Think of that one thing you really want to do. Maybe it's practice a language, or move up at work, or finally learn how to cook. You try and try to get to that wonderful day of success, and yet it never seems to come. When that's the case, it may be that you're accidentally sabotaging your goals.
As an example, let's say that you're trying to learn how to cook. You buy cookbooks, stop by the grocery store, and have all the best intentions. But months (OK fine, years) go by, and you're still stuck ordering takeout. What's going wrong? Well, it could be any number of things, such as laziness, or a secret lack of desire to learn how to cook. Or, it could be due to a case of self-sabotage.
According to an article on Psychology Today, self-sabotage happens when your behaviors create problems and interfere with long-standing goals. This might mean you procrastinate, or self-medicate, or focus on anything else besides the goal at hand. This self-defeating way of looking at things usually comes about from an internal critic that tells you the goal is impossible. If it's really bad, it might even be a sign of past emotional trauma, like a critical parent. (If you think that's the case, don't be afraid to ask for help.)
Whether the sabotage is accidental, or accidentally intentional, there seem to be a million and one reasons why it's difficult to meet goals. Here are a few of those reasons. Once you realize them, it may help you get back on track.
1. You Don't Know Why Your Goal Is A Goal
Sit yourself down and figure out why you want to accomplish your goal. Is it because your mom really wants you to, or because you think it's what all 20-somethings do? If so, then it may not work because the goal isn't yours. To get enough gumption to do something — especially if it's hard, like working out, or studying a new language — you have to figure out why it's important to you. Once you do, it should make getting there that much easier.
2. You Give Up Way Too Fast
OK, so you figured out why your goals is a goal. Now comes the actual hard part, and that's sticking to it until the job is done (whatever that job may be). This is when you might find yourself giving up, especially if you don't give yourself time to adjust. As Samuel Edwards said on Inc., "Anyone who gives up instantly abandons hope of progression, while the people who persevere instantly find another chance for eventual success." So, whatever you do, don't give up at the first hint of adversity.
3. You're Afraid To Fail
This is a big one, and may even cause people to sabotage themselves on purpose, albeit subconsciously. That's because the idea of failing sucks a lot, and may cause people to unintentionally jump ship. As Edwards said, "Culturally, we see failure as both negative and permanent." But it isn't, at all. Don't be afraid to try, or to mess up. If you keep going, you'll get there eventually.
4. You Aren't Adapting To Change
If you have stuck in your head that things must be done a certain way, then you might be setting yourself up for failure from the start. That's because flexibility is pretty much key when it comes to getting anywhere in life. Be willing to learn, to try new things, and to listen to other peoples' way of doing things. It might just be helpful.
5. You Aren't Managing Your Time
It's sad, but true — you don't just magically learn things, or magically get stuff done. Reaching goals means setting aside time to work on yourself. One way to do this is by prioritizing your lists. According to John Casey on WebMD.com, you should try to make a to-do list thats includes how much time you'll spend on each item on the list. This will help you prioritize your goals, and actually get something done.
6. You Aren't Organized
One of the best ways to get stuff done is to stay organized, and be ready. If you're trying to paint more often, then always have your acrylics on hand. If you're trying to get in shape, make sure your gym bag is always packed and ready to go. Because let's be honest, the difference between actually doing the thing, and not doing the thing, is often some such minor inconvenience.
7. You're Being Way Too Negative
Let's pretend you're at work, and your boss comes along with new projects to do. "If your first reaction when asked to take on new responsibilities is groaning about how this will mean extra work, longer hours, no extra compensation and no praise at the end, you need to rethink your approach," noted Andie Huber on Livestrong.com. This could be your chance to get further ahead with your career. So try to make it happen, without getting all down and out.
8. You Just Got Too Competitive
Competition can either drive you forward, or make you want to give up entirely. For many people, it's the latter. As Huber said, "If others’ successes are making you jealous to the point of distraction, try to refocus your goals and evaluate your own contributions objectively." In other words, don't let people get to you.
9. You're Waiting For The "Perfect" Moment
When it comes to moving forward towards your goals, there is no such thing as the "perfect" moment. As Edwards said, "We wait for a little more money, a little more stability, or a little more information. The problem is, the perfect time never comes. Every moment is riddled with imperfections and no matter how long you wait, there will always be a risk associated with your decision. Stop waiting for the perfect moment and just do what you want to do." It really can be as simple as that.
10. You Don't Have Any Boundaries
In my humble opinion, "boundaries" is simply a fancy word for taking care of yourself. That means learning how to say no to people, setting aside your private time, and making sure your goals actually get met. According to Kathy Caprino on Forbes, having boundaries also means regulating the flow of information that comes washing over your brain, aka not listening to everyone else's incessant chatter. So start setting up some boundaries, tuning people out, and actually get something done.
11. You Take The Proverbial Back Seat
In the same way it's necessary to set up boundaries, it's also necessary to step out of your comfort zone. This can, however, be pretty difficult for some people, especially if you're a woman. According to Wendy Capland on Success.com, us ladies tend to air on the side of caution when it comes to speaking up about our ideas. If that sounds familiar, start asserting yourself more often. It might just get your closer to your goals.
Once you find out the reason you're accidentally self-sabotaging, it can often be easier to start doing the opposite. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there, and stand up for your precious time. If you do, you might finally get something done.
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