Stop These 3 Self-Sabotaging Habits
Avoiding self-sabotage requires some understanding of why we do it along with focused determination to prevent it.
As a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach (CTNC), I see many people struggle with self-sabotage as they learn to create new healthy lifestyle habits that will help them meet their wellness goals. Generally, the lifestyle habits my clients struggle with the most are those related to their food choices.
I’ve seen clients make amazing progress and then throw in the towel because of a family party, a vacation, or other social events, and getting back to those new habits seems to take a Herculean effort after a food slip-up.
As difficult as it is to watch this process, I try to remind my clients that they only need to focus on one decision at a time and not get overwhelmed. I’ve seen time and again that consistent baby steps get us where we want to go a lot faster than inconsistent giant leaps.
Making changes in our lives always has challenges, but when those changes are focused on creating positive outcomes, we can generally bet that self-sabotage will happen sooner rather than later.
In fact, just the other day I received an email from a client who was absolutely convinced that she was going to fail. She listed all the things that would be difficult and all the reasons why she might not be able to make the necessary changes to reach her health goals.
When she focused on the size of the mountain she had to climb to get better she was overwhelmed and felt defeated.
I redirected her defeated email with an encouraging pep-talk. You know the one, the email that reminded her to focus on the first few steps that she had already decided to start with, the things that were going to be easy for her to accomplish.
I reminded her to only worry about getting really good at those goals right now.
Not surprisingly, a few days later she sent me another email telling me how easy things were. Her mindset had shifted, and she was confident in her ability to succeed.
I have noticed that there are three common mistakes that can lead to self-sabotage, especially when it comes to making food choices!
See if your clients are making these mistakes and if they are, teach them why it is a problem and share a simple solution to help them stay on track.
STOP THESE 3 SELF-SABOTAGING HABITS
MISTAKE #1: CHASING PERFECTION
THIS IS YOU IF…
You stress out over whether or not all the produce in your fridge is 100% organic.
Perfectionism is possibly the most potent form of self-sabotage!
Even if you are 100 percent committed to doing what it takes to reach your goals, life is too unpredictable to execute your plans flawlessly.
Perfectionists are prone to creating so much stress around healthy eating that it can become extremely unhealthy.
They focus on “fear-based” nutrition advice instead of following the advice of trusted, well-educated professionals (like CTNCs) who understand how to help them make continual progress along their journey.
The internet is filled with conflicting advice about nutrition so having someone in your corner who understands your goals and the conditions you are personally dealing with can help you navigate through the chaos.
Since good health is the product of healthy habits that are sustained over a long period of time, a good coach will help you to continue doing the best you can at whatever stage you are at.
MISTAKE #2: SCHEDULING CHEAT DAYS
THIS IS YOU IF…
You spend a week eating “good-for-you-foods” while simultaneously planning for everything you will save to eat on your “cheat day.”
While “cheat days” or even “cheat meals” might seem to work for a few people, in reality, they represent a continued disordered relationship with food.
Think about how twisted it is to “reward” yourself by doing something that has a negative impact on your health.
Regardless of how well you have planned, the unpredictability of day-to-day life will create times when you can’t eat perfectly.
The bottom line is, it’s just a bad idea to set aside a special day of the week or month to abandon all control.
I recommend that you take the word “cheat” out of your vocabulary! (See ya! Bye bye!)
Food should not be about punishment and reward. Instead, you can categorize food by whether or not it will get you to your health goals.
Food is fuel, information, and will either build you up or tear you down.
Focus on eating a wide variety of delicious foods and allow your mind and body to adapt to a new “default setting.”
MISTAKE #3: NEVER MAKING A PLAN
THIS IS YOU IF…
You want to start eating better, you know it would truly help, and then “life happens” and you’re eating take-out all week.
While being able to “roll-with-life” as it happens is an important skill! Learning how to plan for success is also important.
When you have a plan, you can adapt to the situation, and that is usually easier than starting without a plan.
Trust me; I get it! Right now, I have two teenagers and an elderly mother-in-law living with us.
By the time you add kid’s activities and homework, meals to prepare, and various doctors’ appointments with my mother-in-law, I know that if I don’t have a plan, one chaotic day will easily derail and sabotage my healthy eating goals.
If you are striving to make changes in your lifestyle habits, you’re going to have some work to do to get you there.
Success doesn’t just happen, but when you focus on a plan you’ll see progress! (Scout’s honor!)
Spend some time on your least busy day making a meal plan for the upcoming week, shopping for food, and maybe even doing some basic meal prep.
This will save you loads of time during the busy week.
Some of my favorite tips include…
- planning crockpot or instant pot dinners for busy nights.
- preparing some quick on-the-go snacks so you will have some great choices while running errands.
- make enough dinner to serve as leftovers for the next day’s lunch.
TO WRAP UP
The bottom line is that self-sabotage is real. (We are all tempted by it!)
If you are making changes to your lifestyle, you will experience it at some point along your journey. Here’s the thing, you can choose to end self-sabotage by accepting yourself right where you are, and focusing on the changes that will lead you to your long-term health goals.
Just remember every journey begins with a single step, and by focusing on your goals and making a plan, you will get where you want to go, even if you’re taking baby steps!
Comment below with which mistake you’ve experienced or that you see most commonly as a coach!