I'm Breaking up with Myself
My self-sabotaging ways have got to go.
There are some things I'm pretty good at.
Then there are some things at which I excel. One of these things is self-sabotage. Not exactly something you aim to be good at, yet here I am.
Maybe you've been there, too. Take dieting, for example. You say you're going to go on a diet, or start eating healthier. And then? Suddenly you're eating everything in sight.
Or, I told myself I was going to run three to four times/week. And since then? I've ran once. In a two week period.
Why is it so hard for us to do these things we say we want to do? And why is it so easy to not?
Believe me when I say, I sabotage myself in plenty of other ways, too. It seems like I'll only allow myself to have a happy, smoothly flowing existence for so long, and then I've got to throw in some kind of kink that changes everything.
I've been trying to figure this all out. Well, sort of. It's tricky because of course I tend to sabotage myself in this area, too. I'll read an article, get really excited about implementing the suggested steps, and then that's where it'll end.
I'm a reasonably intelligent person with big dreams and goals. Which means I can't continue like this. I can't keep letting my self-sabotaging ways win if I ever want to actually achieve them.
Take my writing, for example. My first novel is written. It's been through two rounds of editing and has been to an extremely helpful beta-reader. I'm working on making some improvements based on my beta's suggestions, and then I'm all set to explore the world of self publishing. I bought Mark Dawson's Self Publishing 101 course to guide my way. And yet? Most days I struggle to open my manuscript or Mark's course at all. There are always so many other things that need to be done. (And with four kids, that statement is legit.) But I also know how much time I waste. Which, by the way, I later beat myself up for wasting.
So I'm trying something new. Because beating myself up after the fact sure doesn't work. No, from now on, no more name calling. No more reminding myself of my weaknesses and failures. Instead I'm going to work with micro-goals. I'm going to start with a goal so small, it would be ridiculous not to do it. It doesn't matter if the time I'm committing to on each goal is so small it seems there wouldn't be any point in doing it.
Because, you see, that's exactly one of the arguments my brain likes to make. For example: "What's the point of doing yoga for five minutes? That's not going to help.". But in reality, five minutes is better than zero minutes, AND it gets me used to starting, AND it will very likely turn into more than five minutes once I get past the part where I talk myself out of even starting.
Today's goals are:
- Yoga for five minutes
- Take Chief (my dog) for a walk (Or run, but I don't get to beat myself up if I only walk.)
- Write 1,000 words of the new chapters I'm adding/replacing in my book
- Edit my novel for one hour
Now, my kids are all home today, so while that list seems small, it will still be challenging to complete. There's fresh snow, so they'll want to play outside. I promised to start baking some of our Christmas cookies, and we have a birthday cake to make (my dad, their grandpa, is turning 76!). But I'm not backing down.
The way I currently am is based on habits; I've gotten into the habit of not working out, of checking Facebook way too many times a day, of cleaning instead of writing, of believing the scared part of me who says, "Becoming a successful writer is too hard."
Those habits have to go. They've been in control for far too long and aren't getting me where I want to be. My new habits start now. Call it an experiment, where I am going to have you help keep me on track; I'll record this journey and hopefully the insights I uncover and the lessons I learn can help you end self sabotage, too.
After all. We only get one shot at this life, and of making it what we want it to be. I don't want to look back at the end, full of regret for never learning how to make it happen.