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7 Ways You Sabotage Your Resilience

Resilience helps you bounce back from challenging life events, times of illness, loss, or failure. It has an empowering quality that helps you deal with stress, look after your emotional health, and it boosts your mental well-being.

When empowered, you can avoid the road bumps that life can place in front of you. Life is real. Some days are good, other days, not so much. Our habits, beliefs, behaviors, and perceived priorities can sabotage our resilience, and that makes every challenge just a little harder.

In this article, we will look at seven things that sabotage your resilience. Then, we’ll look at ways you can overcome them.

Avoiding the Problems

One of the first things you might do to sabotage your resilience is to avoid problems. This could mean ignoring a task until it’s too late, or putting off important decisions indefinitely. If that’s your situation, be sure to stop by and read the free series on procrastination. The tips there will show you the “Why” and the “How” to move past that place.

Avoiding problems can lead to nervous feelings, confidence issues and a false belief of helplessness, making it harder for you to cope with difficult situations.

Solution: To overcome the tendency to avoid problems, be careful not to classify things as a “problem”. Sure, it might be new; it might even be challenging. If you start a task or want to resolve an issue with the mindset that it is a problem, your subconscious mind will work to create that belief.

If you believe something is hard before trying, it will be because you’ve set up the mindset that it is tough. Do you see where I’m going with this? One thought connects to a belief that connects to an action (or inaction).

  • Break down larger issues into smaller, manageable tasks.
  • Set specific goals and make a to-do list to help you stay focused.
  • Put your list in the order that the task would be done. With each completed step, you are an overcomer. Sometimes you’ll find it’s better to rearrange the steps, and that shows personal improvement in productivity.
  • If you’re struggling to know where to start, talk to a trusted friend, co-worker or consider working with a coach to help you find effective processes to reach your goals.

Overthinking the Issue:

It becomes easy to get into an “overthinking” mode. Some people stay there and when nothing gets done, they justify it by saying they're “still thinking it through”. The key word here is, “Through”. At some point, the issue should to be completed.

Overthinking is another way to sabotage your resilience. You might dwell on past mistakes, worry about future events, or obsess over every little detail. Overthinking keeps you stuck while you ponder the negative side of things. Too much of that can lead you to depress yourself, which erodes your resilience.

When you’re focusing on your worries, nothing gets resolved.

Solution: If you want to stop overthinking, you need to make a choice about where you’ll place your focus. You cannot think of both a positive and a negative thing at the same time.

Try this: Think of an embarrassing experience you had in your life. Pay attention to how you feel.

Now, think of a joyful experience you’ve had with someone you care about, and those feelings.

Notice that you cannot think and experience both of them at once. You think about the negative, turn it off, and then switch mental directions toward the positive. You turn off one thought, then turn on the other.

The switch doesn’t happen automatically. It takes effort.

It requires a choice to think differently, but that’s how you can take control of overthinking.

  • If you want to empower your ability for healthy thinking, consider mindfulness meditation to help you stay in the present and not worrying about things to come.
  • Start a journal and make a daily entry about people, places, things, pets, or situations that you’re thankful for. When you find yourself in an overthinking mode, take a moment to think about your daily entry. This positive thought can be a mental gear shift for you.
  • If you want a fast-track to turning off the mental tape player in your mind, consider hypnosis. As a Board Certified Hypnotherapist, I help to undo the underlying things that cause you to drag around the worries or fears that keep pulling you off course. My clients and I work through a five-session series by Zoom that I call the Transformative Life Centering” process. Of course, there are likely other hypnotists where you are, but this is what I do for clients across the nation.

Trying to be Perfect:

Striving for excellence is a positive behavior. We should all try to be the best we can be. However, if you obsess over every minor detail, that’s not helpful and you can cause yourself undue stress. Each time that you hit a road bump and things don’t go as planned, it becomes easy to beat yourself up with self-critical thoughts.

(Don’t do that).

Solution: To break your perceived need to be perfect, set realistic goals and expectations for yourself.

  • Write the names of 3 people that are absolutely perfect. People that have never made an error… ever.
  • Since that’s an impossible exercise, you can acknowledge that no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. The question is, what do you do with that opportunity?It is an opportunity, or can be if you choose to see it as a natural part of the learning process.This is the birthplace of continuous improvement, the place where new inventions and processes develop.

Be willing to accept that even the smallest of improvements are still improvements.

Isolating Yourself:

Isolation is definitely an obstacle to resilience. When you isolate yourself from others, you miss out on social support, and knowledge and experiences of people that could help you. Surround yourself with good people and they will energize you.

Solution: With a global population of about 8 Billion people, it’s unlikely that our challenges are truly unique. Someone in your circle, whether it be family, friend, work, school, church or some organization, or even a social media connection, probably experienced something related to your situation.

  • Don’t plant yourself on an island. Reach out to people in your circle and get together. I’ve met with people for coffee, lunch, even a breakfast to just talk and share ideas. Those human interactions are empowering and can give you a fresh perspective.

Ignoring Self-Care:

Life is busy and there are some employers or dominant people with unrealistic expectations that mistakenly think your life and everything about you should be approved by them. (They are wrong)

If you’re not taking time for you and prioritizing self-care, then you’re sabotaging your ability to be resilient when storms arise.

Self-care is a critical factor in maintaining your mental, physical and emotional well-being.

Solution: Here are some things you can do to strengthen your life:

  • Stay hydrated. As an engine needs oil, your body needs water to operate correctly.
  • Get rest, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise. Even a short walk to get your body moving is good for you.
  • Engage in a creative hobby. Creative interests help your mind see things clearer. When I was in a federal law enforcement position, I encouraged my investigators to engage in creative pursuits. Otherwise, there was the false assumption that they could resolve the next case in the same way as the previous one. Life is dynamic and you need cognitive flexibility for resilience.
  • When people or situations make you feel stressed, don’t replace your frustrations with unhealthy substances. Make a choice to make the situation better by doing something healthy for you.

Negative Self-Talk:

Negative self-talk is a major obstacle to resilience. This is the behavior that follows when a person dwells on the perfectionism mentioned earlier.

Remember when I talked about your subconscious mind creating a belief? That’s what happens when you get into the critical self-talk mode. Over time, self-talk erodes your confidence and resilience to navigate future situations.

When you mentally attack yourself, it’s like giving yourself the negative affirmation of, “I’m a screw-up and can’t get anything right.”

Would you want to hear someone tell you that all day long? Probably not, so why do it to yourself? If you do, your subconscious mind will create the belief that you’re a failure.

(Don’t do that)

Solution: you can eliminate negative self-talk by reframing the negative thoughts into positive ones using evidence.

As an example, if you think “I can’t do it” replace it with “I’ve handled tough situations before, I can and will do it again.” Over time, this kind of positive self-talk can help you build confidence and resilience.

There’s a lot of value in positive affirmations when you consistently empower your personal perspective about yourself. In the critical self-talk mode, that’s NOT happening.

Your subconscious mind is listening to you and creating beliefs.

Why not create good beliefs about yourself?

Staying Angry:

When someone mistreats you, it’s natural to be angry about it. Sometimes, people do or say things that are hurtful and they had no intent to do so. We might not know where a person is in their life on that day. Yet, when you choose to hang onto that anger, it doesn’t hurt them. It hurts you, over and over again.

Have you ever experienced this? You got up in the morning to prepare for work and your mind instantly recites angry conversations you’d like to have with someone?

That’s stored anger that you’re replaying. It’s unhealthy. It doesn’t hurt them and the only one that hears it every day is you. Those thoughts push you into a stuck and resentful mode, unable to move forward. That place can have physical, mental and emotional costs if you hang onto it. Meanwhile, the person who hurt you (intentional or not) doesn’t feel any of it. You do.

Solution: To let go of anger, if possible, give it some time and arrange a time to talk with the person who said or did something to you. With kindness, tell them how you perceived what happened and how it made you feel. Avoid asking them, “Why” it happened. Using the word WHY can make people defensive and turn the conversation in the wrong direction. It’s best to ask, “What was it that made you say (or do) those things?”

During that conversation, they will show you who they are. They either misstated something because of circumstances in their life, or they intended harm. In most cases, they will apologize, and know the situation isn’t acceptable. If their behavior was intentional, now you know. Keep records and avoid them if possible.

The way to put this behind you so that your focus is looking forward is forgiveness. That’s an area that seems uncomfortable because we often justify our anger, and hang into it. Forgiveness is not about saying what someone did is acceptable, or that need to like the person. In fact, it’s not even about them. It’s about a choice that you make to clear the emotional junk out of your way.

Another approach that I mentioned before is hypnosis. During my "Transformative Life Centering" process, two sessions are dedicated to help you forgive others, and how to forgive yourself. Of all the sessions, these two are often the most powerful of them all.

The challenge here is that you and me... we sometimes don't want to forgive someone. They've been a knucklehead and you want them to pay. If these situations are not resolved, WE PAY -- not them. It's best to get rid of the things that hold our lives back. If you're unsure of this work, visit my other site HERE for more info.

Why You Need Resilience

Resilience is important for your maintaining mental, physical and emotional well-being. By avoiding behaviors that sabotage your resilience, you strengthen your resilience level over time, so you’re better equipped to handle life’s challenges.


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About the Author

Anthony M. Davis is a Certified Leadership, Success and Stress Coach. He is a clinically trained Board Certified Hypnotherapist.

He has earned a national reputation for his Transformative Life Centering work with clients from across the nation. His unique approach helps clients remove underlying fears and triggers, and then through coaching, helps them pursue and accomplish life and career goals.

He provides coaching and Hypnotherapy sessions remotely through Zoom. If you have challenges and are ready to move past them, Contact him Here to create the life change you desire.

Also, if you’d like to Stay Informed when future articles and resources become available, be sure to SUBSCRIBE Here to the newsletter. (We don’t like spam and won’t fill your inbox.)

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