09/23/2015 04:56 EDT | Updated 09/23/2016 05:12 EDT

How to Prevent Sabotaging Your Own Fitness Goals

Have you ever wondered how empowering it would feel to make a commitment to yourself in fitness and/or nutrition and fully follow through with it? Forget resolutions, forget starting Monday. You are fully capable of becoming fitter, faster, losing weight, gaining weight, running a half-marathon.

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What drives you? What motivates you? What makes you feel alive?

Have you ever wondered how empowering it would feel to make a commitment to yourself in fitness and/or nutrition and fully follow through with it? Forget resolutions, forget starting Monday. You are fully capable of becoming fitter, faster, losing weight, gaining weight, running a half-marathon. Whatever you put your mind to. What it comes down to is if the 5 per cent of your conscious, rational, logical mind making this decision to better yourself is in full unison with your subconscious mind, the single most powerful part of us, often untapped.

We've all been there. Regardless the time of year, setting new visions for ourselves. The desire seems so strong in the beginning. But as the hours, days, weeks, and temptations present themselves, often times we find ourselves sabotaging that very goal we thought we were capable of. But why? How do we go from wanting something for ourselves so badly, to down right self-doubt?

The conscious and subconscious mind. As a competitive athlete since 2010, I am a firm believer that the body will achieve what the mind believes. Over the years I have worked with mental coaches who have backed my beliefs that in a sport I love, Crossfit, anyone can be fast, strong, fit, and lift 'x' amount of weight, but what it comes down to is who can remain calm, collected, and focused when the clock hits 3, 2, 1, GO! That's 99 per cent mental.

Photo courtesy of Terry Peters

"I do nothing upon myself, and yet I am my own executioner" - John Donne

I love sharing these 'ah-ha' moments with my MGM Fitness & MGM Fit Foods clients. With the help of a woman I deeply admire for opening me to awareness of my own potential in fitness and health, I'm happy to dive in a little deeper with personal mind coach and hypnotherapist, Rosa Livingstone.

M: How do we end up self-sabotaging when we want something so badly?

R: Self-sabotage is all about programming. It's about the negative self talk that takes place unconsciously, when you are NOT consciously aware of what that nasty voice is saying in the background of our minds. It's when the fear of making a mistake, screwing up, or getting it wrong, overtakes your ability to take assertive, inspired action. Truth be told, when we're in doubt or afraid and aren't sure what to do, we often end up do nothing at all. Overwhelm sets in and the downward spiral overtakes us; sleepless nights, anxiety-attacks, and stress 24/7 becomes our reality. The doomsayer of the mind is the part of us that is protecting a belief that may be contrary to what you logically want, like getting back into fitness after an absence or just getting into a gym for the first time! And that's the subconscious mind. This part of your mind is programmed to find the goals that fit your beliefs.

M: What about willpower? Doesn't that account for anything?

R: Willpower can drive a thought such as "I'm quitting smoking/taking sugar out of my diet/eating better/joining a fitness club/hiring a personal trainer"....and the list goes on. And off they go using their willpower and logical knowledge to make it happen. But after a day, a week, a month, the will to make the change or to stick to the plan peters out and deflates like a week old birthday helium balloon. Procrastination sets in like a buzzard over a carcass. Why? Because will power is coming from that 5 per cent of your mind, your conscious, mind. But procrastination is a function of the 95 per cent of the mind that drives our feelings, accompanying thought patterns and resulting actions, and that's your subconscious mind. Within this mind is the belief or program that is contrary to what you logically desire. And because it runs our behaviour, if the conscious thought (I am losing 15 pounds before Christmas) is not in alignment with the feeling subconsciously (losing weight means you will be exposed, vulnerable), then the subconscious finds a way to sabotage because it knows you don't believe in yourself, that you don't believe in yourself enough to reach the goal.

M: What's the first step to stopping self-sabotage?

R: Become aware of your internal chatter. Once you begin listening to your self-talk, you are able to catch the theme behind the thought. Even if you can't change it overnight, becoming self-aware and simply saying to yourself "that's interesting" gives you the opportunity to stay neutral vs. engaging it emotionally.

M: Okay, so you've become self-aware, now how do you get rid of those nasty negative thoughts?

R: First, notice when uncomfortable feelings occur and begin to analyze your attitudes and behavioural patterns. Ask yourself what could be causing these emotions. You'll begin to see the pattern unfold. Self-awareness begins the process of creating something different. How can you change something if you're not aware of it?


First things first, set small and realistic goals. Break down the steps and find the actions you need to take in order to achieve what you're looking for. Never hesitate to seek help. Find a mentor, a personal trainer, a hypnotherapist, a gym buddy, who can help you overcome your habits so you can be healthy, in touch with your feelings and beliefs of your own capabilities, and enjoy life to the fullest. Nothing is stopping you but your own limiting mind chatter.

Is what you answered in the first paragraph about what drives you, what motivates you, and what makes you feel alive supportive of your goals? If so, the world is in your hands!

For information on Rosa Livingstone:

Owner of A Load Off Your Mind Hypnotherapy & Mind Coaching

Clinical Hypnotherapist, Certified Instructor, Educator and Guest Speaker

Happy wife and loving mom to two sons