3 Healthy Ways To Defeat Self-Defeating Behavior
Think over your entire life and try to point out every difficult situation you’ve ever been in. After going over memories you hoped to repress, how many of them were self-inflicted? How many situations were unavoidable and weren’t caused by your own doing? If you look through every difficult situation you’ve ever been in, chances are half of them are caused by you just making the wrong decisions. It’s especially easy to get stuck in a cycle of self-defeating behavior if you can’t even acknowledge that you’re the one causing this behavior in the first place. You might go on blaming other people for your decisions, fear seeking help when you’ve gotten yourself stuck in a hole, or feel like you’re doing nothing wrong. In order to defeat self-defeating behavior, you need to first identify that you’re stuck in its vicious cycle. This might not be what you want to hear, but one of the best ways to identify if you’re stuck in a cycle of self-sabotage is to have an outside opinion. This could come in the form of family, friends, or even a professional therapist. After identifying that you’re stuck in a loop of self-defeat, then it’s time to find healthy ways to defeat it.
Continue Seeking Outside Support
Sometimes one of the best ways of identifying self-defeating behavior is one of the healthiest ways to maintain positive behavior. Professional therapy isn’t only for identifying any problems you may have breaking the cycle, but it could keep you from falling back into bad behavior. Having family, friends, or a professional continually pulling you forward until you can start moving forward on your own. You might think there is shame in seeking support, but that’s why they’re called a support system. It’s hard not to want to do everything on your own. People who suffer from self-defeating behavior often feel like they’re a burden to everyone in their life. For some reason we’ve been mostly conditioned to believe that we should handle all our own problems. However, there are times where we need help. We aren’t pre-loaded with all the answers and one of the only healthy ways to keep from falling back into the cycle is holding yourself against your support system until you can stand on your own.
Keep An Eye On Your Goals
Having a support system isn’t the only healthy habit you should maintain once you’ve identified self-defeating behavior. Having a goal to move towards is a great way to keep you from falling back into a cycle of self-defeating behavior. Imagine running in a circle getting absolutely nowhere without a goal in mind to pull you back into a positive direction. Sometimes the best way to stick to a goal is putting this kind of imagery in your head. Take a few minutes everyday to do a number of different exercises that can help you visualize your goals. The first, and most obvious way to visualize goals is to take time off the screens for a moment and just daydream. Daydream of the person you could become outside of the seemingly endless cycle of self-defeating behavior and think of the steps you need to take to get there. Another way to visualize your goals are to write it down or draw it on paper or writing it down on a digital platform. If you’re feeling especially risky then write it down publicly on your social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to have others help you track your progress for accountability. Print out a picture of yourself from a time you weren’t in a cycle of self-defeating behavior and put it somewhere you can look at it a lot. Download an app for making motivational quotes and put it over current pictures of yourself to train your brain to become the person who could live those quotes. Another option would be to put a pin up board in front of your desk or some place where you spend the most time. Posting pictures of your progress and having some kind of picture as the end goal will help you visualize your journey. If you ever feel like you’re about to fall back into a pattern of self-defeating behavior then keep looking back at the older pictures of yourself and ask if that’s the person you want to go back to being. Keeping an eye on your goals is one of the healthiest ways to defeat self-defeating behavior.
Identify And Destroy The Triggers
Even with a support system and goals in mind, there’s still the triggers that keep us in place in the endless loop. Until we can identify what our triggers actually are, we may never know how to destroy them. This goes back to having a good support system to help you identify the triggers that keep you in the cycle. Family, friends, and especially a professional therapist can give you an objective view of the outside of your circle of self-defeat. One of the biggest examples of a trigger that pulls you back into a cycle of self-defeating behavior is money. Whether it’s being impulsive with money and making bad financial decisions to regretting past financial decisions, you’ll often find yourself stuck in an endless cycle of being a person who makes good financial decisions. Triggers don’t necessarily have to be material either. You could have a relationship trigger that could keep you in a vicious cycle of seeking certain traits in people that could do nothing positive for you. Once you’ve taken the steps to eradicate the triggers then there’s nothing left to hold you back from the person you could become.
Visualize self-defeating behavior as a high school track, one you’ll never escape if you don’t have someone pointing you in the right direction, imagining how to do it yourself by tracking your journey, and knowing what’s holding you back. Hopefully you’ll find yourself following these three healthy ways to defeat self-defeating behavior.