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How To Overcome Self-Sabotage

Yvonne Marchese February 2023

Midlife Reinvention Thought Leader: Yvonne Marchese

A few years ago, I started a morning routine that includes meditation, affirmations, visualization and exercise.

I get up an hour before the rest of my family so I can give myself this gift. It truly is a gift. I was in an extended rough patch mentally before I started this routine, hitting the snooze button every morning because I didn’t want to face the day ahead.  

“I started with a 30-day trial as an experiment and I couldn’t believe how much better I started feeling.”

Breaking Up With My Snooze Button:

I can’t tell you what a difference it made for me to break up with my snooze button. (If you’re wondering how I did it, it was as simple as putting my alarm clock (phone) across the room so I’d have to get out of bed to turn it off.)

Once I was up it was so much easier to keep moving away from the bed. I started with a 30-day trial as an experiment and I couldn’t believe how much better I started feeling. I felt like a new person! It led to a host of changes in my life; including starting a podcast about midlife reinvention and a community for women in midlife.  

I’ve had a pretty good roll going for a few years now and then in late December an unwelcome visitor paid me a visit and overstayed their welcome. You might recognize this visitor as the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee. They might even have paid you a visit or two in your lifetime.

Complaints Looping In Your Head:

If you are the rare person who doesn’t know what I mean, imagine you’re the lead singer in a band and you have a group of background singers who echo the complaints you have in your head and before you know it you have a chorus of complaints looping in your head like an earworm you can’t get rid of. It’s as if they’ve come to throw you a pity party for all the hard things you have to do.

When the committee comes to visit it becomes really difficult for me to get out of my own way. I go back to old, unhealthy habits. Everything feels hard.

I started to question why all the things I usually do to manage my mental health aren’t working for me now. Is this a hormonal shift? Is it a seasonal affective disorder? What the heck is going on?

When I really started to look at things, I realized that it’s been a rainy, gray winter here and I’ve been grinding away at work so I’m not getting outside to walk as much as I normally do. I’ve also stopped consistently visualizing and doing affirmations. I’m not journaling as much.

“We all have patterns of self-sabotage that can be so hard to break.”

We All Have Self-Sabotage Patterns:

I’d had enough, so I started looking for ways to bust through the funk.

It happens to all of us – the dreaded “fall off the horse” experience. We all have self-sabotaging patterns that can leave us feeling stuck in a rut and unable to move forward. It can be so difficult to pick ourselves back up and get back on the saddle. We all have patterns of self-sabotage that can be so hard to break. Whether it’s procrastination, perfectionism, overcommitting, negative self-talk, comparing ourselves to others, overindulgence, or denying help, these bad habits can be hard to break.

One of the most important things to do when we’re trying to break these patterns of self-sabotage is to recognize them when they’re happening. What does it look like when you’re in the middle of it? Make a list of the most common patterns of self-sabotage you’ve noticed in yourself, and then next to each item, make a plan of action for how you can get past that stumbling block. (I know this sounds like a lot of work. It is! But it’s totally worth it.)

Overcome The Self-Sabotage:

“What is my next best step?”

Once you’ve identified the pattern, it’s time to start taking action! Don’t beat yourself up – instead, focus on taking small steps to overcome the self-sabotage. Maybe you need to take a break from a project and come back with a fresh perspective. Or, talk to someone else about what’s going on. Maybe you need to start a gratitude practice to help shift your focus away from the negative. Whatever it is, the important thing is to take the time to figure out what works for you.

To start with, I’ve been pushing myself to get outside for more walks. It’s an instant mood booster. I’ve revisited some of my favorite affirmations and I’m trying to take a few minutes every day to visualize something that makes me happy. I’ve been asking myself the simple question, “What is my next best step?” It’s a great open-ended question that tends to answer itself because we all have the answer within us.

By recognizing the patterns of self-sabotage in your life and taking action to break them, you’ll be well on your way to avoiding the pitfalls and getting back on the horse. 

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Yvonne Marchese

About the Author:

Yvonne Marchese is the host of the Late Bloomer Living Podcast, a professional photographer, mother and wife. At the age of 48, she realized that she’d bought into a story about getting old that was adversely affecting her health and relationships.Changing her story about aging inspired her to start the Late Bloomer Living Podcast where she is on a mission to redefine society’s ideas on aging and exploring how to live a life by design. Yvonne believes that midlife is filled with possibility, that it’s never too late to pursue a dream and that the stories we tell ourselves have tremendous power. Who knew that midlife could be so much fun? Follow Yvonne on IG –@latebloomerliving