I’m always frustrated and fascinated when I see someone self-sabotage their own success.  Some say it’s because people don’ t want to work hard and want results with little to no work.  That’s probably true.  I suspect many people are working under the impression that if it’s hard to do, it must be impossible to do.  Or not the right way to do it.


It’s called a work ethic.  It’s setting a goal and doing what you need to do to reach it, accepting that the time it takes and the work involved is what’s variable.  There are thousands of motivational quotes floating around about it.  But those quotes are just white noise if you haven’t already made the decision to let nothing stop you.  The quotes are great little reminders to keep your focus when you’re distracted by life, but a quote isn’t going to do much for you if you’re not open to being motivated.

Did you think I was talking about fitness?

It’s 4th quarter at school.  Kids are giving up.  They are weeks away from reaching their goals and achieving great things, but instead they are sitting down and quitting because they are tired and stressed out.  Happens every year.  Some students just won’t try.  Some students think they are ‘trying’ when they are really just ‘wishing’.  Some students work really hard, alone or with their friends instead of their teachers – they are working, but they aren’t working smart.

I talk with my fellow teachers and we all see this.  It doesn’t matter what the subject is that we teach.

And then I leave work and move into my other world – health and fitness.  I see and hear the same stuff.  I have a lot of friends who read my blogs, and I want to be really clear about this – I’m not talking about any one person in particular.   I hear and see this EVERYWHERE.  It’s really perplexing for me when I hear it at work about fitness.  I have heard teachers express frustration about students not following through for their own success, and then when the conversation topic switches, they start reciting a list of reasons why they cannot follow through for their own success with their health goals.  At the gym, I’ve been told directly by more than one person that the reason they cannot lose the weight is because it’s hard for people over X years old to do it.  (Usually X = an age younger than me.)  I just stand there and look at them.  When I’m feeling a little feisty  I ask them to follow me down the hall where my before/after picture hangs and ask, “Really?  Tell me more about how that’s impossible.”   When I get home and take an hour to relax and catch up on Facebook, what do I see?  People who at some point have asked for my help have  posted pictures of their drinking and eating escapades.  (I hide them from my feed.  I don’t have time for that.  I’m sure they have hidden me from their feeds by now, too.  All I do is check-in at the gym or post pics of my dogs.)

Oh, I do the same thing- there is a lot of stuff I don’t keep up with and I have a list of reasons why I don’t follow through.  (I’m sure there are a few of you reading this who are waiting on me to do something I said I would do.  It’s going to happen – I promise.  I really needed to write to clear my mental cache.)

It’s all about focus, I guess.  We succeed at the things we focus on and work on, right?  Simple.  Not easy.  Simple.

I find it interesting that the kid who tells me why he can’t succeed in my class sounds a lot like the adult who tells me they can’t succeed in reaching their health goals.

And on the days when hear this stuff all day, no matter where I’m at – well, that’s just frustrating.  I want to slap sense into people.  Instead, I focus on what I can control.  I ignore everybody and go lift.  So if it seems like I’ve disappeared for a few days, you’ll have an idea why.  I need to block out the noise and focus.  I have a goal.  9 weeks from today, actually.



Filed under Life, Motivation, Opinions, Venting, Ranting, Teaching

12 responses to “Self-Sabotage

  1. Colin DeWaay

    I think this is my favorite thing I’ve ever read from you, and that’s saying a lot.


  2. Colin DeWaay

    Reblogged this on uberbeastmode and commented:
    “We succeed at the things we focus on and work on, right? Simple. Not easy. Simple.” Worded better than I ever could. Well said Tammy, well said.


  3. Great post. This is a share for sure.


  4. Yep. I agree completely that it’s all a mind and heart game. In my experience that’s what most people struggle with. Too bad we can’t package up ‘the fire within’ and hand it out to the people who need it the most!


  5. Kim Hawkins

    Thanks. Self-sabotage is my biggest challenge…always has been. Reading stuff like this helps.


  6. Brenda

    In my world I call it the 80/20 principle. 2 out of every 10 people I counsel really want to change and are ready and DO make the effort. The other 8 aren’t ready for whatever reason. If you Google “stages of change” there are some helpful diagrams relating to where people get stuck in the process. Usually it’s where their (our) flesh HAS to surrender… and WE (ourselves) hold the keys. We keep fighting and fighting for an alternate solution where we don’t have to feel pain. Once we accept that we have to feel discomfort and continue to walk through the discomfort FOR A WHILE…. we start to get it… hope… ful…y

    Great Post – and I agree with the other gals… one of your best!


  7. Debbie Hinton

    Excellent. Being an instructor at a Junior College for 29 years, I saw students “wig out” the last few weeks of the semester time and time again. I counseled hundreds of students and encouraged them to “stay the course” and “complete what you’ve started” trying to make them mentally see that the results will be so rewarding. However, I have never applied my “wisdom” to my “struggles” with losing weight. Thanks for the new perspective. And, I don’t know why I have used so many “”s in this post. Ha I am 55 and trying to lose 50 lbs. I have 20 and 21 year old children and a very fit husband. Going to the gym is a family affair. I just give up right when it really starts hurting. You are an inspiration and I love following your progress. Thanks again!


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