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7 Tips for Dealing with People Who Sabotage Your Progress Towards Your Goals

Feb 13, 2020

Do the People Around You Support You or Sabotage You?

Hi!  It's Karen from Karen Vincent Solutions.  

Asking yourself whether the people around you support you or sabotage you in achieving your goals is an important question for us all to ask ourselves.  To start off, let me say that I don’t think all sabotage is intentional and I also don’t think that other people are responsible for our successes or failures, however, I am saying that they can sure make it easier or harder for us to stay on track while working towards our goals. 

The reality is that not everyone will support all your goals.  Whether you are trying to lose weight, build a business, devote more time to your family or devote more time to your community, not everyone will understand your goals and not everyone will think your goals are attainable.  This is where your WHY matters most. 

What is critical is that you believe in your goals, that you are committed to your goals and that you have confidence that you can reach your goals.  The only way this stays strong when you don’t have external support is if you get really, really clear about WHY you are working towards something and remind yourself of this often. 

The unintentional sabotager.

The people who unintentionally sabotage us usually do it because they just don’t understand.  If you are refraining from drinking alcohol, they don’t understand why and therefore cannot understand why you won’t split a bottle of wine with them at dinner.  If you are trying to exercise more, they cannot understand why you can’t hang out because you are going to work out instead.  If you are trying to start a business, they don’t understand why you are not satisfied enough with the steady paycheck from your full-time job. 

To them, you are choosing to do things that are hard and not as fun as drinking wine or hanging out, and that just does not make sense.  In these situations, if you stay committed to your WHY, you will be fine.  They may question you more than once or twice or joke about you missing out on something, but at the end of the day, they care about you and respect you.  Your relationship with them will stand the test of time and ultimately their opinion of you won’t change, even if they don’t fully “get you”. 

The intentional sabotager.

Now, let’s talk about the people who intentionally sabotage you.  The hard part about this is that these individuals are often people you care a lot about and who care a lot about you.  These individuals either don’t agree with your goals or they intentionally try to convince you to stop working towards them. They perceive that your goals are interfering with your relationship with them.

They may even outright tell you they don’t believe you can reach your goals and encourage you to give up rather than wasting your time.  Because these people are often people who are close to you (a partner, close friend, family member), what they are doing can be very challenging as you try to work towards things that are important to you. 

First let’s examine why someone who cares about you would try to prevent you from reaching your goals.  Usually it is because what you are doing is making them uncomfortable.  When you work to be better, or when you do something that advances your health or your life, it forces others to look at where they are in their lives and sometimes that can be painful. 

If someone knows they should be taking action to improve something in their life, but they are not ready, it is challenging for them to watch someone else start to move forward.  Even though they care about you, they may be resentful that you are doing the thing that seems so hard or overwhelming for them to do themselves. 

Another reason that might be causing them to behave in a non-supportive manner is that they could be afraid they will get left behind.  They may fear you won’t enjoy meals with them anymore, you won’t have as much time because you are working out more, that you may not be attracted to them anymore, that you will advance your career and you won’t need their support any longer, that you will get new friends who are doing what you are doing…the list could go on and on.  They may not even know that they are feeling like this on a conscious level. 

As I stated, this is a challenging situation.  It is not only challenging for you, as the person making the change, it is also challenging for the other person as well.  It is good to understand that the other person is uncomfortable with what you are doing, however, you are not responsible to try to make them not feel uncomfortable with what you are doing to reach your goals. 

What this means is that you better hang onto your WHY and keep pushing forward with your goals.  Don’t skip the workout because you are worried about the other person being bored.  Don’t agree to a big pasta dinner if you are trying to lower your carbs and lose weight.  Don’t have the cocktail if you are trying to cut calories or even cut alcohol out of your life.  Don’t stay out too late and then not have time in the morning to pursue your career goals. 

If you start to change what you are doing to make someone else more comfortable, you both will lose.  You will lose because you will be giving up on your goals or will delay reaching them.  They will lose because on some level, you will likely resent them and it will play out in your relationship with them, even if in subtle ways. 

So, how do you navigate this?  Great question!  It’s not a simple one to answer without knowing your specific situation, however, there are general tips that apply to most situations.

7 tips for dealing with people who are trying to sabotage your goals.

  1. Keep doing what you are doing and keep reaching for your goals. Have a plan and stick with it.
  2.  Don’t make a big deal about what you are doing. You don’t have to announce every workout, how you at a salad for lunch, what steps you took to advance your career, etc.  Sometimes we do this because we are feeling so proud (and we should be proud if we are taking action to improve our lives), however, if someone is not on board with our goals, this could increase their unsupportive behavior.  Just keep doing it and give yourself the recognition you deserve quietly.
  3. Have some answers ready for the questions you may get. For example, if asked, why do you need to exercise every day? you may respond with, because it helps my mood and it gives me more energy.  If asked, why won’t you just eat _____, like you used to? you may respond with, I feel so much better and sleep better when I don’t eat   I never realized how it negatively affected me in the past or you could simply say, because I am trying to lose weight and I hope that you can respect that.  If asked, why do you work such long hours, it’s not like you are getting paid extra? you may respond with I know that it will pay off because others are recognizing my commitment and how much I am doing to support our company.
  4. Have a plan. Schedule out your day so that you make sure you do the things that are important to move you towards your goal. Once you have this schedule in place, stick with it.
  5. Like #4, have a backup plan. If the person who is interfering with your goals you lives with you and you are working on a health related goal, be sure that there is food you can eat that supports your goal, even if they are cooking.  If you lose time or go off schedule with working on your goals, have a backup plan so that you can refocus and keep your momentum.  Perhaps you need to get up a little earlier, delay a household chore or order your groceries online this week so that you have the extra time to stay consistent with the action you are taking towards your goals.  Plan for things that could throw you off track and course correct as quickly as possible when needed.
  6. Keep your WHY strong. Review it daily or multiple times per day if needed.  Keep your mindset where it needs to be so that you keep moving forward, even when it feels hard or challenging.
  7. Get support. If someone close to you is not supporting your goals, find someone who will.  This does not mean that you cut the other person out of your life (although maybe this is something you should examine depending on your situation), it just means that you add in someone or even many people who will be your cheerleaders, who will inspire you and who will encourage you to continue to take action towards your goals.  These could be people in your immediate community or even in an online community.  Facebook has so many groups where we are able to connect with like minded individuals in a positive way. If you don’t have anyone in your life who is supporting you, try joining an online community that can support you in achieving your goals.  Check out my Facebook page for lots of motivation, support and to engage with a positive community.

Live your best Boss Lady life!

~ Karen 

Karen Vincent Solutions



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