When we set out to do something, at first we will probably be very motivated and excited – it’s the novelty effect or the honeymoon phase, but then at one point we might start to feel like we are losing momentum, which is when some negative thinking patterns appear.
Knowing these patterns is very useful to have as warning signals.
Let’s look at them as personality types – see which one you recognize yourself most in:
The Perfectionist is great at getting the details right. They learn the rules and apply them to precision. But, the problem is when something comes up that doesn’t really fit in ‘the rules’ – then what? They usually start a project off with the best of intentions, a shiny new notebook, sharpened pencils, but then some way done the line, they miss a lesson or fall behind for some reason.
Whereas for other people, this is not a biggie, for the perfectionist it is huge – with one slip they have messed the entire project up! So one slip turns into two, and so forth.
What to do about it: look at the end goal. It’s ok to have a slip along the way, it is not going to ruin everything. Focus on getting it right most of the time, not all the time. Don’t let one small hiccup become a major issue and throw you off course.
The Overachiever is going to take a project and push it to its maximum, and then add on other things to ‘make it better’, but then struggles to keep up, so will probably have worse results than if they had just stuck to the original plan.
The Know-It-All personality type will constantly question the project’s method and technique, then attempt to mix in other methods.
So instead of sticking to one path, they will be switching from one to the other, and therefore not really getting anywhere in an efficient way.
They will research endlessly and have information overload, so usually either feel overwhelmed or can’t stick to one plan that has proven results.
What to do? Just choose a path and stick with it. Ialways remember one of my friends who was a new mum, chose a book she related with and applied its advice to dealing with her baby. Another friend had a baby at about the same time, and was in a total panic as she kept on reading conflicting advice from different books. So instead of reading several different books and getting confused, pick one that you can relate to and apply that.
The Rollercoaster Rider
The Rollercoaster Rider tends to work really hard for a few weeks, getting some great results, but then feels confident about how well they are doing, so has a slip up, which in turn means they make less progress, so they get disappointed, commit to doing well again, have another good phase, then go down again, and so on.
It’s up and down with the Rollercoaster, so the results aren’t brilliant. It’s better to go at a steady pace and be consistent, than to go full speed, run out of breath and then take some time off.
This Excuser is a master at coming up with excuses for every situation.
But this is really just the Ego’s way to making failure ‘sting’ less.
So instead of wasting time coming up with all these reasons of ‘why’ you didn’t do something, just acknowledge that you didn’t do it – no biggie – and keep on going so that you get it done.
Maybe you recognise your saboteur as one of these types, or maybe a bit of each of them, depending on the day and the situation.
We all play different roles of these saboteurs everyday. We’re all the Perfectionist, the Overacheiver, The Know-It-All, The Rollercoaster, and the Excuser.
Just being aware and noticing them is a great place to start.
Then, when they pop up, make sure you recognize them for what they are and don’t let them sabotage what you want to achieve.
I would love to hear which one is yours, so do leave a reply below!