Releasing Self Sabotage for Success and Happiness in Life
Today, I wanted to mention this notion of self-sabotage.
I recently studied some material of Kevin Hogans and lots by John Grinder on this topic. John is the co-creators and developers of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). John points out the differences and distinction between what he refers to as 'first-order change' and 'second-order change'. First order change is not really relevant to my writing today.
Second-order changes are where a person could encounter what many people refer to as self-sabotage. Some examples of self sabotage include:
- going partying until 4am the night before an important job interview
- setting a goal of getting fit and healthy then eating chips and chocolate every night
- deciding to leave an unhealthy, unhappy relationship, then not doing it
When a person's behaviours are not in line with what they say they want, there are three main possibilities:
Firstly, it may be that they don't really want it; maybe they are not convinced of the benefits.
The second possibility is that they may well want it, but there are hidden benefits of the current state that will be lost. (For example, someone may get some short-term good feelings from eating all that chocolate when at home bored in an evening)
Then the third possibility is that they want it, but don't believe it is possible and/or appropriate for them.
The power of WHY?
Although the why question is frowned upon by many in NLP, personal development and hypnosis professionals, the place that I have found the Why question useful is in establishing someone's motivation for doing something. Assuming that you have a clear idea of what you want.
When you have an idea of something that you think you want, go ahead and ask yourself "Why do I want this? What will it get me? What will it do for me?
Identify to yourself the benefits of making the change you wish to make. How much do you want them? Is it worth the effort? My experience with this is very straightforward: I will only put effort into something that I really want. Now, you can really rocket-fuel the experience by following this simple procedure:
As I have suggested before, imagine that you are in that future situation enjoying the benefits of the change you have made. See what you'll see, hear what you'll hear and feel what you'll feel once you have achieved that outcome (stopping smoking, achieved ideal weight, earned a certain amount of money, got that promotion, asked that person out on a date etc, etc.). Make the colours bright and really experience it in your mind as you think it would be.
Then, just step out of the experience, dissociate yourself from it and see it, look at it as if you are looking at a picture of yourself in the future, enjoying the benefits of that change. Also, make that picture big, bold and bright.
If at this point you are feeling motivated to make the change, great. If not, think to yourself; do you really want it, or is it just something you think you should do? If you don't want to do it - don't do it! (If it's something you don't want to do but have to, like pay taxes, there are other techniques for dealing with that.)
Assuming that you do want to make the change, check for a secondary gain. By that I mean, check to see how you will benefit if you do NOT make the change. Have a think to yourself about how there might be a sceondary gain or a hidden benefit of NOT achieving the change; something that might be making it worth not achieving the goal or the change.
Once you've taken care of motivation and secondary gain, it is time to check for belief.
Ask yourself or get someone to ask you the following questions: Do you want this? Is this possible for you? Do you know how to do this? Do you deserve this?
Then notice your own immediate response, be honest with yourself or ask the other person to watch and to listen to you closely when you respond. Does it seem like a congruent response (ie. like you really believe it) or are you unsure / incongruent.
If the answer to any of these questions is 'no', or if the 'yes' response is incongruent (eg. head shaking while saying yes), then there may be an issue of belief. A simple way to start shifting beliefs is through using the good old new age technique of affirmations. (Unless you have learned self-hypnosis, in which case do that; it is far more powerful. You can of course look at my learn self-hypnosis DVDs at my website)
So, to create this affirmation, create a first person present tense sentence containing what you are affirming, then say it to yourself in a positive and encouraging tone of voice (Eg. 'I am supremely confident', 'I am fit & healthy')
You may find that you have to say your affirmation a number of times before you really begin to start noticing differences, but they do work (plus, lots of people say horrible things to themselves lots of the time anyway, so you may as well start saying nice things to yourself in good tonality.) The way I see it, if you are going to say anything to yourself in your own mind, you may as well say nice and progressive things eh?
Here is a nice idea for you to have a go at, it is one to stretch your flexibility. Practice looking in the mirror and saying 'I love you'. If, when you do this, your statement seems obviously true and positive, great! Do it twice a day forever. If (as is the case for many people) it seems unbelievably yucky, insincere and horrible, do it anyway. Pretend that you mean it. Keep on doing it for at least three weeks - you may be amazed at what starts to happen. Once it seems obviously true and positive, great! Do it twice a day forever.
Really enjoy the first half of the month of May. Do some different things and let me know what you have done differently and the difference it made, or get in touch with me if you need some inspiration.
Just last week, some pointed to me a quote that has been re-hashed several times before, but is a great one;
"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting.'...Holy Cow...What a Ride!!'
Copyright 2005 Adam Eason. All Rights Reserved.
Adam Eason is an author, consultant, trainer and motivational speaker in the fields of www.adam-eason.com">hypnosis, NLP, personal development and human potential. His website is filled with information, stimulating articles, resources and uniques products.
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