Sometimes when we try to make significant changes in our lives, we find ourselves drifting back to our old behaviors time and time again. This can be extremely baffling. We have a goal that we know we want to achieve, but for some reason, we keep sabotaging our plans. It’s as if there’s a force of desire within us to maintain our old ways that is overwhelmingly stronger than our force of desire to change.
Self-sabotage usually comes from an unconscious decision that the sacrifices we need to make for change are greater than the benefits. Since all change requires sacrifice, change can only be sustained if we believe that the benefits of the change outweigh the sacrifice.
This is good news for those of us who believe that we are not capable of making a change because we think we are too weak, unintelligent, undisciplined, etc. Because, the truth is, when we believe we have set our mind to a change, and then fail, it is not because we are incapable, it is because we have not truly set our mind to the change.
…well, why not?
There are a number of reasons why we fail to fully set our minds to a change. Here are a few very common reasons:
- We do not fully recognize how the change fits with our morals and values.
- We are distracted by other priorities.
- We believe we are incapable of the change.
Since every change requires some sacrifice, if our goals don’t resonate deeply with our morals and values, if other priorities work against our goals, or if we believe we will fail, we will not feel that the sacrifice is worth making, and we will fail to maintain the change.
So, in order to follow through with and sustain the change that we desire in ourselves, we need to examine our morals and values to see very clearly how our goals resonate with them, examine and adjust our priorities to ensure that our goals fit our priorities, and recognize our ability to accomplish our goals.
This is the gist of Step 4 to long lasting change from my post, How To Change Who You Are, which reads as follows:
Examine your morals and values to make sure that the changes you are planning to make fit in with your motivations and priorities. Every choice you make requires you to sacrifice one thing for another. Sometimes that sacrifice is negligible; sometimes it’s significant. By consciously choosing the sacrifices you make, rather than saying, “I’ll figure it out somehow,” you’ll be much less likely to go back on your choices or lose motivation.
To examine your morals, values and priorities, ask yourself…
- What is important to me?
- What do I really want?
- What is the ideal lifestyle that fits my desires and values?
- What am I willing to sacrifice to make that lifestyle reality?
Ask yourself these questions without limiting your answers based on what you think is realistic. Anything is realistic if you are willing to take the necessary steps and make the necessary sacrifices to make it happen. We are not limited by our abilities as much as we are limited by our willingness to sacrifice what we have for what we could have. By answering the questions above, we can lift that limit and prepare ourselves for a sacrifice, knowing that the sacrifice will get us where we want to be.
If you have doubts about your capabilities, realize that when you have a deep, persistent desire in your heart to follow a certain path, that desire is a calling from God, your inner spirit, your subconscious, the universe, or wherever you draw your inspiration. A desire is an indication of purpose and a recognition of potential within you.
This belief about desires is a common theme amongst teachings of spiritual and philosophical leaders and religions and is evident in everyday life. It’s easy to recognize that those who love their jobs perform them with greater skill and efficiency than those who do not. And, those who love their lives accomplish more.
So, to eliminate self-sabotage and maintain sustainable changes, listen to your inner desires or calling, then prepare yourself for sacrifice by examining how your goals resonate with your motivations, so that you know fully that the sacrifice is worth making. Then, choose to make the sacrifice and follow your dreams knowing that you are on the right path for you.
In another post, I’ll be sharing a personal story about the limiting belief system I once had about what I was capable of accomplishing in life, and how those beliefs were shattered when I made some sacrifices to improve the condition I was in.