I'm sure that many of us have experienced a point in our lives where we've became aware of the need to start making some positive changes. We may feel ready to commit to formal New Year's Resolutions or simply say 'today's the time to focus on spring cleaning our habits, friends, relationships and ultimately our lives'.
Yet how often do those goals and important objectives quickly become sabotaged and hi-hacked? We may not fully appreciate why it's happening but unconscious resistance can interfere with our desire to break out of old habits and behaviour patterns.
It can be interesting to look at those occasions:
- Many of us will be able to recall a time when we were determined to address our eating or drinking habits and make healthier choices. Before too long we were making excuses to regularly visit the supermarket to buy one or two items that we suddenly needed urgently, had unexpectedly run out of or had accidentally forgotten.
These are great examples of how we sabotage our efforts by convincing ourselves that we're 'just' popping to the shops to buy those urgent supplies, the bread or milk. We tell ourselves that we'll only be a few minutes, insist that we'll limit ourselves to those specific aisles, but then find ourselves wandering along the other lanes 'just in case' we see something else we need. Often the temptation can become so strong that we end up buying chocolates, a bottle of wine or something that we really shouldn't. Deep down though we knew we'd succumb!
- Or it may be that we choose to implement a fitness regime with a friend or colleague who we unconsciously suspect is not fully committed. There may be a part of us that acknowledges we need to go regularly to the gym, run a marathon or commit to a health objective but in reality we're less than enthusiastic. Choosing to workout with someone who is less motivated than ourselves can bring a much easier going, less tenacious approach. Then if the plan fails after a week or so we can blame someone else, excuse ourselves far more easily, shrug our shoulders and feel vindicated.
- What about if a relationship's floundering? Maybe there's an estrangement which could go either way and we feel quite stressed and want to ensure that our position is fully understood. We know that texting, when we need to communicate information, is an efficient, concise, documented way of communicating, but struggle to hold ourselves back from being more hands on and pushing for a more interactive involvement. The problem is that entails talking to the other person.
We may tell ourselves that we hate texting; it's far quicker and more efficient to phone with our message. But if we're at a sensitive stage in the relationship we may know deep down that we're putting ourselves in a vulnerable place when we contact them via the phone. Typically we know that we'll end up asking questions, explaining ourselves in painstaking detail or going through the arguments and grievances yet again.
It can be more sensible to limit ourselves through the use of text. It's important to hold onto the knowledge that it's in our best interests to resist the temptation to phone and avoid inflaming the situation even further.
In any of these instances, be aware of what the underlying sub-text is if you frequently find yourself missing out on completing your objectives, especially ones that you feel would significantly benefit your life. And accept that it may be beneficial to enlist help if you find this repeating pattern too difficult to break on your own. Learn to pay attention to what happens when you become distracted and veer off course. Listen to what your thought patterns and feelings are saying. Intercept them and deal with the information.
It may be that you're not really committed to losing weight, getting fit or letting go of the relationship just yet. Discover where you're at; only then can you ascertain what would motivate and work for you. That way you're less likely to sabotage your efforts and goals.