‘How I was able to stop self-sabotaging my success’

Mar 22, 2020
Whatever self-sabotaging behaviour you have, it's essential you overcome it, says Jill. Source: Getty Images

I have just completed my second Parkrun at Kawana on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Due to illness, I’ve not completed a Parkrun for about 12 months.

The first run was good. It was great to be out there again, and I finished in 41 minutes. This was good considering all the happenings of the last 12 months.

My self-talk for the in the week leading up to my second run I focused on 41 minutes … Does this sound familiar?

My irrational self

  • Can I beat that time?
  • I have to beat that time
  • What if I cant beat that time and I embarrass myself with a slower time, the results are out there for everyone to see?!
  • Have I done enough training?
  • What if I get sick and cant finish?
  • I wont do the run, its too hard to think about
  • I just want to hide!
  • I wish I hadn’t started the runs again

My rational self

  • It doesn’t matter what time I do
  • I am going well its only 5 kilometres
  • I can run/walk
  • No pressure feels good
  • It’s a good course, just go out there and have fun
  • What if I am slower who is going to notice, if they do why worry

Can anyone relate to this? I didn’t sleep well the night before. I had all that stuff going on inside my head. I ended up exhausted even before I began.

I decided that 41 minutes was just a number and I would set my sights on a realistic goal for the next run. This made me feel more relaxed and confident. I convinced myself that its not about the time, just about getting out there and going for it!

It takes a lot of energy to have this chatter inside ones head; it affects sleep, concentration and is generally a distraction. It doesn’t matter how much rationalisation happens, the irrational runs riot!

I started with the end in mind. I thought about how good I’d will feel after I’d achieved my goal. I didn’t worry about other people, most are too wrapped up in their own stuff to worry about what anyone else is doing anyway. The important thing is that I am doing this for myself. I had to recognise that we are all different shapes, sizes and abilities. Mine is just as good as everyone elses!

The outcome

I finished the Parkrun and ended up a doing a quicker time. It could be because the first kilometre wasn’t on the beach, maybe it was because I relaxed into it and enjoyed the run. It really didn’t matter, it all depended on what happened on the day and I was out there doing it! My age group is 70-74.

If I could offer one piece of advice to anyone reading this, it would be not to allow the negative self-talk to take over. Find your rational head space and just go for it!

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What self-sabotaging thoughts have you had? What advice do you have for overcoming such behaviours?

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