One big thing I have been struggling with quite a bit lately is coming up with a great idea for something (a great blog post or a really fun but out-of-the-box activity), and then last-minute psyching myself out of following through with it. I know I can’t be the only one that does this to themselves, so I wanted to delve a little deeper into the why behind my own self-sabotage & write a post about it.
After I gave it some thought, I found that I often get all worked up in my head and convince myself it’s no longer a good idea even though not long ago I was really excited about it. I pick apart the idea and focus on all the little things that make it stupid or things that could go wrong, instead of what the result could be if it all went right. Also, anyone that knows me knows that I’m an expert procrastinator. Instead of just getting started & following through with the idea or plan, I come up with every excuse as to why it won’t work- resulting in a never-ending cycle of inaction and feeling down on myself because I’m not getting anything done.
Below, I listed out some of the things I believe cause many people to talk themselves out of following through with really great ideas and doing fun things. I’m hoping that acknowledging them will help us catch ourselves in the moment of self-sabotage so that we can instead turn those thoughts of doubt into action.
Expectations: Sometimes we have these huge ideas in our head, but when we execute them they don’t quite turn out exactly as we had envisioned. Instead of letting ourselves believe the end result was less than the ‘perfect’ we had intended (and therefore a failure in our eyes), embrace it. Let ourselves see that although it may not have turned out exactly as planned, it might actually be even better than we originally imagined it could be.
Confidence: One of the biggest reasons I think we talk ourselves out of things is because we don’t think we have the confidence to succeed. The “I don’t think I can do this” starts to creep in, and we start overanalyzing & picking apart the things about ourselves that we’re not confident in. This kind of thinking convinces us that we shouldn’t take action, when in fact this is the exact moment that we should just go for it. How do you know you can’t do something unless you actually try?
Overthinking: This is another big one. We go on tangents in your head, back & forth until we’ve thought every single worst-case scenario. We start to fear the negative outcomes, but the reality is we’ve created those negative outcomes. While it’s important to weigh the pros & cons with any big idea, don’t get so stuck in the cons that you fail to see the potential of the pros and don’t move forward with your plan.
Outside Opinions: Worrying about what other people may think of you if you don’t succeed just takes the focus back to the negative outcome, which again makes it nearly impossible for you to see the possibility of a positive one. Regardless if you succeed or fail, people are going to judge you. You could be the ripest peach in the orchard and someone out there still just isn’t going to like peaches. It’s best to just accept that fact, and push all the outside negativity out of your mind.
When talking yourself out of things becomes a regular habit, you eventually start to truly believe that you’re not good enough to make your thoughts and/or plans come to life. All the overthinking and inaction starts to take a toll on your mental health, and you get stuck in a rut. You regret the things you never followed through with & beat yourself up about being caught in the same spot you were in 6 months ago.
So, how do we get ourselves out of this rut?
Don’t wait: There is power in planning, but planning (for me, especially) often becomes procrastination because you avoid actually starting the work. You can plan everything out to a T, but you’re never actually going to have that comfortable feeling of ‘I’m ready’. You just have to take the plunge and GO. Whatever the big thing is that you want to do, push aside any self-sabotaging thoughts come up and get started.
Be Accountable: You are so much more likely to accomplish things if you make others aware of what you’re doing. Even if no one ever asks you about your idea again, sharing it out loud can give you the push you need to get started. Many people these days utilize their social media following to help hold themselves accountable, but this is a slippery slope. You want to share your idea with someone who is supportive, open-minded, and can provide constructive criticism. The last thing you need is another person doubting you if you already doubt yourself, & the world of social media can be a really tough (if not flat out cruel) crowd.
Mind over matter: This is probably the hardest thing for me personally to achieve. In order to really succeed, you have to get out of your comfort zone, and in order to do this you have to be able to push aside all your self-doubt. The voice in your head can be really loud, and you need to have a strong mindset to give yourself the confidence to take action, and the ability to call yourself out in the moments when you’re sabotaging yourself.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “You always miss the shot you don’t take”, and it’s so true. You have to get out of your own way and allow yourself to take as many shots as you need to make that goal- whatever it may be- a reality. Sometimes you get lucky and it only takes one shot. Other times you have to go back to the drawing board over & over, creating a different game-plan. One thing is certain though, you’ve got to stop taking yourself out of the game before you even get started because of your own self-doubt.
I hope that this post helps motivate someone like me who has missed out on so many opportunities because of the annoying voice inside their heads throwing in all the reasons as to why we shouldn’t/can’t do something. I’m going to work really hard on talking myself out of less things and in to more! YOLO, right? :)