We all deserve down time but when does down time spill over into avoiding what we really need or want to do and turn into self-sabotage?

Self-sabotage is generally thought of as activities ranging from self-harming behaviors like; cutting, drug and alcohol use, self medicating with food and the most common form procrastinating (as in Netflix binging or spending hours each day on FaceBook).

I’m hoping we can agree that any time you are physically harming yourself, there is a problem.

If you are harming yourself by cutting, burning, etc. please ask for help- call 911, call your local help hotline or tell someone and let them call for help.

Some of the others may not feel as clear, so let’s look at those. For some, a glass of wine with dinner isn’t a problem but for others it may be. So let’s not worry about what works (or doesn’t) for anyone but you for now.

I’ve typically thought of anything that takes you away from your big picture goals as self-sabotage. But even if your big picture goals include world domination, it is necesary to have down time and even switch things up to make sure you are lighting up different parts of your brain and not just focusing on problems and solutions.

Ok, I’m avoid… Now what?

At a training a few years ago I was listening to a reasearcher on disordered eating and she talked about her ultimate questions to ask before eating anything. She said (I’m paraphrasing) to ask yourself if you would regret eating whatever the food is later? Would it cause you shame? Would you do this in front of people who know what your big weight loss goals are?

You could apply similar questions to your other behaviors, not just eating. If I binge seven episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix on Tuesday night and stay up until 3am making myself tired for work on Wednesday, will I regret that later? Could that make anything more difficult to deal with on Wednesday at work?

If the answer is “no” then do you! If the answer is yes or even maybe, I would encourage you to think about what may be driving that avoidance behavior. What are you avoiding? At the end of the day procrastination is about avoiding, right? Sometimes we avoid becauase we aren’t yet ready to slay the dragon. No shame in that but at least be honest with yourself when you’re doing it. And when it’s time to pull out your sword and go to war with the dragon, are you getting the rest you really need to fight?

As always, I’m here.  If you are struggling with the powerful distractions that are all around us (and that are designed to take you off of your dragon-slaying path to greatness), reach out and let me know.

Self-sabotage vs Down Time