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Is Your Past Sabotaging Your Future?

Written by: Eleanor Oliver-Edmonds, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Have you ever wondered why despite your best efforts you cannot seem to break through the invisible barrier blocking you from reaching your desired dream? You set a goal and go after it with gusto and then several weeks later you begin to procrastinate, doubt your skills or… insert your go-to method of self-sabotage here. Try as you might, you cannot achieve the self-actualized promised land known as success through sheer willpower and determination alone. You may be able to do so for short sprints but if willpower alone contributed to success there would be no need for diet pills, personal trainers, or relationship gurus. In order to push through the barrier, you must identify the culprit behind your self-sabotaging behavior, or it will keep resurfacing.

Before you become frustrated and label yourself with the dreaded “F-word,” your sabotaging behavior is not an indicator of failure. Your angst and agony may be the result of out-dated programming going as far back as early childhood and is running behind the scenes. It’s like a ghost app on your cell phone concealing information. Until you get to the source and root of the problem, you’ll continue to experience this annoying internal system nuisance. How can you remedy this and get back on track with your goals? Pay attention to your inner self-talk, it may provide clues when your actions are incongruent with your desired outcome. Here are several examples of misaligned beliefs and actions:

  • You feel a tug of anxiety when you approach a challenging task so you avoid doing it.

  • You have a deadline looming and procrastinate doing the work which creates a cycle of stress and frustration.

  • You have a successful outcome to a big project, however instead of celebrating you tell yourself you got lucky and this probably won’t happen again.

  • When someone congratulates you on a job well done, you downplay your achievement and point out the mistakes you made.

  • You talk yourself out of taking action because you believe it won’t matter anyway.

Most of our impressionable early messaging began in childhood; some of the input we received was positive, some emotionally harmful, and therein lies the conundrum. If left unaddressed, the negative messaging may influence the choices you make. Why do we have a desire to create meaningful changes in our lives and yet do something counterproductive to interfere with it? To better understand, let’s take a look at how our brains work. Your actions (or inactions) may be the result of your brain’s survival mechanism. You are hardwired for survival, not for success. As you pursue your goals and stretch outside of your comfort zone, your brain searches for patterns with the single objective to keep you safe and free from any perceived

Harm. When the amygdala, the primal function of your brain is activated, it signals the fight or flight response; instinctively you will seek safety, security and comfort. So as you pursue a promotion, launch a new business, or a budding relationship becomes serious, if these changes create feelings of stress, fear or anxiety, your brain responds by going into protection mode.

Outward signs this is happening may include putting off essential tasks, avoidance, putting others' needs above your own, comfort eating, and sending mixed messages. Your brain produces these old programs to protect you from embarrassment, hurt, rejection, fear of failure and more. Pay attention to moments when you tell yourself defeating statements like: “I’m not qualified; nothing ever goes my way; life is too hard; I’m not rich, I don’t deserve nice things; it’s not even worth it to try”. Such phrases and thoughts should trigger your internal alarm bells as these limiting beliefs only serve to hold you back from what you actually want.

Would you ever speak this way to your spouse, child, friend, boss or family member? If you did, you would likely be labeled a bully. You owe it to yourself to show the same care and grace when speaking to yourself. You don’t have to stay stuck in the counterproductive loop. It is possible to uninstall old programming and replace it with powerful messaging and updated beliefs aligned with your aspirations. Once you learn to discern your inner voice from limiting beliefs imposed by others it becomes easier to override the inner conflict affecting the results you want. Here’s a hint: your intuition or inner voice is always aligned with your purpose, mission and vision. Your inner voice is harmonious and guides you forward while the negative, outdated programming pulls you back. When limiting thoughts pop up, apply this litmus test to determine whether the belief is based on an experience, a residual belief from your past, or a negative belief from someone else:

  1. Where did this belief come from?

  2. Is this belief true?

  3. Does this belief serve you today?

  4. Is this belief congruent with your goals?

Replacing negative messaging with an empowering statement is the key to overriding outdated beliefs. Create a brief statement that aligns with your goals and repeat it several times throughout the day. The late Dr. Wayne Dyer, wrote extensively about the power of spoken and unspoken words. He spoke in the context of becoming mindful of the words that follow when we say, “I am.” Everything that follows “I am” holds the power to create your reality. When you understand this power you can emboldened yourself to shift the narrative and choose empowering statements in alignment with who you are and who you want to become. For example, if you have a goal to be punctual but repeatedly tell yourself, “I am always late, I can’t help it,” change your self-talk to adopt new empowering behavior and habits. Tell yourself “I am easily and effortlessly arriving to appointments on time or early.” You can override, “I am not good enough” with “I am worthy and deserving of achieving my dreams and desires.” Shift your disempowering thoughts to an upgraded program which motivates, inspires and empowers you.

You are meant to fulfill the desire and vision you have within you. As you begin to replace old programming and messaging with new, you will find yourself in harmony with what you want and taking action which supports your desired outcome. You may even find the challenges become fewer as you are in alignment and flow and no longer in conflict with yourself. Whenever resistance or sabotaging behavior crops up, repeat the process of reviewing your inner beliefs and uninstalling any thoughts that no longer serve you. Growth comes when you align your beliefs and values with where you’re going and who you’re becoming, not where or who you were.

For more info, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and visit my website!


Eleanor Oliver-Edmonds, Brainz Magazine Executive Contributor

Elle (Eleanor) Oliver-Edmonds is a writer, speaker, and certified virtual coach. She pivoted from her advertising/marketing career as a creative strategist crafting consumer-directed messaging for top household brands and applied her creative problem-solving expertise to coaching individuals.

She’s founder and creator of the S.H.I.F.T. Factor, an online transformational space where Elle empowers women over 40 to reconnect with their dreams, overcome barriers, and strategize a path to success. The five-part inside-out process is based on the guiding principles, tools and resources Elle successfully used to reimagine and redesign her own life after loss of job, marriage, home and business.

She now lives a life where everyday looks like vacation. She relocated from hectic city life in Los Angeles to the Palm Desert area where she lives with her husband, and is affectionately referred to as “Coach Elle in Coachella” by her clients. Elle is the proud mom of two entrepreneurs who inspire her to follow her passion of living with intention and creating a ripple effect.



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