We say we want to lose weight, yet the scale isn’t budging.
We want to spend more time with our friends, however, there’s never enough time.
We told ourselves that we’d feed our creativity and finally start those creative writing/tennis/salsa/piano lessons but haven’t pulled the trigger.
It’s a simple concept that clears up confusion on why we don’t end doing what we say we’re committed to doing. It seems pretty obvious, but we rarely work it all the way through. Knowing what’s going on in the background can help us understand why we behave in ways that undermine our own success.
Is it laziness? Procrastination? Lack of willpower?
No, not usually. Here’s why: everything we do – every thought, word, and action that arises from us – serves us in some way. There is nothing we do that doesn’t align to some commitment we’re holding.
“What?? How does overeating serve me?”
Some commitments we hold aren’t always beneficial even though they serve us. Commitments like playing safe by not speaking up or complaining to justify one’s circumstances are the types of commitments that compete with desired commitments such as being powerful or accountable.
This is where awareness makes a big difference. The trick is to get crystal clear on how a competing commitment is getting in our way of success and then deciding if it’s worth holding onto.
Ask These 5 Questions when you find yourself doing exactly the opposite of what you’d like to be doing.
IDENTIFY THE COMPLAINT/PROBLEM: What would need to be different in order for you to be more satisfied? I feel heavier than I’d like. I wish I could drop some weight.
IDENTIFY THE DESIRE: What does your complaint imply that you’re really committed to? Health, vitality, and youthfulness
IDENTIFY SABOTAGING DECISIONS: What are you doing, or not doing, that’s preventing you from fully aligning with this commitment? Eating sweets late at night, snacking between meals, oversized portions
IDENTIFY THE CONSEQUENCES: If you imagine doing the opposite of these sabotaging behaviors, what fears, concerns, or dread arise? Restriction. I dread the misery that comes from avoiding food I love.
PINPOINT THE CONFLICTING COMMITMENT: Using my sabotaging behaviors, what worrisome outcome am I committed to preventing? I’m committed to preventing misery in my daily life. I’m more committed to the pleasure food affords me than to the idea of having optimal health, vitality, and youthfulness.
Here’s when we examine the underlying, usually subconscious, belief that keeps this conflicting commitment going strong. In this case, there is an underlying belief that health, vitality and youthfulness equate to misery, and so preventing misery wins. The belief is simply, “It’s just not worth it.”
This examination can do wonders.
Many people struggle with self-sabotage because they believe they just don’t have the necessary discipline or determination in order to succeed. The good news is that we have everything we need to thrive. We just have to acknowledge and release the commitments that contradict what we really want.
Bottom line: If you’re stuck wondering why you keep doing the opposite of what you intend, check this 5 step process out. See if there is some undiscovered conflicting commitment getting in your way. Simply acknowledging what you’ve unknowingly been holding onto is sometimes all that’s needed to pave the way to true change.
Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in the Sacramento, CA area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.