How To Stop Fighting Yourself

April 25, 2011 by  
Filed under personal development

Today I overheard something interesting.

One of my coworkers came to my area to buy a honey bun from the little store that my employee association runs. The store was out of honeybuns and someone suggested he come back in an hour or so. “That’s ok,” he said. “I’m trying to lose weight. It’s just going to make me fatter.”


I was confused… because I’m sure he was aware of that when he walked over here.

But I can’t even say anything because I’ve been there myself. How many times have we set goals but then sabotaged ourselves? Or acted in ways that were directly opposite to what we said we wanted?

When it comes to taking action, your own mind can seem like an unruly stranger. You find yourself acting in ways that don’t make sense, and sometimes it can feel like you can’t control yourself.

Part of the blame belongs to our culture and the way we’ve been conditioned to pursue instant gratification. Part of the blame also belongs to our inability to control our emotions and recognize when it’s better to get what we need instead of what we want. Ultimately, it’s up to each of us to learn how our mind weakens when faced with temptation and how to outsmart ourselves during those crucial moments.

Put Down Your Dukes

Knowing really is half the battle (sorry, couldn’t help myself with that one). If you know your weakness is honey buns, mentally prepare yourself to react to the temptation of honey buns. Don’t walk into situations blind and rely on your mind to get you out of them. Your emotions will overrule you every time, unless you’re prepared to tell yourself ‘no’ and know how to talk yourself down from the ledge.

Along with mental preparation, also protect yourself and your progress by restricting access to the source of your struggle. Instead of trusting yourself not to watch tv when you should be doing homework or building your business, don’t study or work where you have access to a tv. Nene Leakes and ‘nem can wait until you’ve crossed the finish line of your goal.

Another powerful strategy is to work when you’re naturally motivated. We all get into funks when we don’t want to work on things. We also have times where we ‘don’t feel like’ doing the things on our to-do lists. It’s ok to take breaks and recognize when you’re being lazy, or when you actually need to take a breather. But it’s not ok for ‘I don’t feel like it’ to be the status quo.

When things get like that, ask yourself what’s going on and why you’re reacting to your goals in this way. Do you still want to pursue the goals, has your focus changed, or do you have different priorities than when you started? Instead of fighting yourself mentally to get things done, dig down deep to the root of the situation.

Be A Lover, Not A Fighter

I’ve noticed that I fuss at myself when I’m trying to make myself do something. That’s not the best way to react to that type of situation, and I’m working to break that habit. Positive self-talk is so important to not only reaching your goals, but your personal development. And honestly, it doesn’t do any good. How much did our parents fussing at us motivate us to action when we were younger?

Have you checked if you’re stressed out and need some TLC? Reprimanding and being hard on yourself just magnifies the anxiety that you’re under. Ultimately you have the opposite effect of what you’ve intended.

Take some time and love yourself, every singe day. You are more important than any goal, and there’s no point in dreaming if you can’t enjoy reaching that dream. Fighting against yourself is not fun, and hopefully this post helps you recognize what to do instead of sabotaging yourself or being hard on yourself.

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6 Responses to “How To Stop Fighting Yourself”
  1. Galen Pearl says:

    This was a great post for me and for 2 of my 3 daughters.

    For me, I love that Pogo cartoon, and I have quoted it before. Oh that unruly mind! I have compared my mind to kittens on catnip. This year I am doing Shambhala meditation training in a series of workshops and classes. I am hoping that with some structure and intentional practice, I can train my mind like I would train a puppy. Hmm, mixing my metaphors. I guess I’m saying that I hope my mind is more like a trainable puppy than a bunch of wild kittens!

    I have a foster daughter who does just what you describe. She heads in the right direction and then sabotages her success. It is so frustrating to watch her do this over and over. It is hard for me to set my boundaries and let go of trying to control her behavior. Instead of asking when SHE will learn, I should be asking when I will learn!

    And another daughter is struggling to get her spending under control. We were just talking this morning about what the temptations are and how to avoid them–just like you said! She started by leaving her debit card at home today. Good first step!

    Whew–long comment. Clearly, your post gave me a lot to think about. Thanks!
    Galen Pearl recently posted: Be an Eagle!

    • Anilia says:

      you’re welcome Galen! And thank you for always leaving such great comments.

      I find that when someone finally ‘gets tired’, then things will fall into place. I’ve heard it said that the pain of repeating an action has to be greater than the pain it takes to change. Also, it could be that your daughter doesn’t see the situation objectively – she might not recognize what triggers her self-sabotage so she can stop it from happening.

      We’ve all been there though.

  2. Amber J. says:

    I need to book mark this post for those times when I need to remember to get the heck out of my own way! Great writing here, and I love what you are doing here.

    Amber J.

  3. Penelope J. says:

    Just yesterday afternoon, I was talking to my son about how we both self-sabotage our prospects and dreams, and that we have to put a stop to this self-defeating attitude. He’s broke and I’m broke and though some of it’s due to the economic crisis, with our credentials, there’s absolutely no reason to stay this way. I know that however hard it is at my age to make yet another comeback, I’m going to have to do it. And I have the tools in front of me, yet this morning, when faced with using them, I backed off. Why?
    Penelope J. recently posted: How Can I Handle Today When Yesterday Got Away from Me

  4. Love your post! I always stop by to read them. So helpful. Keep it up.

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