Ever find yourself perplexed as to why you do the thing you later wished you didn’t do?
You know that it goes against everything you want, and yet you still do it.
It may be that you hit the snooze button so many times you end up skipping your workout…
It may be that you find zero willpower to pass on the cookie once it’s in front of you, even though you’ll be hating yourself for it afterwards…
It may be that you find yourself feeling the uncomfortable fullness of overeating WAY too often. You don’t know why you do it, even if you desperately want to lose weight…
Or any of a MILLION different “self-sabotaging behaviors” that you can’t seem to change.
Again, why? Why is this?
First of all, I have to start by saying this, put the guilt and self-punishment whips away. Even though you are doing things that go against what you want, and possibly even against your health and wellbeing, there is nothing wrong with you.
The reason why you do these things is because they are wired in our subconscious mind. You see, your subconscious mind is like an autopilot that has been slowly and systematically programmed by you (and your life experiences) since childhood. Some of the programs are effective (like driving without having to think of how far you have to press on the accelerator or brake pedals) and some of the programs are less effective (like eating a cookie to feel like you are having a little bit of fun in your work-filled afternoon.)
Your subconscious autopilot does not have the capacity to decide whether it is a good program or a bad program. It just runs the program.
And importantly, beyond all logic, your subconscious mind is always positively motivated.
So even if it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, your subconscious mind will be automatically do things to help you feel safe, comfortable and happy. It may often find the easiest program to get you to feel safe, comfortable and happy.
Let’s bring it home. Do a little inventory of the things you do (with whatever frequency) that you would typically label as self-sabotage. I’ll give you some ideas and you can add your own:
Hitting the snooze button way too many times so you don’t get up to work out
Drinking more caffeine than you would think is healthy for you
Eating more sugar when you’re stressed
Quit exercising altogether when you’re overwhelmed with life
Bitting your fingernails
Drinking a couple of glasses of wine every night to unwind
Buying the chips/cookies that you know you binge on, even though you keep saying to yourself that you need to stop buying them
What’s THE thing you keep doing that you would rather not do?
OK, now that you have it, let’s be clear that it’s time to stop the chastising. Adding guilt and shame will do you no good and instead will help to keep you stuck.
Now let’s look underneath the behavior.
What do you get by doing this?
Sit with that question for a moment; what do you get?
I can’t tell you what it is for you, but I can tell you that there is something positive that your subconscious mind is looking to get for you through the behavior. Here are some possible positive motivations for your not-s0-constructive behavior:
To feel free from ‘to do’s
To feel the comfort associated with a childhood food
To quiet the anxiety and feel more at peace
To silence the sadness
To feel connected to others by sharing this food
To get a sense of luxury and pleasure
To feel loved and cared for
More deeply, to soothe feelings of unworthiness
You get the picture. See if any of these resonate with you. You may not find your answer on this list as it contains only a few different possible needs. The trick is to tune into the desire of your heart that your subconscious mind is looking to meet through the well-worn path of the not-so-helpful behavior.
Once you start to uncover this, you being to have the key to shift it without struggle.
Curious to learn more?
Tuesday October 20th I’ll be teaching a FREE tele-seminar on this subject. I’ll be guiding everyone in the class to uncover some of the ways in which their emotions are showing up in their health behaviors and even in their physical symptoms.
Check it out and register here. This class is becoming the foundation for what I’m seeing as the most transformational work that I have done in my 8 years in practice. Join me.