NLP Training: How to Stop Self-Sabotaging Yourself


How to stop self-sabotaging yourself is a question frequently asked during an NLP training. We all do it, in some context. Sometimes we are aware, and sometimes we are not. Sometimes it takes time, and consistent failures to figure it out. One thing is for sure: it gets in the way of achieving happiness, which is what our current series about happiness is all about.

This article is part of the Global NLP Training Happiness Series. If you wish to receive the guidebook, please request the free manual on our website.

This week our focus is self-sabotage, negative emotions, and navigating obstacles. Watch this week’s video:

Why do we self-sabotage? What we teach during our NLP training is that every behavior has a positive intent. The behavior we have during self-sabotage is, in fact, a behavior with positive intent. There is a context in which our behavior is useful. Though it doesn’t help us achieve our goals, it does make us happy. What would happen if you stopped calling your self-sabotaging behavior, self-sabotage? Exactly, you have to give it a positive re-frame. We do it because it satisfies a (deep) need.

When you should be working on forward propulsion, you are doing something else. Let’s view that behavior you are doing instead of fulfilling a positive intent. Something you do that fulfills a need. You are fulfilling a need. You are accomplishing something, and you do this behavior because you think it makes you happy.

You tend to want to:

  • Complete goals
  • Change your behavior
  • Learn new capabilities
  • Change your environment
  • Feel better
  • Look better
  • Become something
  • Etc.

What specifically is it that you should be doing?

What you tend to do instead:

  • Watch Netflix
  • Hang-out with your friends
  • Play computer games
  • Eat the foods you love
  • Play with social media
  • Work on other goals and accomplishments
  • Sort stuff that comes up in your day
  • Etc.

What specifically is it that you are doing instead?

Instead of yelling at the latter behavior inside of our head, why don’t we examine the positive intent instead? You do these things because they are, for example:

  • Relaxing
  • Comfortable
  • Safe
  • Fun
  • Joyful
  • Satisfying
  • Etc.

Wouldn’t you agree that all of these things increase, on some level, our positive emotions? Maybe even our relationships, other achievements, a feeling of flow, our purpose.

Ask your intuition the question: what is the positive intent behind the self-sabotaging behavior you are doing? If your intention isn’t something you can intuitively figure out, then think about it logically. During our NLP training for Master Practitioner, we teach multiple ways to figure out your pure unconscious positive intent. However, in this Happiness Course, you also learned how to elicit your values, which have a strong tie to our positive intent, and can be elicited the same way as our values. See a previous article in the Global NLP Training happiness series on how to do this:

NLP Training: Values & Happiness

Now, this positive intent is the reason why you self-sabotage in the moment. It is like this younger sibling you love, who keeps pestering you. Your short-term impulse is to meet it, but long term this makes no sense, nor does it logically. Think of it this way: it is essential to be kind to yourself, and you need to meet this positive intent in some way or another, to choose happiness for the long term.

Ok, do I mean you should keep self-sabotaging yourself? Or to use NLP training to fix it? Hire a coach? Not at all. What I am asking is you re-examine what you wish to achieve in the long term, rather than react to the short-term impulse unconsciously. Let’s assume that this positive intent needs to be met, and that if it is not, you will continue to self-sabotage as your only option. If you do not satisfy this positive intent, the self-sabotage continues. You must find another better option.

  1. What would happen if you separated the positive intent from the behavior? Could you do another behavior and meet the positive intent that way?
  2. How specifically could you meet the self-sabotage positive intent during the time when you are not working on what you should be doing instead?
  3. How specifically could you incorporate the positive intent in the activities of what you should be doing instead? This is the best option. Often what we should be doing instead, we have arranged in a way that in the short term it is a pure pain impulse. Can you change it around somehow so that it isn’t?
    For example, if you hate running but set it as a task to meet a goal. Could you replace the task with something that isn’t a pain impulse, but still meets the positive intent? Such as a sport you love.
  4. Is there something you could re-arrange in your life wheel? If so, what should it be?
    NLP & Testing Happiness: How Happy Are You?
  5. How can you increase your positive emotions, engagement, flow, relationships, purpose, meaning, achievements, by meeting this positive intent? In some ways, where all of these areas are perfectly met. Where are both the short- and long-term impulse satisfied?

Other than that, what would happen if you look at the positive intent and the self-sabotaging behavior as another obstacle in your goal setting? Last week in the Global NLP training happiness series, you learned how to handle obstacles with the scientific way of goal setting, and the “if this, then that” way of dealing with obstacles.
What is the Only Scientifically Proven Method of Goal Setting?

Stay tuned next week for the next article in our series. Request the manual, guidebook, and aids for the Global NLP Training Happiness series here:
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