How to stop self-sabotaging your goals
Self-sabotage is a strange phenomenon. Sometimes it just hits you out of the blue. How do I know this?
Because I have been hit with a nasty case of self-sabotage lately.
It’s strange timing really. In many ways I’m more focused and motivated than ever before. So why aren't I ticking things off my list? Why am I struggling to do the things that I know I need to do to turn my vision into reality?
While you may associate self-sabotage with your health or weight loss goals, in this instance I’m talking about taking on big, challenging career goals (though, these tips will probably still be relevant for you).
Perhaps you are like me, and are known to take too many things on. Or maybe your fear comes from the difficulty in putting yourself out there? Suddenly you realise that you are a little lost, or being counter-productive... so how do you get back on track.
Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.
I’m know I’m not alone with my case of self-sabotage. People often tell me that they have a great idea, but they don’t know how to turn it into action. Or they delay acting on their goals or big dreams because they are scared of what might happen. I get it: the unknown can be scary. But this is just self-sabotage. It's like eating a donut (or five!) when you are on a diet.
So what do you do when your goals are more of the big and scary career changing kind, and less of the looking like a Victoria's Secret model at the beach kind?
(because honestly, if you live in Melbourne like me, you have probably given up hope of ever being warm again)
Here's how I'm going to stop self-sabotaging my goals
Break it down
It's time to start breaking down big, meaty goals into tasks that are actionable and achievable on a weekly/monthly basis. Darren Rowse (ie Problogger) chatted about this at the Problogger conference: he had promised at the previous year's conference to start a Podcast. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a few months out from the conference Darren hadn’t started the podcast yet. It wasn't until he broke down this big goal, into smaller, actionable tasks that things really started to happen and the podcast came to life.
This is what I’m finding with some of my bigger goals or action items. I’m full of motivation, but then can’t get past the 80% complete mark (I’m not joking, I have not one, but TWO eBooks almost finished!). Taking a leaf out of Darren’s book, I’m breaking these bigger tasks down into all the small tasks that I need to do to get them done.
Now, who wants to teach me how to use Photoshop?!
Enlist accountability buddies
Last year one of my friends and I used to meet up for breakfast once a week and go through our goals for the coming week. Although it's always great to catch up with her, this time was locked in like a meeting - we were really committed to working towards our goals. It was a great way to work through some challenges that we were both having with our respective jobs.
Unfortunately life got in the way of this arrangement, but the idea is still really useful: having someone to hold you accountable can be a great asset to achieving goals and blowing self-sabotage out of the water.
One of the best developments in the last month has been enlisting two incredible women as accountability buddies. They are both at really different stages in their career and journey, but still have quite a few goals in common with me. I know they will hold me accountable, and similarly, I'll be keeping them on track to achieving their goals. I'll let you know how this goes!
Focus, focus, focus, focus. I can't say it enough. FOCUS!
I know you have a million awesome ideas. So do I. And that's great. But as I have found, none of them will come to life unless you can't focus on the key goals that you really want.
One of the key takeaway messages from the Problogger conference was to focus on the "One Thing" that you want to achieve.
On this note, I recently read a great article about breaking your goals down into 90 day plans instead of yearly goals. The logic behind this is that yearly goals, like New Years resolutions can be too tricky to keep because you never know what life will throw at you over the course of a year. Cast your mind back to this time last year: could you have predicted everything that life threw your way? I doubt it. Take the time to create some shorter term goals and get moving!
Share my goals with you
My final step to smashing through this little rut is to publish my monthly goals on Career Chronicles. I have been inspired to do this by Melyssa from the Nectar Collective who publishes an overview of her blogging and business goals at the start of each month, along with a honest recap on how she went in the previous month.
I actually find it really interesting to know what goals other people are working towards, and I really believe that telling people your goals is a great way to hold yourself accountable. Also, I think that this exercise will help me focus and break down my goals.
Who knows, you might find my goals interesting too and perhaps feel a little motivated yourself? Please keep me accountable!
Have you ever self-sabotaged or found yourself in a bit of a rut? How did you get out of it? Comment below, or get in touch - I'd love to hear your tips!