4 Ways People Sabotage Their Progress: How to Sidestep the Traps

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I have a shortlist of goals to keep me on my path to full-time RVing. One of them is saving enough money to buy a decent used rig. Recently, I reviewed my January budget and, no denying it, I fell short on my RV savings goal.

At first, I was dumbfounded: What happened? After trying to blame the economy, somebody else, climate change, or the devil, I became disappointed because I had to point the finger back at me. What did I do to sabotage my progress?

Do you sometimes do things to thwart your efforts, even if they’re unintentional? Join the club. I have four common traps that often pull me toward self-sabotage:

1. You confuse “busy” with “productive.”

Do you sometimes humble-brag about how “busy” you are? Me too! It’s easy to get caught up in busywork and to feel like the days aren’t long enough. Sometimes I lose myself when I make lists and clear out my email. Those activities aren’t necessarily harmful, but I have to ask myself: Am I getting anything done?

If I’m not actually producing something, I’m just being active, not productive. Therefore, instead of patting myself on the back for reading five articles on blogging, I should write my own blog post. I can leverage that content in pursuit of my online business ambitions.

2. You ignore long-term goals in favor of short-term gains.

Saving all that money for an RV sounds so haaaaaaaard! Blech. You know, I could use some of that money now to snag that new anti-wrinkle cream I saw on the Estée Lauder website. It definitely won’t cost as much as an RV.

On the other hand, anti-wrinkle cream might make me feel like I’m peeling the years off my face. However, that won’t make a difference when it comes to getting that reliable RV I can afford. I won’t let my short-term desire to treat myself overshadow my dream.

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3. You put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

I came up with this gem yesterday: I’m too tired to do my strength training today. I’ll push it till tomorrow. I’ll feel more energetic then. On a scale of 1-10, how badly do you think I want to kick myself today?

As I write this, I already feel myself coming up with excuses to skip training yet again! However, one tiny decision to skip my workout can snowball into a whole month of skipping workouts. I promise myself to train today and to check myself when I have another moment of self-delusion in the future, which I will.

4. You’re afraid to make mistakes.

It’s easy to feel like a failure when you make a mistake. There’s a mantra I often tell myself: You only fail when you quit. A mistake is no big deal in the grand scheme; it simply represents a plan that didn’t go as expected.

We shouldn’t be quick to reject the notion of failure. The successful people I know or have read about would say to expect a lot of failure on the path to your dream. This isn’t easy advice to take, but the more you fail, the closer you get to your first major milestone.

In conclusion

Let’s recap by turning these self-sabotage traps into four key points:

  1. Be “productive,” not just “busy.” If you’re not getting an end result, you only appear productive.
  2. Keep your long-term goals in sight. Treating yourself every once in a while is okay. Just don’t let it interfere with your progress toward the big prize.
  3. Get it done today. If a task is on today’s to-do list, do it today. Any new responsibility can probably wait until tomorrow.
  4. Own your mistakes and learn from them. I’ll repeat: You only fail when you quit. A mistake is a chance to do a course correction.

Are you your own saboteur at times? How do you overcome those tendencies? Tell us about it.

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