Personal Training: 8 Steps to Break the Cycle of Self-Sabotage

I would love to say that every client we work with reaches their health and fitness goals and leaves our studio happier and healthier than they could have ever imagined. After all, that’s what we – as the trainers and instructors – want for them, and what we work tirelessly, both in sessions and outside of sessions, to help them achieve. We have developed a unique and foolproof plan to help anyone reach their goals, and we have proven results from lots of clients who have, indeed, reached and even exceeded their goals with us. But the truth is, many clients that we work with quit before they reach their health and fitness goals. Why? Not because they are incapable – because they are all capable. But because they sabotage themselves, in one way or another, and prevent themselves from getting to where they want to be, and from allowing us to help. Some clients even begin the self-sabotage pattern before they begin training. Here we’ll discuss how to know if you’re self-sabotaging, why self-sabotaging happens, and how you can break the cycle in order to make real progress with your goals, whatever they may be.

Most people have sabotaged themselves at some point in their life, whether it was procrastinating on that report in school, missing an important event at work, or eating Ben and Jerry’s after a commitment to go sugar free. We sabotage ourselves when things are hard, or uncomfortable, and even sometimes when things are good. It doesn’t seem to make sense, and we often aren’t even aware that that’s what we’re doing.

It doesn’t make you a failure if you do this, it makes you human. The key is, though, to bring awareness to these patterns and to work toward change.

How to Know if You’re Self-Sabotaging

Personal Training is, well, personal. We get to know our clients really well, and because we’re more objective, we’re often able to see things – patterns – that the client may not see themselves. Here are some ways that we suspect that we’re dealing with self-sabotage:

  • A client with significant health issues signs up for a definitive number of sessions and immediately talks about quitting once those sessions are over.
  • A client who pronounces within 5 minutes of meeting is that they have a pattern of self-sabotage, yet often have not taken any steps to overcome this.
  • A client that misses sessions with various excuses
  • A client that refuses to try parts of our plan; or a client who agrees to our plan but consistently makes same mistakes without concrete attempt to overcome
  • A client that says something to the effect of “I really want to _______, but I will not do ______”. For example “I want to lose weight but I refuse to give up bread” or “I want to lower my blood pressure but I don’t have time to take deep breaths every day”.
  • A client who makes progress, but then quits before reaching his/her goals.

Do any of these things sound familiar? Do you see yourself doing or thinking this way? Self-sabotaging comes from negative self statements and fear. The negative self statements are often things that we tell ourselves subconsciously, that sabotage our efforts. For example “I’m too fat to do that”, “I won’t succeed”, “I’m not worth it”. These statements translate into fear of doing things that are hard. Fear of overcoming all the things that hold us back. Fear of allowing ourselves to do good things for ourselves because it might not last. These statements and feelings can translate into “I’ll never get to my goal so I might as well enjoy this pizza and ice cream” or “I can’t afford personal training anymore” or ” This plan isn’t for me”.

How to Break the Cycle

So if you see this pattern in yourself, or suspect that you may have a tendency to self-sabotage, you’re probably now wondering what you can do about it. We’ll, actually wanting to do something about it is the first step! Here are 8 Steps to Break the Cycle of Self-Sabotage, to move forward with your goals, and to be your best self:

  1. Acknowledge what you’re doing
  2. Dig deep and find that inner voice of negativity. What is it saying? Is there a theme?
  3. Become aware of the feelings and thoughts that arise when you become uncomfortable. The diet gets too hard, the workouts are challenging, your trainer asks questions that make you reflect on negativity from your past: what do you see yourself doing and hear yourself saying in these moments?
  4. Now that you have brought awareness to the negative voices and your behavior patterns, you must work to actively and consciously change these things.
  5. Set small goals – setting goals too big or unrealistic can lead to failure and further negativity toward yourself.
  6. Practice non-judgment and non-harming toward yourself. When you hear the negative voices creeping in, acknowledge them, without judgment, and consciously change them to positive or kind voices. By consciously changing the internal chatter, the subconscious will soon follow.
  7. Enjoy and celebrate in your accomplishments, no matter how small.
  8. Don’t give up. When you feel like giving up, go back to Step 1.

If you find that self-sabotage is something you struggle with, or if you struggle to reach health and fitness goals but aren’t sure why, come see us, we can help! Contact us to schedule your free private consult in-studio or virtually!

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