Today's Episode

The Jessica Cooke Podcast


Hi and welcome back to another episode of the Jessica Cooke podcast.

I am super excited to be here and I'm really excited to talk about this topic with you today, which is all about self sabotage.

I thought it might be a really timely episode to do because I know many of you myself included are going to be setting goals for 2024.

Um especially around this time of year.

I love New Year's resolutions.

I think it's such a brilliant thing to do.

I love setting goals.

I love writing action steps.

I love the dreaming part of the end and the beginning of a year.

I love dreaming and visualizing and thinking of all the things that I want to do.

I love giving myself space to imagine what's achievable, how I set goals is I set my goals for the whole year and then I break it down into quarters.

So I break down all my big goals that I want to achieve by the end of the year into quarterly goals.

So, OK, so if I want to have this goal achieved by the end of the year, I'm going to have to have this part of it done by March, this part by June, this part by September and this part by December.

So I do a big goal setting session for the year and then I do um break that down into quarterly goals.

This is something I'm going to be doing with my clients in the new year.

And then um on top of that, I make sure that now I have all aspects of my life.

So not just the way I used to set goals, which would be just very much work based goals.

Now, I have goals based on, like my mental health, my connections like hobbies, friendships, fitness, health.

Um, my business, lots of travel.

Like, for example, this year, a big goal of mine was to get to New York and I did it and it's just wonderful to tick it off the box on the checklist.

And I, the way I write my goals is I just use a Google doc and then I transfer my goals to a Google Slide Google slides.

And then in those Google slides is where I do.

Um I break it down into quarterly goals and the things that I need to achieve per quarter.

Now, I used to have four different Google Slide docks kind of for each quarter.

And then I realize it's actually easier just to do one big dock because then you make sure you're also doing the reviewing because I've realized that I am very good at setting goals now and working towards them.

But III I have to be reminded to reflect and review and figure out well, did I achieve all of the goals?

I set out to do?

Not the ones that I just fully know about.

So I've just learned over the years that if you make something really inaccessible, the chances of you going back to read it are a lot smaller than if you just make it really easy for yourself to find exactly where you write your goals.

Also, before I get stuck into self sabotage.

I just want to let you know that I also have a vision board.

So I just have a really basic cork board um in the office where I'm in now, which is my home office and I have on yellow post, it notes stuck to the cork board, the goals that I want achieved.

And there's been so many scientific studies done to show that the power of passing by your goals every day, seeing it somewhere really visible is huge.

Um So, I mean, that's really worked for me this year.

I achieved a lot of goals this year and I really do credit it down to a few things.

Number one, having my goals that I can see them somewhere visible.

Number two, having them pretty achievable and not setting those huge stretch yourself goals, those goals to me bring about stress and anxiety.

And I used to not really listen to my own self.

I used to kind of listen to other people on social media and think, oh my God, I have to do these big stretch goals.

I have to do things that get me massively out of my comfort zone.

I disagree with that.

Now, I love the slow and steady growth.

Um And I think if I find that stressful and anxiety inducing having these massive goals, then, then why do it?

Um So I have my vision board with my goals that I can see every day.

I have my Google Docs with my goals, my year goals.

Then I have my Google slides where I have my goals breaking down per quarter and I make sure that every bit of my life is being looked at not just one or two things.

Um So without further ado, let's get stuck into self self sabotage, which I'm sure all of us do.

I took a real trip down memory lane preparing for this podcast episode and it blew my mind.

It blew my mind just to think back and to reflect on how much I have self sabotaged down through the years.

Um And I want to share with you five symptoms of self sabotage and you, you can see yourself whether or not you can relate to any of them.

I see self sabotage a lot going on with um clients that have come into my program with myself.

Self sabotage is really strong and it comes from um what many people believe is, is a, is a need to stay true to our identity.

A real need to stay true to our identity.

So I want you to think of the analogy and you might have heard this before about the thermostat and you being your own personal thermostat.

So let's say, for example, we'll just use the analogy of heating a room and it's really, really freezing outside.

It's like one degrees outside and you are inside your house and you don't want it to be one degrees inside your house.

So you put the thermostat on to say 20 degrees.

So you decide right, 20 degrees.

This is what I want to be.

And what happens is this is what happens in our life that we have our own internal thermostat and we, our thermostat is based upon our own identity.

So if your own thermostat, for example, is set at 30 degrees, then if you start doing better than you believe you should.

So you're, you go up above 30 degrees.

Did I say 30 degrees?

Your own personal thermostat is 30 degrees.

If you start to go above that, if you start to progress financially in a fitness point of view, um, from a health point of view and it doesn't match your identity or the thermostat at 30 degrees that you've put yourself at, then you start to self sabotage because you don't believe you either deserve it or that that's or you don't identify with, with the successes you're beginning to get.

So you sabotage it to bring it back down to 30 degrees.

It also works the other way.

If you're set up your own personal thermostat is set at 30 degrees and you start to do really badly in one area of your life, like maybe financially or you start to gain loads of weight that you do everything you can, you hit, you know, when we speak about hitting our rock bottom, like I'm sure many of you can relate.

You all have, like in the past, maybe your rock bottom with your weight, that kind of trigger moment where you're like, oh my God, I have to do something about that and then you do it for a little bit to get you back up to 30 degrees and then you stay there and you stop and you start to backtrack and then maybe you go down again, but you always go back up to that 30 degrees.

So that's, that's what your personal thermostat is and we all have one that's 100% fact.

So things go bad with your health, your body, your relationship, your career, your finances, you hit a threshold and begin to do everything you possibly could to make a change.

But unfortunately, the same thing happens on the other side, if you're at 30 degrees and you start doing better than you believe.

You should stronger, you become stronger financially, you get in the best shape of your life.

You've deeper relationships, more joy for most people going from 30 degrees to 40 degrees to 50 degrees.

Their brain says, hey, what are you doing up here?

You're at 30 degrees.

What are you doing here when you've achieved beyond what you've ever dreamed of?

You'll feel the engine trip and bring you right back down to where you used to be a K A self sabotage.

Now, isn't that so interesting?

I just find that absolutely fascinating.

And the first person to introduce me to this thermostat analogy.

And it makes such sense to me is Tony Robbins.

And that's exactly what I have been doing all of my life.

I have my own personal thermostat.

It's at a certain degrees I have, I can give you so many examples of when I've self sabotaged to bring me back down.

Um, or, or the other way when I've been at rock bottom to bring me back up, it is insane.

So I want to share with you five symptoms of self sabotage that you know them so that you can look out for them.

So that when you are achieving your goals in 2024 if you start to slip, you can just have a little check in with yourself and ask yourself, whoa whoa, whoa, hang on a second.

Am I self sabotaging?


So we have five.

So I'm going to start.

So number one is comparison when you start getting into comparison mode, that is a symptom of you self sabotaging.

And I want to give you a little example of this, share with you a little story when I was in NPE, which was a fitness business kind of consultancy um community.

And I had a coach and it was a big group of fitness businesses that all striving to get healthy.

And it was terrific with a really great coach where we had many coaches and they taught us how to grow a gym how to grow a fitness business, how to grow a gym.

And there was, they had many clients, one of me being included and they had a really strong community, very like the community we have and thrive community.

They had a tribe of people all going the same direction, all looking for the same thing.

Now, back when I joined them, I mean, I've had a big period of growth this year personally, in the sense that I've healed a lot and grown a lot.

And I've, I've learned a lot about myself.

So I'm not like this anymore.

But back then back before I knew anything about this, I found the whole experience really, really triggering.

And because of that, I spent most of my time in that group, which could have been so much fun.

I, I spent most of my time really anxious and really, really stressed out because I constantly compared myself to every single person in that group.

If somebody had a win, I got so stressed out about it and I would always bring it back to myself.

Isn't that so bad?

Like somebody would be celebrating on the group.

Like, guess what I did?

This is amazing.

We, we, we grew our gym by this amount this month and I would instantly internalize that and make it personal.

I'd be happy for them, but I would use that information as a stick to beat myself with.

And I would feel so bad about myself.

It's kind of weird saying that now.

Um But it's the truth.

I spent the whole time just in this comparison mode and every time somebody said they're doing well, I got stressed out and anxious and then I started feeling really bad about myself and my loud inner critic would come out so much.

You're never going to be like them.

Look at what they're achieving and, you know, all that made me do nothing.

It throws me into inaction.

I'd be working away at my computer.

We'd be in our members on the Facebook group.

I would see somebody post up a win.

I would get really stressed out really insecure and on that, like, am I doing enough?

I'm never going to be like them.

I'm not good enough, would kick in and it just made me freeze and not want to do anything at all.

Ie self sabotage.

And the biggest thing that I've learned especially over this year is that if you don't love yourself enough, comparison can tip you over the edge and stop you succeeding because you'll self sabotage because you're in comparison mode and comparison mode stops you from succeeding.


That's exactly what happened to me.

And I left NPE, I left that fitness consultancy really unhappy and I look back now and I think my God, what an amazing community of people that I was part of and I did have a little bit of fun, but I could have had so much fun and I could have learned from my peers so much more and not being in such comparison mode.

And it was because I didn't love myself enough.

So this is the first thing to watch out for.

If you are working at getting fit and healthy in 2024 it's a big goal for you.

Just write it down now or just watch out for comparison and it can be a sure sign that you are self sabotaging.

And if you don't love yourself, chances are you will go into comparison mode.

So what you really want to do is just talk yourself down from that and say I don't do that anymore.

I don't compare myself to others.

I'm on my own journey and just talk yourself down from it and acknowledge that you have a little bit of comparison mode only because you don't love yourself enough yet and keep going, keep going.

This knowledge like knowing about this is absolute fuel, it's going to help you so much.

We're not striving to be perfect and to rid ourselves of comparison mode that will always come up and bubble up.

What we're trying to do is just acknowledge it and notice it and go OK.

I'm, I'm feeling like this now.

I'm not going to self sabotage.

We don't do that anymore.

I'm getting out of my comparison mode and I'm continuing along my journey.

Number two is living in the past, this can be a big symptom of self sabotage and it's something that I did for absolute years.

And if you haven't achieved something yet, and you embark on, for example, in 2024 new fitness and health goals and you're a couple of weeks in and you hear yourself say to yourself, here you go again.

You've missed a workout or you've had a night where you've eaten loads of rubbish food And you think here I go again and you start to look back at previous failures or setbacks or challenges.

Now, when I do that, when I start to tell myself this has never worked before, you've never succeeded at this before.

And I start to look back, I get really stressed out and anxious and when I get stressed out and anxious, it makes me not want to take action, which means I self sabotage, which means I stop, which means I've self sabotage.

So I, I had a kind of eureka moment with the kids there.

Not so long ago, they're eight and 10.

I just turned 10.

Emily is eight and they're at that age where they're learning to get better at football and basketball and Gaelic and soccer and tywonda.

So there's a kind of a lot of practice that I'm, I'm, I'm getting exposed to, I'm seeing young kids practice.

And one of the things I've noticed about them both is that if we're in the park and they're practicing something that, like, last week, for example, Emily said, oh, I can't do that.

I can't do a point, you know, where you hit over the bar in Gaelic.


I can't do that.

I, I haven't been able to do that yet and I was like, oh, my God, that's so interesting.

She's looking back and she's saying she can't do it and she hasn't done it and I can see it's really affecting her effort that she's putting in.

It's like mind blowing.

I'm looking at her going, that is mental.

She's not really bothering to try because she's just thinking she can't.

I'm like, that is me all over with things all over with things.

And I just had this eureka moment.

It just made it so simple that just, just, just looking at Emily just made the whole thing so simple for me.

That that's exactly what I do.

But in my head it's much more sophisticated than that, but it's not, I look back on the past and I make that sometimes determine how the future is going to go for me.

And that means I'm not forward looking, I'm not looking ahead into what can be.

I'm looking at all the ways things could go wrong and I don't know about you.

But when I start to do that, I self sabotage because I take no action because I get stressed out and anxious.

And I think, well, if I've always done this, what's different this time and I stop, I'm almost like waiting for myself to mess up.

But when you wait for yourself to mess up, you're focusing on, waiting to mess up.

So you're going to mess up.

So if self sabotage through comparison hasn't got you, then make sure self sabotage through living in the past doesn't get you.

And if you manage to keep going with those two hurdles, then number three, a symptom that you self sabotage, which blows my mind is progress.

Now, I can relate to this so much.

I've seen it so many times in the past and with myself and with clients and members of the gym and of course, we all do it.

You know, somebody who is overweight and unhealthy and they start a fitness program.

This happened to one of my clients years ago.

She's not with me anymore back in the gym in Inspire fitness on the tune Road.

And she came to me and she was really unhealthy and she was drinking too much and eating too much and she was, her clothes were really tight.

We didn't use the weighing scales.

I still don't.

But I'm guessing she was a few stone overweight.

She was about two dress sizes overweight and she came to me to get fit and to lose weight.

And she did.

Now making the story sound really short like, ah, she did, there was a lot of setbacks, a lot of challenges.

She pushed through.

She got exactly where she wanted to be.

She healed her relationship with food, she got fit, she got healthy, she got into terrific shape.

And then she thanked me for my help and she left.

And about six months later, she contacted me and she was right back at square one.

I see this with myself the whole time and I see it with so many people the whole time because I'm a fitness coach.

So I get exposed to this all the time that a lot of us get fit.

And then the very thing that got us there, we stop because we're there a little bit of progress, a little taste of success and we stopped doing it.


Because it's unfamiliar, it's unfamiliar and it's uncomfortable and we don't like being out of our comfort zone and maybe our thermostat was at 30 degrees and now we're at 50 degrees and we're doing better than we thought we would and we're in better shape than we thought we would.

So we drag ourselves back down to what's known and what's predictable and what we're really familiar with and what we're really familiar with is where we're at now.

And what we're not really familiar with for some people is, is at that level where they're really in great shape and they're really fit and healthy.

So, a symptom of self sabotage can actually be progress.

So look out for that and be super careful and look at it and analyze it with everything you do in life.

Do you get to a point and achieve what you wanted to achieve and then stop doing the very thing that got you there because you're not comfortable.

But you'll think it's because of external forces, you'll, your brain will come up with different reasons like, oh, well, it's because of that.

I had to stop because I got injured or I had to stop because your brain will come up with a million different reasons why you stopped but are so conscious right?

Inside of ourselves.

For many of us, it's because we're uncomfortable at that level of progress.

So we self sabotage to bring ourselves back down to 30 degrees.

So if you've managed to avoid comparison and living in the past and progress and the fourth, we only have five is a symptom of self sabotage is focusing on what you cannot control and staying locked in that.

And when you, when you focus on what you can't control, that helps you makes you feel really stressed out and anxious and feel like you have no control.

So you lose the personal responsibility aspect to your own goals, you lose your own power and you start to think of other things that are outside of your control.

Like all the stuff like traffic getting places time, all the other reasons why something won't work for you or why you can't achieve your goals that are external forces that you can't control anyway.

So a symptom of self sabotage could be, you could be going along nicely achieving your goals.

And then all of a sudden because you're afraid of the unknown and afraid of discomfort, you latch on to things like, well, this is, this is happening outside of my control.

So there's nothing I can do about it and you backtrack and it's almost like you use them as excuses.

And instead of taking personal responsibility for your goals, for your achievement, you hand it over and you give it to somebody else or something else and you take no control and you get, you really focus on the things that you can't control.

That is another symptom of self sabotage.

And when you get stressed out about things you can't control for most of us, stress equals inaction.

And when you're in action, when you're not taking any action, you're self sabotaging yourself.

So you're just back to square one again.

The fifth and final symptom of self sabotage is focusing on what you don't have.

And this was me all over black and white scarcity, scarcity mindset.

I'll give you an example back when I owned the gym, December used to be a very stressful time.

Nobody wanted to join a gym in December.

It is the quietest month when you own a gym and it's really stressful.

You would think owning a gym, you would go.

I'm going to let this go.

December is just a really quiet month.

And I mentioned in other podcast episodes before owning a gym is just so moment, mentally huge.

It's just a huge undertaking.

The rates are massive.

The rent is massive.

Insurance is massive.

Everything is just on a massive scale.

So in December, I used to get really stressed out and anxious and I used to just get into this really scarcity, like I don't have enough, There's not enough.

And that made me take inaction and just freeze and get really stressed out.

So, rather than focusing on, well, what can I do about this?

What can I do in January?

Like and get focused and get productive?

I would just be stressed out.

I would just be stressed out.

I would just sit there and like either cry or just be stressed out or, or give out about it to Joe and, and worry, oh my God.

That does nothing.

It does nothing.

I, I genuinely have healed from that.

I'm genuinely much better at handling stressful situations now because I can separate it out and all I want to do is take action now and I've wasted so much time on stress and worry.

I've the biggest stress head and worrier ever.

And I just feel like I've wasted so much time doing that that I just, I'm so obsessed now with learning how to really enjoy my life now, regardless of what's going on.

Um So really adopting an abundant, an abundance mindset, even if it doesn't feel like abundance, when you, when you practice gratitude and when you just really feel abundance coming off you, I mean, you can do it any time you can close your eyes.

I'm doing it now and just think of the wonderful things you have in your life.

It beats scarcity.

Scarcity is just addictive like you, you get it when for me, like in December in the gym, you get it when you are maybe financially worried at a certain time of the year.

And then it just triggers you to thinking you don't have enough and then it takes you away from action, it takes you away from action.

So the five symptoms that I can relate to that are symptoms of self sabotage are one comparison to living in the past three.



What you can't control, focusing on what you can't control and five focusing on what you don't have.

So my dear friend, I hope you found this episode helpful.

I really hope you did.

And if you did, please share it with a friend or rate it wherever you get your podcasts and I would appreciate it so, so much.

Have a wonderful, wonderful day.

And thank you so much for listening and I'll see you soon.

Thanks for listening to another episode of the Jessica Cook podcast.

Did that go by way too quickly or is it just me if you want more you can head on over to Jessica Cook dot IE forward slash playlist.

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  • 3/1/24. BRILLIANT Jessica! Listened last night, but was tired and got bogged down on the Tony R analogy, so I left it. Fresher this morning, jotted as I listened and it makes 100% sense today! Ps…can relate to them ALL!! Yippee to this discovery…..a real golden nugget! Thank you. Xxx

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