Self-sabotage is that thing where you know you're going the right way, you're doing everything. It's going great. You know, you're appearing to a certain way of eating, we'll call it for diet, for want of a better word, but then you self-sabotage and you eat a big chocolate cake. Or you're in a fantastic relationship with someone, a monogamous relationship with someone and then you go and you cheat with somebody else. Or you've gone 100 days without smoking a cigarette, didn't need it, no nicotine or tobacco in your system, and then you light up a cigarette.
We've all come to that kind of sabotage that happens in our life. We all do it from time to time. Sometimes we can be our own biggest enemy. We can also be our own biggest hero. This is what the podcast is about today. So here are 10 things that I have noticed in myself and other people working with people in change for 23-some-odd years now, ways that people oftentimes are self-sabotaging themselves but not realizing that they're doing it. So as soon as you become aware of these things, it's that awareness that then breeds into having the ability to actually stopping it and doing something more advantageous and positive in its place.
First thing that a lot of people do, number one is they put things off. They're always putting things off. Well, I'll wait till tomorrow to start that diet, to start that exercise regime, to start that investing, start that book, start writing that book, to start this, that, or the devil knows what, they keep putting things off, putting things off, putting things off, and they fall into that trap of tomorrows. It will always be tomorrow, always be tomorrow. But to quote Apollo Creed in "Rocky III," there is no tomorrow. Your tomorrow is not guaranteed. So do it. Do something now. If you set a goal, do not leave the place where you set the goal without taking some step in its direction to get your body moving, not just your head, not just your hand to paper and writing it down, but actually taking a step closer to making it happening.
So do something. Stop putting stuff off. You will run out of time. And the only reason that we put things off, the emotion underneath it is anxiety. It's fear. We're scared. We're scared of, "Well, if I do do it, maybe these things I've been telling myself that if I did do these things, I'll be great. I'll be happy. I'll be successful. Maybe I won't be able to do it or maybe I'll do it and I realize that I won't be fulfilled and it was all for nothing and the house of cards that I've been building for so many years will just be knocked over. Then where will I be? It's fear. It's always fear. It's fear and anxiety that stop you, that make you put things off. But guess what? Let's say you do it and you realize it's not fulfilling. Then you drop it and you do something else. What if you do it and you fail, then you get back up, you find another way. What if you fail? You get back up. You find another way. What if you fail again? You get back up and you find another way if you care enough about it. Start things now. Do something, something in this moment or when this podcast is done, do something starting now.
Another way I've identified that people self-sabotage themselves is they get up late or they show up late. An example of this is, you know, I remember many, many years ago, 25 years ago at least, I would have a new job that I would be starting and I would deliberately get up late and it was my first day of the job and I'd essentially get fired. And this wasn't just a one-time thing. This happened more than a couple of times for me to honestly notice it was a pattern in my life. I was getting up late to avoid something. Why I was trying to avoid it? Because I was lazy. And what's underneath being lazy? Some kind of fear, some kind of anxiety that I hadn't dealt with at that point. And perhaps it was about my body and unconscious mind were telling me you can't work for someone else, Luke, you don't play well with others telling you what to do. You need to craft and walk your own yellow brick road, your own path out there. But getting up late is a form of self-sabotage. So don't get up late. Get up early. Get up early. Get up at 6:30. Get up at 7:00, get up at 5:00. If you need to take a little additional nap in the day and your lifestyle affords that, then do it. But get up early.
Give yourself plenty of time. Set it up. Set it up that you're setting it up to win, you're setting the odds in your favor before you pull that trigger, you're loading that gun, you're loading that Magnum with six bullets, not just one. You're loading it up in your favor to shoot it at your goal, to get through to the other side. So get up early, get up early, stop getting up late.
Stop eating shit, not physically although I'm sure some people are into that, but they eat too much processed food, too much fast food. They eat out too much, too lazy to cook, eat too much sugar, eat shit. They're sabotaging themselves. They're sabotaging their body. They're sabotaging their health, but they're also sabotaging their mental clarity to think things because the food that we put into our system is essentially your fuel.
If you put shit into your car, your car is probably gonna go caput at some point because you're putting shit in it. So put good quality things into your car. You would put good quality things in your car. Put good quality things into your body. Now from time to time, if you want to splurge, you wanna have a treat, a free date in, then knock yourself out, but make that a special occasion. Look after your body. Stop sabotaging yourself by eating shit so you feel bad, you feel fat, you don't do that activity, you don't go on that date, you don't buy that outfit because you're scared, you're scared. It always comes back to fear, doesn't it? It always comes back to fear and anxiety.
Why do you self-sabotage? Because you're scared. You're scared that you're not enough. You're scared that it might not work. Or you're scared that even if I did it, what if I don't feel good and there's no fulfillment? Then you fulfill yourself another way. Because here's the thing about fulfillment.
You could have $1 million, $1 billion, $1 trillion, but not be fulfilled. You could become the president of the world and not be fulfilled. You could have a six pack and 4% body fat, be ripped and have muscles of twisted steel and sex appeal like me, joke, but still not be fulfilled. Fulfillment is that thing that you can give yourself right now. You can be fulfilled in the moment. Don't think the achievement of the goal that will automatically give you fulfillment. There's been an awful lot of times in my life and many clients that achieved something quite monumental in their life.
I'll use the metaphor of climbing up a mountain, all that hard work, all that training to climb up somewhere like Mt. Everest. You've made it a big mythical, it's been a myth inside your mind and you climb to the top of it. One of the few people that climbed to the top of Everest, all the way to the top, you get to the top and you're like, "Is this it? I thought the pearly gates of Heaven were gonna open for me if such a place exists, that the Cherubs were gonna come out with a rusty trombones and play a lovely Cherub music and I was going to have 15 beautiful virgins that were gonna be there waiting for me with blonde flowing hair, bucks, and bodies. This is it? I don't get any of that? I did all that work but I didn't get fulfilled.
Give yourself fulfillment now. You can be fulfilled now. That goal to achieve it may take some time, but don't automatically think you're going to be fulfilled. Give yourself fulfillment now, realize you're enough. You're fulfilled. Feel good. Find ways to make yourself feel good every day that don't revolve other people, drugs, extra curriculum activity that can become addictive like video games, like porn, like sex, like overtraining, like food. Find a way to sit still to look at something and just feel good. As I sit here looking at my winged eagle, WWE title, I just feel good. As I look here and I look at my green lantern that lights up. So I guess I am a big child. I'm a big kid. I feel good. As I look at the globe that I ordered from Instagram that changes color, changes to like eight different colors softly. I'm looking at it now and I feel good and I set this up because I know that I have the ability to make myself feel bad for no particular reason because I have greased the groove for so long for so many years like most of us have.
Though I need to work the scale on the opposite side and find ways for me to make myself feel good, whether it's seeing somebody like this WWE title, wherever it's about feeling something, whether it's about hearing something, whether it's about getting excited, following that emotion inside as I talk to you right now, find ways to make yourself feel good, to be fulfilled now and then go out to achieve your goal. Do it. Do it now. Stop eating shit.
Procrastination. Procrastination is like a credit card. It's great. You make all these purchases with it, you buy whatever you want. It's fantastic. All this free shit you've accumulated that you never really needed. It's fantastic until you realize you get your statement. Procrastination is great until you get your statement. All procrastination is. Again is anxiety, underneath it is fear. You're pointing something off that you know you need to do, but you're scared. You're anxious. You're not sure how it's gonna work out. There's a lack of certainty there. That's why you're not getting around to doing it. You're scared on some level.
Here's the thing, we're looking for that magical day where we're not scared of anything. It doesn't happen. There is no magical day, that magical day where we have no fear, we have no pain, we have no hurt, sadness, guilt. It doesn't happen. You can drastically reduce them. Down-regulate the unresourceful emotions and up-regulate emotions like happiness, excitement, self-esteem, fulfillment, passion, love, comfort, but that day when all the negative is gone totally and completely probably isn't gonna exist, but you can definitely dial it down and dial all that good stuff all the way up. So stop putting stuff off. Realizing you're putting it off not because you're lazy. Lazy is just a symptom. Procrastination is a symptom because you're scared of something. You're scared of change. You're scared of doing it. You're scared of failing. You're scared of you're not enough because what it all comes down to is we don't think we're enough.
If only I make that amount of money, hit that tax bracket, if only I get that kind of girl, that kind of guy, if only I buy that kind of car, if only I live in the penthouse, if only I become world-renowned, if only I get that WWE title, if only, if only, if only. Stop putting shit off. Start doing it. Realize everyone's scared from time to time. Find ways of dealing with your anxiety. I've made a ton of podcasts on here on how to deal with anxiety and there's about 800 videos that I've made on YouTube and many of them teach the techniques on how to deal with things like anxiety. Or find a trusted mentor that's helped many people to overcome it or certainly down-regulate those unresourceful emotions. That's all procrastination is. Dial it down, get it done.
For those keeping count, is not finishing things. Yeah, we talked about procrastination, which is one end of that sword of not actually starting things, putting it off, putting it off, putting it off. But the other thing is, is you do start at it, you've dealt with your anxiety feelings you're not being enough, those feelings, at least, of procrastination. You've started something but you don't finish it. You've started that book but then you start another book and another book and another book and you never finish any. It goes back to the old metaphor that I told you a couple of podcasts ago.
If you imagine all your projects that you do are like beakers, they're like glasses of water on a table and you only get paid for what's filled. If you've got 10 beakers on the table and you're filling them all up all at the same time, it's gonna take quite a while to fill them all up and you only get paid for what's done. But if you took one glass, one beaker a time and filled it up, then that just goes into the background. You can start to use that momentum to fill up the second beaker, the third beaker, the fourth beaker, the fifth beaker. So all those products that you've developed are making money, all those ideas are bringing new clients to you, all those people you've helped are bringing more referrals to you. All those people you've talked to perhaps[SP] a little bit closer to that one special person there.
But we are too busy trying to fill up every beaker at the same time doing multiple things at once and it gets us nowhere fast. So, finish things. Successful people, they start things and they finish things. Finish that book, finish that course, finish school, finish that poem you were writing. Finish that diet, finish that exercise program of 28 days, finish things, finish things, give yourself a little award after you finish. I know there's a lot of courses online that I do nowadays that every time I pass a module on the course, it says 10% complete, 20% complete. Some of them even give me stars. It's all superficial, but it goes back to that learning. Remember when we were kids at school, when we do exams, when we get stars and we feel that level of accomplishment. I always got five stars from Dave Mills who was my teacher at school when I was a young kid.
Do those little things. Do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel good in order to get those things done to finish them once and for all, feeling good, realizing you only get paid, you only get paid or have that fulfillment when it's done. So do it. Do it. Finish it. Be a finisher. Be a finisher. Being a combat sports fan, I should say, nothing's more boring now than watching professional boxers. I don't watch it so much anymore because many heavyweight boxers and heavyweight boxing was what I'd watch growing up. We'd have people that would finish stuff like Mike Tyson, whether you like the guy or not, he was fucking exciting to watch because he would finish most people, most of the time. He was looking to knock people out.
Big pay per view buys paid a shit load of money. Then I know about 10 years later or so, we had a guy called Lennox Lewis who came along there. He only got defeated I believe three times and avenged all of these three losses, an amazing technical boxer. Shared something in common with me. I believe he was born in London but grew up in Toronto or something along those lines. But we have some similarities there but fucking boring to watch. Charming, articulate guy. Yes. A very successful boxer, made a lot of money. Sure. I think he won the gold medal in the Olympics. I wanna say in Seoul in 1988. It may have been '84 but fucking boring to watch, boring to watch, boring to watch because he didn't finish things. He would do the bare amount and a minimum to win on the scorecards most of the time, but very boring to watch.
So be a finisher, finish things, big exciting and then be excited and then get on to that next level, finish things in your life. Otherwise, it's energy that's being sipped out of you. It's almost like being a car that has a big cut, dent in it and all the oil or the gas is leaking oil all over the road every time you drive. It's like if you don't finish things, it's always there in the back of your mind. You didn't finish it. You're losing energy. You're losing focus. It's sipping out the energy. Finish things, close it down, lock it down and get onto the next thing in your life.
I find in many, many people is saying you don't want something when you're really just scared. Saying, "Oh, you know what? Yeah, that girl over there. Yeah, I don't really want her. Yeah, she's amazing. She's a 10 out of 10 physically, mentally, emotionally, from what I can see and what I thought at least so far right now. But yeah, yeah, no, no. I don't really wanna go talk to her." No, you wanna talk to her, you're just fucking scared, so admit it. And, "Yeah. You know what? I know that book's going to tell me how I can overcome my depression or my anxiety or my anger issues because so many people say good stuff about it. But yeah, I'm all right with it. I don't really wanna read it." Just admit that you're scared. "Yeah. You know what? I should probably exercise, but I don't really wanna do that kind of exercise and I don't have the time."
Don't say you don't want it. Just be honest and say you're scared. It's okay to be scared. Everybody is scared. To quote Roddy Piper, "I'm scared of everything, which makes me scared of nothing." Realize you're scared. It's a human emotion. It's okay. And then move on to the next level in your life. But don't delude yourself with self-sabotage saying you don't want things, when deep down when no one else is around you know you want it even though you've pushed it down inside, but you prevent yourself from getting it because you're scared. You're scared of rejection, you're scared of failure. You're scared you'll be coming across as a phony, or a fraud because you don't think you're enough. You're enough. We're all enough. Can we become more? Totally. But are you enough right now? Yeah. Yeah, you are. So be honest with yourself.
I've so much more respect for people that say, "Listen, I'm just scared. I do really want that, but I'm scared. I'm fucking terrified and I'm still gonna go and talk to that girl over there." "I'm fucking terrified and scared. But yeah, I am gonna enroll in that mixed martial arts fight that I've been training for." "Yeah, I'm fucking, fucking scared leaving my job. But you know what? I realize I wanna start up my own business." It's okay to be scared. It's when you stay stuck and you become the bitch of being scared and that you lie to yourself so you don't really want something, that's when it becomes a problem. That's when it becomes delusional and that's when it hurts your self-esteem. Stop sabotaging yourself, admit you're scared and get a way through to the next level.
I've noticed that people self-sabotage their self, saying you don't have enough time. Oh, I'd like to train but I don't have enough time, I'd like to take that dance class but don't have enough time. Yeah, I'd like to learn about investing but I don't have enough time. I'd like to write that book but I don't have enough time. I'd like to go back to college but I don't have enough time. I would like to learn to roller skate, but I don't have enough time. Guess what, motherfucker? We all have the same amount of time. Everyone has 24 hours a day whether you're the president of the world, whether you're the dustbin, garbage man, whether you're the person that works in the McDonald's, whether you're the CEO of a big Fortune 500 company, whether you're me, you have the same amount of time, 24 hours a day.
As far as I know, no one's developed a way to create actual more time. Now, there are many, many people that use their time a lot better, a lot more resourceful to get more things done, to be in the moment, to be more successful. People use time a lot better, but stop saying you don't have time, you have time. You just haven't made something a priority. If something is not a priority, you can be given all the time in the world for infinity and beyond and it won't make a lick of difference because you didn't make it a priority.
You have time. I have time. Everyone has the same amount of time. You can no longer use that as an excuse anymore. Instead of saying, I don't have time. Simply say it's just not a priority for me. At least be honest with yourself because, you see, every time you lie to yourself, you think you might be pulling one over, but your unconscious mind hears you and it hits that self-esteem. And self-esteem is that reputation you have of yourself. And if you have a shit reputation with yourself, then forget about it. You're on that fucking slippery slope in life and you become the world's bitch essentially. So stop taking hits to your self-esteem. Be honest where you are. And don't say you don't have time. Just say you're not making a priority. You still don't have to do that thing, but at least be honest with yourself because you might be out to lie to the rest of the world, but you can't lie to your unconscious mind.
The eighth way I noticed that people self-sabotage themselves or actually a way around that, a way around self-sabotaging yourself is most people don't show up. And what I mean by that is they don't... They wanna do the exercise class. They never show up to the exercise class. They wanna do that marathon. They don't even show up to the marathon. They stay at home. They wanna meet people, but they never leave the house.
They wanna register their business, but they never even submit the paperwork to get their business up and running. They never show up. So show up to your life. Example of this is, let's say you hate the gym. You've got a real phobia for the gym, but you wanna get in shape. And you've chosen the gym to do that, but you got all these excuses. I've gotta pack, I've gotta get changed and it's rush hour and I can't get the machine that I want and yadda, yadda, yadda. Just tell yourself, I'm going to go to the gym and I'm going to be there for five minutes. Whether I walk on a treadmill for five minutes, do five minutes of bicep curls, five minutes of stretching, whatever. I'm gonna go to the gym and I'm going to do five minutes. Or I'm gonna do my yoga video and I'm gonna do five minutes or I'm gonna do my calisthenics, I'm gonna do five minutes of exercise. And after five minutes, if I still wanna quit, I can quit. I can go home.
All I have to do is five minutes. If I do five minutes, I win. Anything else is a bonus. When we take the expectation of yourself, the craziest things happen in the world. Is that 5 minutes turns into 10 minutes. Well, I may as well do a bit more. I don't wanna travel all this way and park my car if I'm gonna go do five minutes. That 10 minutes becomes 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, whatever it needs to be for you and it starts to fly by like that. So show up to the expectation of yourself and just show up. Realize you have no chance in hell in winning at home. Even if you're a genius and you're an Olympic friggin athlete, you've gotta show up. Just show up, show up to the gym, show up to your life, show up to the world, leave your house, show up to the networking meeting, show up to your life. Show the fuck up.
Another way, goes into show up really, is people just don't take that first step. Take the first step. I'm gonna add take the first step in showing up. It's all the same kind of thing. Take that first step, show up. Number nine, another one that I noticed that people they self-sabotage is they catastrophize their life. What they do is the opposite of a successful athlete. They'll go out then, and I'm not saying that people do this consciously sitting around on a table plotting to do this. It's not what I'm saying. I'm saying unconsciously they're doing it inside their mind. They catastrophize. They go out to an event that hasn't happened. Imagine it ended. Imagine it going shitty, horribly, going really, really wrong, fill their body, all those brain chemicals and neurotransmitters of adrenalin, flight, fly or freeze and caught his own muscle wasting and stress and bringing that all the way back to now, essentially adjusting that inner GPS, if you will, to point in that direction because whatever you vividly imagine enough in your mind with enough volition, certainly when you have that chemical blueprint, you're more likely of making that happen. If you wanna know how the secret works, there you go. There's my definition of the secret right there, is they catastrophize. They imagine things going wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.
Well, here's the thing. Let's say you set a goal, this holy grail, this thing you wanna achieve, it might not go your way. Absolutely. It may not go your way. So you could catastrophize it or you could imagine it going your way and see it going your way. Both are absolutely bullshit and are both absolute bullshit. I'll tell you why, because it's not happened yet. So whatever you think about however it's gonna go is bullshit and my definition of bullshit is you don't know and you're just imagining something inside your head. So you can imagine catastrophizing it going wrong.
And I know you say, "Well, I don't do that deliberately, Luke." Every time that you're doing it, take responsibility. You're not doing it consciously but as soon as you catch yourself being consciously aware that you're feeling a bad thing, just realize you're just doing some bad quality thinking. So when you realize you're doing the best of bad quality thinking, you just change your thoughts. You change your locus or focus and you focus on what you want. It always goes back to what you want. So use the same mechanism you're using to catastrophize, but instead of going down the wrong road, the left road, use the same ability of going out to an event that hasn't happened yet, but instead actually imagine it going right. Fill your body with those good neurotransmitters of dopamine, of serotonin, of oxytocin. Feel good about it. See it happening in technicolor. Think it happening, those sounds, and then that will adjust your inner compass to make that a self-fulfilling prophecy, to make that more inclined to happen. Yes, you are most likely gonna need to take action as well. But instead of catastrophize, de-catastrophize and visualize what you want.
People get in their own way, is they compare themselves to others. Oh, if only I looked like this one or that one who is on Instagram or the flavor of the month. If only I made this amount of money as this person who is in "Time" magazine. If only I had the spiritual enlightenment of...insert the spiritual guru here. Now I'm not saying it's not a good idea to have mentors, really good idea to have mentors. Mentors are people that pretty much achieve what you want to achieve. They've achieved it. They've got it. They're not phony. They can prove that they've done it and actually having conversations with them, learning from them. That's a good idea. That's a good thing to do. Find a mentor. If there's something that you want in life but you don't quite know how to get it, find someone who already has it and buy them a drink, buy them a meal, buy them lunch, whatever, sit down and find out how they did it. Ask them questions. Most people are happy to tell you and most people don't quite know how they've done it until you sit down and you can start to tease that strategy from them to find out how they did it.
But as soon as you conpare yourself to other people, there's always gonna be someone better than you. There's always gonna be someone stronger than you. Someone fitter than you, someone leaner than you, someone smarter than you, someone more muscular than you, someone who's more spiritually enlightened than you, someone who's more athletically gifted than you, someone with a bigger house, someone with a bigger car, someone who's prettier, someone with a bigger ass, bigger tits, bigger lips, bigger biceps, smaller waist. There's always going to be somebody better, so don't fall into the fucking trap.
Compare yourself to yourself. How did you look, feel, act a year ago, two years ago, five years ago? What were your living situations then? What kind of relationships did you have then? What kind of emotions were you feeling day-to-day? What did your body look like? What were your yearly earnings then? How'd you feel about yourself? How's your self-esteem? And take an inventory every year. Hell, maybe it's January 1st, it could be any day that you want and compare yourself to where you were a year ago, 2 years ago, 5 years ago, 10 years ago, hell, a day ago. But sometimes, you don't see much change in a day. You need that bell-shaped curve to see over time, to chart that path from the spreadsheet. That's why I suggest a year, but it could be something like three months, whatever. But compare yourself to where you were. If it's about looking better, about feeling better, being a certain way, looking a certain way, then what were your measurements a year ago? What was your waist, your biceps, your fine measurements, your hip measurement? If it's finances, how much money did you make last year?
If it's about helping people, how much money did you give to charity or how many hours did you dedicate last year? Compare yourself to yourself, only to yourself. You're only competing with yourself. No one else gives a fuck about you. No one else is keeping score, but you. The only person it's fair to compare yourself to is yourself and you can always do better than yourself. You can always do better. Are you enough now? Sure. Can you be better and do more? Abso-fucking-lutely. Don't fall into that trap of, "Oh, my God, I feel like a piece of shit because everyone on my Facebook or Instagram page looks so gorgeous, so amazing, has a perfect body, perfect finances, perfect relationship." It's all a fucking illusion designed to make you feel like shit, to spend more money, to consume more food, to take more drugs, to keep you asleep, to keep you more in the Matrix. So stop it. Don't be a fucking sheep. Be more than that. Compare yourself only to yourself. Do more. Be More. Achieve more, but realize you are enough right now.
And honestly, evaluate yourself. Honestly, evaluate yourself. Don't just say, "Oh, yeah, everything's great," and it isn't. Or equally say everything's shit and it isn't. Honestly, evaluate your life, your finances, your career, your purpose in life, your relationships with yourself, other people, friends, family, significant others, your health, your cardiovascular system, your heart rate, how much you can bench press, squat, how long you can walk for, what's your cardiovascular level. Whatever it is, there's many ways, many modalities to measure this. I'm just giving you a few off the top of my head. Find your own ways because your goals, your purposes, your reasons for being on this earth are different from mine. So find your own modalities, ways of measuring it, but compare yourself only to yourself.
So quick recap today. Stop self-sabotage. Number one, stop putting things off. Do it now. Number two, stop getting up late. Get up early. Number three, stop eating shit. Eat more positive things. Procrastination. Number four, stop putting things off. Do it now. Number five, finish things. Number six, saying you don't want something when you're just scared. Number seven, saying you don't have time. Everyone has time. Number eight showing up. Number nine, stop, catastrophizing. And number 10, stop comparing yourself to others because you'll never be enough. If you compare yourself to yourself, you'll realize you are always enough. Always.
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Luke Michael Howard Ph.D