Stopping Self-Sabotage

Stopping Self Sabotage – Understanding Secondary Gain With Amber Kay

In this video blog, Amber looks at why we keep on doing those things that we know we shouldn’t – those things that stop us from getting the results that we want. She then looks at how to stop these habits once and for all!



It’s all about working out what benefit we get from those destructive habits – because if there wasn’t a benefit then we wouldn’t do them.

After you’ve watched the video, go through these important questions:

  1. Firstly, identify the behaviour/area that you want to improve. Any aspect of your physical and mental health where you’re telling yourself you want it to be different but haven’t made the change is worth looking at. What do you tell yourself about why it isn’t how you want it?
  2. Next, ask yourself ‘what has been the payoff of not choosing to change until now?’. Think about the secondary gain (benefits) that you’re getting from this behaviour, and go beyond the ‘I don’t know’ response that may pop up. Ask yourself – if I did know, what might it be? And be open to what comes up for you.
  3. Next, think about what the secondary gain has prevented you from being, doing, having or experiencing? What don’t you have in your life because you had the secondary gain instead? What do you have that you don’t want in your life because of it?
  4. What are you going to take action on now that you have identified the secondary gain? What is going to be different from now on? Write this down and stick it up as a commitment to yourself. Write a list of all the ways you’re going to meet your needs more resourcefully. For example, if it’s emotional eating, write a list of all the ways that you can change your state that doesn’t involve food e.g. going for a walk, listening to music, calling a friend or having a shower. The next time you find yourself doing that old thing, break your pattern – do something unexpected e.g. clap your hands, sing your favourite song, or my personal favourite, give yourself a very painful thwack on the wrist with an elastic band. Whatever will work for you and then immediately do one of the actions on your list.
  5. Finally, you must hold yourself accountable when you become aware of the secondary gain returning. How will you make sure you continue to be free of it? Will you tell someone you trust to pull you up if you fall back into an old pattern of behaviour or thinking? How will you ensure that you follow through, always from now on? Work out your strategy.

This blog post originally appeared on the Fresh Start blog:

Reproduced with permission.

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