Have you ever made a commitment to work out every day, but after missing a day or two, scrapped the whole plan? Or decided you might as well have that ice cream sundae for dessert since you already “cheated” on your diet earlier in the day? Or promised to change your work habits, implement a new program, or spend more time on marketing your business…but you just never seem to find the time to get around to it?

Yeah. Me too.

Turns out, this phenomenon—where we suffer a setback, beat ourselves up, and seek comfort in activities often in direct opposition to what we’re trying to accomplish — actually has a name. Yup! Scientists call it the what-the-hell effect. I call it self-sabotage.

You see, our bad habits are comfortable to us. However, we know that they’re not productive or healthy, so we set goals and resolutions to change them. Great! But when we slip up even a little, it’s all too easy for us to let it turn into a major relapse. Here’s an example…

Researchers gathered two groups of people: dieters and non-dieters. Each group was fed slices of pizza, and then offered cookies. The dieters indulged in more cookies than the non-dieters, seeing their indulgence in pizza as an excuse to pig out.

Sound familiar?

So, what’s the solution? How do we stop letting minor slip-ups turn into major setbacks? It’s simple: self-compassion.

Stop kicking yourself when you make a mistake. Forgive yourself. Accept that you are frustrated with yourself, and shake hands with those feelings of shame and anger.

Here are 10 steps to practicing self-compassion and stop self-sabotaging your career:

1.   Admit defeat, forgive yourself, and start recovering. There is no need to stay stuck in a cycle of shame and frustration.

2.   Tell yourself you are NOT your shortcomings. Everyone makes mistakes, but you are a powerful and potent being. Believe that!

3.   Reel yourself in when what-the-hell syndrome starts to manifest. Food and alcohol will not make the mistake go away.

4.   Rather than focusing on the goal you didn’t reach, look back and focus on how many previous goals you have reached. You’ve come a long way, baby!

5.   Repeat positive affirmations and tell yourself things like, ‘You got this’ to reduce stress and re-motivate yourself.

6.   Find the opportunity in the challenge. Every challenge presents a new opportunity to learn and grow. Take advantage of it!

7.   Look at your setback as a lesson to learn and launch from rather than a failure with a period at the end.

8.   Come up with a plan to avoid this same setback from happening in the future. Who is in your corner who can hold you accountable? Consider working with a coach, like me!

9.   Look at the bigger picture of your life and recognize that, in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not that important.

10. Remind yourself that success does not manifest with failure (after failure, after failure). Embrace this as part of the entrepreneurial process.

As a transformational life strategist, I work with entrepreneurs who struggle with self-sabotage, limiting beliefs and harsh inner critics, or who otherwise stand in their own way of success. By coaching women to break free and become unstuck, I help them realize their greatest and highest potentials. And I can help you, too.

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About the Author

teri karjala

Teri devotes herself to being the resource people need to uncover their greatest levels of joy and fulfillment in their everyday lives. From teaching courses, keynoting powerhouse events, and being a consistent abundance advocate, onlookers cannot help but leave her presence feeling energized, equipped, and ready to live life to its greatest capacity.