Self Improvement Sabotage: Too Tipsy to Tango

by Aaron Potts

What good is self improvement and personal development if you turn around and sabotage your own efforts by celebrating prematurely? We’ve all done this in some fashion or other, regardless of what our original goal was.
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In the case of weight loss, we’ve all worked really hard at exercising and eating right for a month, lost 5 or 10 pounds, and then went WAY overboard on the reward process. After eating in such a healthy manner and forcing ourselves to workout for 30 days, we show some serious progress, and decide that we deserve a few days off.

Friday night starts with a nice dinner and some drinks, which eventually turns into several drinks plus dessert, and Saturday morning finds us feeling dehydrated, hung over, and nutrient deficient.

By the time Sunday rolls around, we aren’t feeling the effects of Friday night’s drink fest anymore, but we did eat very poorly on Saturday as a result of feeling too under the weather to really care, and we certainly didn’t exercise. We make a token effort at eating in a healthy manner on Sunday, but are only marginally successful, and as we are getting ready for another busy week, we can’t seem to find the time to exercise.

By Monday, we have spent the last 3 days slacking off, we feel guilty and fat, we’ve probably gained 2 or 3 pounds, and we start to believe that we simply don’t have what it takes to truly work hard consistently in order to keep the weight off.

Does that scenario or one like it sound familiar to you?

Let’s use another common example to illustrate this point – having more money.

Although there are plenty of long-term strategies to build wealth rather than just living paycheck to paycheck, it is actually the short-term successes that tend to sabotage our efforts.

By trimming out a few unnecessary monthly expenses, cutting back on the amount of money we spend at the coffee shop each day, and also resisting the urge to buy that new outfit or that new power tool for the garage, we suddenly find ourselves with $200 in the bank at the end of the month that we normally don’t have. YAY!

So then what happens? Rather than leaving that money in the bank in order to collect interest and to be added to the following month, we find something to spend it on! We pat ourselves on the back for saving up so much money in such a short period of time by making simple changes in our life, and we decide that we deserve a nice reward for the effort.

For some of us, that means a gleeful trip to the local mall, where the only thing overflowing more than the cappuccino is the massive selection of choices on the sale racks. For others, it’s a night on the town with our friends where the more fun we have, the more free we get with spending the money that made this event even possible. Or, some people will keep it even simpler than that, and blow close to $200 by simply taking a family of four out for dinner and a movie.

There are numerous scenarios like the ones just described where you could toss a month’s worth of savings right out the window in just a few short hours by merely deciding to reward yourself for your frugal living.

In fact, there are numerous examples of how this concept applies to life in general, and you can undoubtedly think of ways that you have applied this self-destructive behavior pattern to your own life at some point in the past.

You work really hard, stay disciplined, see some great results, and then rain on your own parade by celebrating either prematurely, or more than is warranted for the success that you’ve seen.

Losing 5 or 10 pounds does NOT warrant a 3-day alcohol and/or junk food binge, especially if those 3 days are spent without getting any exercise.

Saving $200 – whether you saved it in a month or even in a week – does not warrant finding a way to SPEND $200. That kind of defeats the purpose, don’t you think?

Plug in your own life details to this formula and realize the hard truth that a lifetime of self-destructive behavior in any given area of your life is not going to be undone by 30 days of cleaning up your act.

Will you make some great progress? Absolutely! In fact, by consistently doing something for 30 days, you will have taken the majority of the steps needed to make that habit an actual lifestyle, which is, of course, the desired end result.

However, by overdoing it on the celebration – whether you are talking about weight loss, finances, or anything else – you will only force your old self-limiting beliefs to kick in, which will send you hurtling all the way back to square one, if not even farther than that.

Give yourself well-deserved rewards for your self improvement or personal development efforts, but make those rewards appropriate for what you have accomplished.

Stay hungry for future accomplishments in whatever area you are looking for success in by not putting the victory party before the victory!

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I am the owner of the Today is that Day website where I do my best to spread the truth of the world - that YOU are in control of your life!

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