How To Get Out Of Your Own Way

Well hello there, self-saboteur! Isn’t that a nice, fancy way of saying that you sometimes are your own biggest obstacle? We all are at times, and we all need to stop it. Let’s talk about how to do so.

First, let’s think of some examples of how we get in our own way. Your relationship is going well, which makes you feel a little uncomfortable, so you pick a fight about a small thing to gain some temporary distance. You are trying to get in the habit of exercising, but you wait until you’re exhausted every evening instead of completing it first thing when you get home. You want to eat more vegetables, but they tend to rot in the refrigerator without a plan for when to eat them. You want to save more money but don’t pay yourself first, even just $5 or $10. You want to be happy but allow your brain to overthink everything. You want to start a business but just daydream about it instead of sitting down and developing a do-able business plan.

I could go on and on. Some of these are examples from my own life (ouch!) and some are things I have observed in others. So what can we do about this?

1. Spend some time in self-examination.

Think about times in the past where you’ve gotten in your own way. Maybe you were too afraid to try. Is this still true? Look at what your goals are for the next year. Have you attempted to start working on them? Have you set any goals at all? Consider what is getting in your way and how these obstacles might be connected to you. Are any of the obstacles in your life changeable? Think about what your deepest wishes and life goals are. Have you started working toward these things?

2. Ask a trusted friend or family member if they see you doing this.

My friends don’t always come right out and confront me about my flaws (this is why we’re friends!), but if I ask them directly, they give honest answers. Listen to what they have to say and don’t argue. Reflect on their feedback. Take what is useable and apply it to your life.

3. Make a list of behaviors you want to change and small steps you can take to change them.

If you want to start exercising, start with 20 minutes twice a week and put it on your schedule. If you want to apply to other jobs, start talking to your references and get your resume or CV up to date.

4. Change the way you think about things.

If the way you talk to yourself is terrible, rephrase it to something kinder and more constructive. Be careful of using all or nothing thinking. Don’t quit before you even start. Try even if you think you might fail. I have personally failed and/or been rejected tons of times, and I’ve survived 100% of these occurrences!

5. Check in with yourself weekly.

Celebrate the small steps you’ve taken every week and look forward to what you need to work on. If you find it motivating, track your progress on charts or in a visual way.

With awareness and starting to make small changes, you can stop getting in your own way. Good luck!

Psychologist by day, writer by night.

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