Okay… full transparency moment here: I’ve been writing this same post for a solid 3 weeks now.
And I’ve literally found every reason in the world not to finish it.
My creativity seems like it’s gone out the window.
My computer has died 6 (make that 7) times while I try to finish.
I’ve said: “let me warm up my coffee one more time before I start” like a million times.
And I can never seem to find a comfortable place to sit.
So I am bound and determined to finish this dang thing – because the irony of it is, I’m self sabotaging writing this post.
And it’s all because of perfectionism & unrealistic expectations.
I feel unqualified to speak on something I still struggle with: Self Sabotage.
My life long nemesis.
But if we were only qualified to speak about things we’ve 100% conquered, then all we would be qualified to speak on is failure.
“But if we were only qualified to speak about things we’ve 100% conquered, then all we would be qualified to speak on is failure.”
Because newsflash: you can still struggle with something that you’re freed from.
You can still be an overcomer of a sin you’ve conquered.
It doesn’t mean you won’t struggle.
It doesn’t mean you won’t fall down.
Being an overcomer means you KNOW the truth, you REST in the fact that your circumstances don’t define you, and you find your WORTH in the finished work of Christ, not your meaningless efforts.
And like I said, something I’ve had to conquer and overcome is: Self Sabotage.
Anyone who knew me in high school knows I loved running – when I joined the track team my freshman year, I was out of shape & couldn’t run more than 1/2 a mile. But that’s truly where my love for fitness began.
But even as much as I loved it, I remember I used to always get to this point in my run where I would be SO close to the end and I’d feel this overwhelming desire to STOP and just walk the last few minutes.
Nothing was going wrong – I wasn’t too tired to keep going – but I just wanted to stop.
And a lot of times, I’d listen to that meaningless voice in my head that told me I had to do whatever it felt like it wanted – regardless of what I knew was the right decision.
Was I a bad person for stopping?
Of course not.
But would I have benefited greatly from continuing even when it was hard?
It’s just like the verse: 1 Corinthians 6:12 “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.”
Honestly, we have the free will to do whatever the heck we want, but that doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea for us and for those around us.
But a lot of times we choose to let our brains dictate our decisions – rather than relying on the truth to guide us.
And I realized it’s because as humans, we actually riding like the struggle bus.
We crave the miserable, the hard, and the failure because we can predict it.
It’s our comfort zone.
Often times, we fear success, confidence or reaching goals because we just like to STRIVE but not actually succeed – especially in fitness and health – because we fear what will come next.
What will consume our minds once we reach this goal, what will we have to talk about next, what will we toil over, how will we be forced to change, what if I have to buy new clothes, what if I get more attention, what if I don’t know how to maintain this change, what if the the people around me don’t like this changed version of me?
- What if none of that actually comes to fruition?
- Or what if the expectation is far greater than you could imagine?
You see, when we give God the outcome – it liberates us.
When we just SHOW UP, put our YES on the table, obey the commands and convictions He’s laid in our hearts, and trust that the outcome will be in HIS HANDS – magical things happen.
But we have to be willing to let Him take us to the depths of trust, to actually get to a point where our feet no longer touch the floor of the pool and we have to solely rely on pressing into Him.
Because the problem with self sabotage and failing is that we strive for goals for our own happiness and by our own strength.
Which never works because we all have this point in our relationship with our health (or any goal in general, really) where we run full speed ahead, motivated to cross the finish line, but then as soon as we gain sight of the destination, we punch the breaks coming to a screeching halt before we cross over into the unknown.
Being in a new situation makes us vulnerable. And as humans, we hate vulnerability.
To us, vulnerability means hurt, betrayal, or the possibility that we might get embarrassed if we fail again.
And desiring control is the issue.
We want to know how the process will go and what the outcome will be, and as soon as we gain sight of change, we abandon ship.
But the true blessing is found in the unknown. That’s where we grow and that’s where we flourish.
Which we can only start doing once we stop putting our hope & joy in the process, but instead focus on obeying God and surrender our health & goals to Him, letting Him decide what the outcome is.
When we stop looking for the physical changes – but rather, the mental and spiritual, we won’t let outward changes scare us into resorting back to what’s familiar.
Because we don’t get the benefits of obedience (which are peace and joy) when we try to control the outcome.
Outwardly, we could be doing all the right steps but if all we’re doing is looking for outward reassurance, we’ll never be satisfied or have the full blessing of following God.
And this starts with really evaluating your “why” behind your goals
-Would I still continue to workout and eat right even if I NEVER see physical changes?
-Would I still work hard at work and show up on time even if I never get a raise or recognition?
-Would I still remain faithful to love & serve my spouse even if they never reciprocate it?
-Would I still share the gospel with others even if they never accept Christ as their own?
You see: we’re only CALLED to OBEY, we’re not created to CONTROL, that’s God’s job. Things get disappointing and unfulfilling when we try to make His job ours.
“You see: we’re only CALLED to OBEY, we’re not created to CONTROL, that’s God’s job. Things get disappointing and unfulfilling when we try to make His job ours.”
For example, when it comes to reaching your health goals, your heart & mind don’t know that your big colorful salad was 800 calories – but they do recognize that out of discipline and choosing to walk in TRUTH, rather than FEELINGS & DESIRES, you chose a salad over a cheeseburger.
So even though you’re tempted to think you’ve “failed” and you must as well should’ve eaten the cheeseburger, doesn’t mean you have to let those thoughts stay there or control you.
We have to form new habits in order to retrain our minds because failure has become second nature.
In one of my favorite books, “Reshaping it all”, Candace Cameron Bure always says we have to train our resistance bones.
So just as it’s become a habit to have dessert after every meal or go back to any bad habit you have in life – you can actually replace those habits with better ones.
At first it will seem unnatural and really hard – because IT IS.
But always choose the hardness of denying yourself your fleshly desires in the moment, instead of living in the hardness of feeling defeated & less than later on.
“Choose the hardness of denying yourself your fleshly desires in the moment, instead of living in the hardness of feeling defeated & less than later on.”
Through much trial and error, I’ve found some true things I practice whenever I’m tempted to self sabotage my goals and finally finding success.
But to be honest, my advice is to not try to them all at once but instead find 3 that you feel you can DO WELL & DO OFTEN – 3 things that you can keep in your pocket for days when you struggle.
I’ll tell you what my 3 favorites are later on – but I’ve honestly used each of these at some point in my journey.
How To Stop Self-Sabotaging & Finally Reach Success
- Ignore your emotions, thoughts, desires, or feelings – React only to truth
- You FEEL like you WANT to give-in, but the TRUTH is what is going to be more beneficial is if you choose the discipline of saying “no”.
- Stop letting your mind/body control you – they have no power over you.
- Talk out-loud (my mind is telling me to skip my workout but regardless of how I FEEL, I KNOW it is beneficial for me and for everyone else in my life that I commit to finishing what I started)
- Rationalize your fears – put them in their place
- Form new habits
- Replace bad habits, with good ones – This takes consistency.
- Don’t run off of motivation – it’s only a feeling that doesn’t last long
- During temptation: look past this moment
- Ask yourself: eventhough I want this NOW, will I be happy with this choice in an hour, a week, or a month from now?
- Make A Plan
- Figure out a maintainable & enjoyable way to reach your end-goal
- Bouncing off of the previous one: Only make a plan that you can learn to enjoy & could potentially maintain forever
- Stop being so strict; if you had a run planned but all you want is a walk, DO THE WALK. who cares about calories in vs calories out.
- Tell someone or do it with a buddy.
- Don’t do it for yourself alone
- Serve God in the decision to surrender your shackles
- Do it to be a better friend, wife, worker
- By seeing success in our lives, we will feel inspired to shower others with the same truth we’ve discovered
- Have GRACE when you “mess up”
- You will mess up – but just start over again with your next decision
- Don’t STAY STUCK in failure – or let it define you
Remember that all progress is messy and there is no straight shot to success.
I still have my days where I forget that and I find myself making one bad choice after another because “I’ve already failed.”
So, like I said: I’ve found my 3 favorite truth’s to always keep in the back of my mind for days/weeks when I really start to fear the finish line.
- Ignore feelings & react to truth
- Have grace for when I do mess up
- Do it for a lifestyle change, not a specific outcome/end-goal.
Self Sabotaging our goals is natural – but it can be overcome through a lot of falling down & getting back up. As well as a TON of prayer. And not to mention, one of my FAVORITE resources for learning to have grace on myself & stop letting life define me by my failures is a writer and Youtuber: Cambria Joy.
I linked a video of hers that speaks to this subject so well – but honestly, all of her videos speak on this to some extent and I’m telling you, they are so empowering and filled with such truth!
My hope is that you learn that regardless of how worthless you may FEEL, the TRUTH is you are already a triumphant conqueror because God finished the battle for you.
It’s just time you start walking in that reality.
And as always:
Ps: I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and tell me how you have learned to overcome self sabotage in your life!
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