By Dolly Muzer
One of the biggest obstacles to meeting goals and taking action can be working with and through resistance. Resistance can be so tricky and can show up in a multitude of forms without you even realizing it. You think you are taking action, doing something “productive,” or doing something that “needs to get done,” but it’s really only self-sabotage.
Maybe working on what is really going to further your goals or your creative projects seems too intimidating or too overwhelming. Or maybe you say to yourself, “I will get to it later,” but it’s later and you didn’t get to it.
So, instead of focusing on taking action toward your goals, you may focus on: doing laundry, making a shopping list, cleaning the house, watching television, going out with friends, exercising, making a meal. You get the idea.
You may be thinking to yourself, “But those are things that I need to do!” and yes, they are, but are you doing them at the expense of meeting your goals? Are you doing them in the middle of the day or at odd times when you could be working on your creative projects? How is your resistance consciously or unconsciously undermining what you want to create in your life?
Another form of resistance (aka, self-sabotage) is not saying “yes” to what is truly important in your life and saying “yes” to everything and everyone outside of yourself first. Then you will be “busy” and not have any time to focus on what you said you wanted to create. Maybe you are “busy.” That seems to be most people’s favorite phrase: “I am too busy; I don’t have enough time!” We have a choice about how busy we want to be, what we say yes to and what we say no to. We also have choices about how we spend, structure, and relate to time. Everyone has 24 hours in a day. How you choose to utilize your time is ultimately up to you.
This is one of the reasons why resistance can be so tricky to work with and through. By being “busy” you may feel good temporarily because you have a lot going on and you’re feeling productive. You may feel good that you are helping other people, but at what expense in the long run? It does not mean that you cannot help others and feel productive, but inevitably do you find yourself feeling worse because you haven’t done the things you said you were going to do for you? These are simply more cover up tactics, an illusion that you are “taking action.” However, it’s not action to further your goals and creative projects; it is just filler to avoid the commitments you made to yourself.
I would like to ask if you can you be mindful and pay attention to the difference between taking action to further your goals vs. taking action in the form of resistance to sabotage your dreams? Instead of focusing on taking action to further your goals, are you taking action to get your laundry done, clean your house, or go grocery shopping? These are also important “to-do’s” but not at the expense of your life dreams.
How Your Thoughts Can Sabotage Your Dreams
To better understand self-sabotage, let’s go a little deeper and look at how habitual thoughts/thinking can self-sabotage our best intentions and well laid plans.
These are some (and not all) of the negative habitual thoughts that may come up when you are trying to create the life you want:
- I don’t deserve…
- I am not good enough…
- I don’t have the skills to…
- “They” have more experience than me to…
- “They” have more money than me to…
- I don’t have the money to do this…
- Look at what so and so accomplished/created…
All of these statements have one thing in common: They come from “lack of” mindset. I find that when I am stuck in a “lack of” mindset nothing seems possible, good, or joyous. This state of mind usually brings up doubt, fear, and a sense of hopelessness, and I have a hard time moving forward.
How do I move forward? I bring mindfulness and awareness into the moment.
The first step I take is to pay attention and bring mindfulness to how I am feeling in my body. Am I feeling crabby, annoyed, tired, or frustrated? If so, I get curious about it and check in to see if I am really feeling that way or if it is my habitual negative thoughts and thinking patterns that are influencing how I feel.
More often than not, I am thinking negative thoughts and need to focus on cleaning up these habitual thought patterns that don’t serve my well-being or my life dreams. I “clean them up” by noticing the thoughts, not dwelling on them, and letting them go, or I replace them with more positive-feeling thoughts. In essence, these habitual thoughts and thinking patterns are a form of self-sabotage because they cause me to repeat behaviors that keep me stuck or blocked around moving toward my goals and dreams.
As crazy as it sounds, sometimes we are so comfortable in this state of negative thinking that we sabotage our efforts at positive thinking. Why? This is where fear comes in: fear of the unknown, fear of something different, fear of not being able to control our lives…the list goes on and on. Fear lives because we feed it with our negative thinking and negative thoughts. It exists because we are afraid of change and we self-sabotage so we can stay the same because it is comfortable (even if it isn’t serving our best intentions!).
In these moments, it’s important to pay attention your thoughts and bring mindfulness and awareness to consciously choose better feelings and thoughts. This process includes:
- Not choosing thoughts that are from a “lack of” or negative mindset or viewpoint.
- Choosing not to be false to yourself about how you feel
- Choosing thoughts that feel better in small increments to create an abundant and positive mindset
- Paying attention to what is going well in your life and acknowledging it!
As you begin this process of cleaning up your thinking and your habitual thought patterns, you also begin to self-sabotage less. You aren’t feeding and sustaining the negativity and mindset of lack that is comfortable and doesn’t want to change. It is important to remember that you do have a choice around what you think about and what thoughts take up a lot of your mental space. Why not clear out the mental clutter and choose an abundant and positive mindset?
Dolly Muzer, MA, LPC is a Life and Certified Creativity Coach, Licensed Professional Counselor, teacher, and a visual artist. Professionally, she brings over twenty years of experience working with a variety of people and populations. She holds a Master’s Degree in Contemplative Psychology and has trained in meditation, bringing grounding, awareness, and compassion to her work with others. She inspires people to liberate their artistic talents, challenges them to let go of their self-limiting beliefs, and supports them to follow through on choices that meet their highest aspirations and dreams. She is fiercely committed to empowering women and men to reignite their creative spark, dream big, and go for it! Visit thecreativepioneer.com.
This article is a chapter from the book Transform Your Life! written by 60 real-life heroes and experts and available at Amazon.com, BN.com, www.Transformation-Publishing.com and all ebook formats.