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Why Do I Get In My Own Way?

Year after year it happens. I set goals, plan my course of action, and swear that I mean it this year. “This year will be my year.” Then it happens, time passes and suddenly I’m wondering where I went wrong and where has the year gone? Have you been in this situation?

Why do we even bother trying when this fate awaits us? What is it going to take for us to *finally* show up and follow through with what we say we want? I set out to figure out why we self-sabotage. If we know the why, then maybe we can figure out how to avoid the same fate we experience year after year.

Today I’m sharing what I found out, and then I’ll give you some tips to implement yourself to make this year different. 

I thought I wanted it bad enough, didn’t I?

The two biggest areas I have noticed this problem in my life is my health and my career. I have been trying to get to a healthy weight since I was in high school. Despite attempt after attempt, each year I saw myself getting bigger and bigger, reaching numbers I swore I would never get to. I thought that I had this pattern broken by now. Yet again I find myself filling my mouth with junk food and justifying why I haven’t worked out.

During my senior year of college, I was excited to start my career and full of curiosity of what it would look like. I applied to everything I thought would be interesting. Due to certain circumstances, and limited opportunity in my hometown, I had to settle for a retail job after college. Once I moved in late 2019, after three years working my retail job,  I thought for sure this was my time. I would finally find something I was passionate about working in. This time I talked myself out of applying for the jobs that interested me. “There is no way I’d be good at that.” “I don’t have a chance at getting that job.” “I’m so out of touch in my industry, I’ll never get the experience needed to apply to the good jobs.” These are just some of the phrases I would tell myself.

If I wanted these goals accomplished so badly then why have I been getting in my own way and stopping any progress I try to make? Why do I count myself out before I’ve even gotten a taste of what success feels like? I wanted answers to these questions, and I’m sure you do as well for your own goals, so I did some research.

Why We Get In Our Own Way

Perhaps the best way to describe this predicament we find ourselves in is written by Deep Patel in this Entrepreneur article.

Self-sabotage occurs when your logical, conscious mind (the side of you that says you need to eat healthily and save money) is at odds with your subconscious mind (the side of you that stress-eats chocolate and goes on online shopping binges).”

This explains it all, doesn’t it? We know that to be healthy we should eat our vegetables and workout at least 3-5 times a week. Instead, we grab the potato chips and binge Netflix. We know that if we want to get up earlier to work on our side hustle, we should go to sleep early. Instead, we stay up scrolling Facebook and watching YouTube videos.

If we know better, why don’t we do better? Psychology Today has a great article that describes some of the reasoning behind why we partake in this behavior. Some of the reasonings are fear of success/failure and negative self-esteem to name a few.

Tips To Stop Being Our Own Road Blocks 

We can turn these negative habits behind us. It will take some work, but it is possible. Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Become Self-Aware: If we don’t want to bring this behavior into 2020, we’ve got to make some changes. It starts by being aware of the behaviors we participate in. Do you notice that you put yourself down a lot? Do you head to the cookie jar or bar when you are stressed or feeling down to cope? These are all destructive behaviors that leave us stuck wondering what we have done wrong. Here are some more examples of common self-sabotaging habits. Once you are aware that these are common habits, you can work to change them.
  2. Focus On The Positive: While it’s important to figure out the bad behaviors, it’s equally important to give yourself grace by not dwelling on your mistakes. Instead, focus on what good you are doing. Are you not eating past 7 pm? Are you taking on extra projects to make a good impression on your boss? Are you turning off the TV and focusing on building your business during your free time? Find out the tasks you are doing right and celebrate that.
  3. Find Accountability: If being aware of your bad habits isn’t enough to make a change, maybe it’s time for some accountability? Find someone in your life that you can share your goals and the setbacks you are experiencing. Tell them about your bad habits. That way they can also keep an eye out and give you some tough love when you need it.

Take this knowledge with you throughout the year. When you see yourself getting comfortable and slipping away from your ambitions, put these tips into practice. Make this your year, you deserve it.

What are some of your goals for 2020? Let me know in the comments below.

About the Author

Kelly Clark

Kelly graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations and a minor in Journalism. Even though it took her a little while to find her career path, she was always meant to be in Communications. She remembers writing poems and songs when she was a little girl and pitching to my parents the reasons why I should have a cell phone when I was a teenager. She currently has a blog ( where she talks about her weight-loss journey, mental health and personal development. Her hope is to encourage and inspire readers and let them know they are not alone. Reading blog posts like that are what helped her in tough times and she wants to pay it forward. She loves dance fitness, listening to music, and creating layouts in her bullet journal. She's a big fan of planning, especially when cute notebooks and pens are involved. Her dream job has changed so much over the years; right now she'd love to co-own a dance studio.