing self sabotage when it appears in YOUR life, then you should sign up for one of my Get Healthy Now coaching sessions.

In this new way of working with me, we can identify how you self sabotage and then make easy, actionable steps to overcoming them, so that you can more quickly and easily reach your health goals.

Sign up for your Get Healthy Now coaching package now– there are just ten spots available.

  • I’d also love to hear from you and to know the kinds of ways that you sabotage. Share in the comments below.
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2 Responses to How to Stop Self Sabotaging Your Healthy Habits

  1. Great tips!

    It’s interesting that knowledge is not power unless actioned. I self sabotage by ignoring what I know.

    I’ve been writing a new book, it’s ready to publish, but the final month of formatting for the various sales platforms has been incredibly draining.

    With it went healthy eating during the day (at least I did well morning and night when family involved) and getting to bed at a sensible time.

    Of course as a Health Coach myself, I should know better. Thank you for the many insights above Simone.
    Kylie Bevan recently posted…When Things Are Not Going to PlanMy Profile

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