Many factors are responsible for our self-sabotage. Our core values and the intention behind the behaviour are some of them. We initially self-sabotage in order to keep us safe and in our comfort zone. Most behaviours start with good intentions. Even the teenager who takes up smoking to belong in the group, even criminals usually start out with good intentions, and then go downhill from there.

Finding the intention behind the behaviour becomes quite relevant when it comes to getting rid of a bad habit. One of my coaching clients wanted to quit smoking. All on his own he decreased his habit to one cigarette per day, but was unable to completely quit. It turned out— after asking the right questions during coaching sessions—that he had not yet accepted the fact that his father had passed away. His father was a smoker, so the cigarette was connecting him with memories of his father. He did not want to let him go. Finding the intention behind the unwanted behaviour helps to find other ways to fulfill that positive intention. Now, instead of having his one cigarette at night (the unwanted behaviour), he takes out the photo album and looks at photos of his father so he can connect and honour his memory. He has been smoke-free for almost 8 years and is now running half-marathons.

Our cravings are often connected to deeper memories and triggered by our senses. We all know that certain smells remind us of certain things. Mom’s cooking always made us feel good. Have you ever walked into a movie theatre or a bakery? You can smell the popcorn or the freshly baked goods, and immediately the cravings start. Find the reason behind the craving and then find a different way to fulfill that craving. If you miss your mom, call her or look at some pictures. You don’t need to eat a whole chocolate cake because it makes you think about her. You can still think about her and love her without having to sabotage your health!

Here is another great example that shows how finding the intention behind the behaviour can help modify the behaviour. I had a friend once who moved to a new city. All of a sudden she kept buying a certain type of chocolate bar and devouring it, and she couldn’t understand why. Every day she needed that chocolate bar. She never used to like chocolate and it was never a problem before, even when she actually worked for the manufacturer of that particular chocolate bar. (which was quite ironic, a chocolate sales rep who doesn’t like chocolate).

So why was she all of a sudden eating chocolate? What had changed? She called me and said: “Nathalie, you have to help me, I am eating chocolate every day and I am going out of my mind! I never used to like chocolate! What is going on?” After a good chat, we realized she missed the life she had working for the chocolate company. She had moved and was now alone in a new city. Eating chocolate was her way of coping with feeling lonely and missing her friends. She didn’t really want the chocolate bar; she wanted to be with her old friends. Now, instead of eating chocolate bars, she phones or connects with her friends on email or Facebook, which is a much healthier way to fulfill the intention behind her behaviour. She has gotten back to her healthy eating habits and is now in Australia, and she still keeps in touch with her friends on the web.

We all have core values, which are the things most important to us. Often times, trying to align with the core values can be at the base of self-sabotage. When we are aware of it and can identify our core values, we can turn the situation around and make the core values the cure instead of the cause. Honesty, Family, Freedom, Respect, Certainty, Growth, etc. could be the values that take us out of self-sabotage.

In order to discover the reason behind your negative behaviours, you want to ask yourself what it does for you. What core value or intention, is this bad habit serving?

You can find a full example of the process in my new THINK Yourself™ SUCCESSFUL book being launched in a few weeks! Stay tuned!



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