Transforming Self-Sabotage into Self-Support

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Imagine this: Your cursor is blinking on an empty document, the deadline is closing in, and the weight of the task ahead feels overwhelming. A part of you screams, "Let's tackle this head-on!" while another whispers, "But what if you fail?" Sound familiar?

You're caught in a mental tug-of-war of self-sabotage. On one end is the vision of your successful self, and on the other is an invisible force pulling you back into the comfort zone of procrastination. As a procrastination coach, I've seen this inner conflict play out in countless scenarios. You're not alone, and your internal strife is far from a sign of laziness or lack of discipline.

So, what if you could actually untangle this knot of self-sabotage? What if there was a way to transform this debilitating inner narrative into one of empowerment and action? This is where the principles of Positive Intelligence can make a world of difference.

self-sabotage and procrastination

Self-Sabotage and Procrastination: A Tangled Web

Contrary to popular belief, procrastination is not a result of laziness or disorganization. Instead, it often originates from a cycle of self-sabotage fueled by inner conflict. This internal tug-of-war is influenced by what Shirzad Chamine, the author of Positive Intelligence, identifies as your 'Saboteur.' This Saboteur isn't just a naysayer; it's a powerful embodiment of your inner critic. Created from a blend of past experiences, fears, and societal conditioning, this Saboteur serves as a roadblock, halting your progress and keeping you stuck.

saboteur vs the sage

The Inner Conflict: Saboteurs vs. The Sage

In the realm of Positive Intelligence, we all have Saboteurs and a Sage. Your Saboteurs feed your procrastination by stoking fears and insecurities. In contrast, your Sage seeks to empower, embolden, and enlighten you. Recognizing and shifting the balance of power from your Saboteurs to your Sage is key to breaking the self-sabotage and procrastination cycle.

spotting your triggers

Spotting Your Procrastination Triggers

Procrastination isn’t one-size-fits-all. You've got your own unique set of "Procrastination Saboteurs." Maybe it's the 'Judge' making you second-guess every move, or perhaps it's the 'Avoider' convincing you to postpone your tasks. Once you name them, you can tame them.


The S.T.A.R.T Technique: Your 10-Second Game-Changer

S (Spot the Procrastination) 

The moment you catch yourself procrastinating—maybe you’re scrolling through social media or daydreaming—acknowledge it. No judgment, just awareness.

T (Take a Deep Breath) 

Take a deep breath to signal to your body and mind that you’re about to shift gears.

A (Attune to Physical Sensations) 

For the next 10 seconds, place all your attention on the feeling of your fingertips touching each other. Notice the temperature, the texture, the pressure—every tiny detail.

R (Reflect on Your Sage's Wisdom) 

After the 10 seconds are up, briefly reflect on what your Sage would say in this moment. Perhaps something like, "This task is a stepping stone to your goals; don’t let it become a stumbling block."

T (Take Action)

Use this mental reset to move into action. Even if it's just a small step, it's a step away from procrastination and towards accomplishment.

By practicing the S.T.A.R.T technique, you interrupt the Saboteur's chatter just long enough to let your Sage chime in. Over time, this simple practice can weaken your Saboteurs’ hold and help you reclaim your time and focus. So, the next time you find yourself putting things off, just S.T.A.R.T!

Listen to Your Sage

Listen to Your Sage

Your Sage isn't just sitting there quietly; it has some useful advice too. What would your Sage say about your tendency to procrastinate? Likely, it would encourage you to see procrastination as a hurdle to your goals, not a safety net.

Your Sage as Your Procrastination Coach

Create a 'Sage Response Sheet' listing common procrastination scenarios and what your Sage would counsel in those situations. Having this readily available can serve as a quick guide to get you unstuck.

real world transformation

Real World Transformation

Meet Jennifer, a client who faced chronic procrastination and decided to take action. After completing the Saboteur Assessment, she discovered that her two top Saboteurs were the 'Avoider' and the 'Pleaser.' The 'Avoider' made her steer clear of tasks that seemed too demanding, while the 'Pleaser' distracted her with easier, more pleasing activities that took her away from her priorities. With this new self-awareness, we worked on empowering his Sage. "It was like a switch flipped," she says. "I could see I was my own stumbling block and all the ways I was engaging in self-sabotage. After that, I thought, 'Okay, no more messing around. Let's get this done!'"

Curious to Know More? If any of this is striking a chord with you, remember: personalized help is just a message away.

You Always Have the Power


So there you have it—procrastination isn't just a time-management issue or a bout of laziness. It's a complex dance between your inner critics, the Saboteurs, and your wisest self, the Sage. You've probably found yourself in this dance more times than you'd like to admit, but guess what? You're not alone, and you're certainly not stuck there forever.

The good news is that you already possess the power to break free from this cycle of self-sabotage and procrastination. It's all about recognizing the inner players at work and taking actionable steps to shift the balance. Whether it's a 10-second touch technique to snap you out of a procrastination spiral or talking back to your Saboteurs with wisdom from your Sage, the tools are within you.

So, the next time you find yourself trapped in the never-ending loop of of 'I'll do it later,' remember, you have what it takes to change the script. Instead of letting your Saboteurs call the shots, empower your Sage to take the wheel. Turn that internal battleground into a launchpad for achieving not just the task at hand but also for realizing your larger goals in life.

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