I've sabotaged myself, again.
But I figured out how do it less and it seems to be working. Plus, access to the entire walking series, and how I'm doing my best in mind/body/spirit.
So there’s a popular quote by Marianne Williamson that says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.”
I mean, I dunno. I guess.
For me, I don’t think it’s that deep. My deepest fear is sacrificing my time (weeks, months, years!), my limited resources, and already depleted energy, to an endeavor that turns to crap.
That’s the kinda thing that keeps me up at night. If success happens to me and comes with a set of new devils, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Right now I’m just worried I’m spending the next five years looking for that bridge only to arrive and see it all busted up, missing way too many boards, the rope fraying down to mere strings.
And this is why I sabotage myself.
I’m protecting myself from taking a long, arduous journey to a broken bridge. And I don’t even realize I’m doing it.
My husband Rob and I have a joke between us called “One last, one last!” It’s when we’ve committed to a discipline, but wanna party one last time. For example we’d say, “Okay, our eating is getting out of hand. We’re eating clean, starting Monday. But for now, let’s have one last Dairy Queen Blizzard.” Then the next day, one of us would be in the mood for nachos from this delicious joint up the street. “Babe— get your shoes. One last, one last!”
It was sabotage. We knew, deep down, that wouldn’t be our last Dairy Queen Blizzard again, so why even pretend? We knew, deep down, we weren’t committed to getting fit, so why set ourselves up for disappointment?
But it’s not just food.
I remember when a writer friend of mine first went mega viral and accrued millions of followers over a weekend. I’d gone viral too, but never racked up those kinds of followers. Her advice was, “When you go viral, put out tons of content.” The theory being, with all that attention, multiple things will likely hit at once, creating a tsunami of followers and new opportunities.
It’s good advice and she was living proof it worked. But there’s this weird mechanism in me that just can’t seem to lean into it like that. When I go viral or something I write performs well—I tend to take my foot off the pedal and won’t post again for a week. I have an Instagram reel going viral right now—over 4 million views and 150,000+ shares. I can barely care, let alone drum up the desire to keep posting feverishly. I’m brain farting on funny ideas right now, anyway. What’s the use?
During the release of both my books, it was an intense time. I should’ve pushed hard around the clock. And yet, I’d get lackadaisical about the whole thing, doing the bare minimum, just sorta putzing around, hoping it all shakes out.
I’m not the only one. Anne Lamott says launch day for an author, “Is pretty much the worst life has to offer.”
I’ve asked myself Why am doing this to myself? I should be giving it my all and I’m just sitting here eating peanut butter with a spoon! so many times.
But I know the answer, it ain’t that deep.
I’m sitting around eating peanut butter with a spoon because I’m afraid of putting in the work and it all going to crap! It’s that simple. A real negative person might say, “If you don’t get your hopes up, you won’t be disappointed.” And while I’m not a negative person per se, there is a part of me that’s like, Preach it sister, that’s a good word.
But here’s the good news. I’m figuring out how to break the cycle. I’ve grown so exhausted living in my own Try → Sabotage → Shame trifecta of hell, I just simply decided to cut it out already.
It was a slow process, but eventually I said to myself, I’m a person who cares for her body. What should I do today? Then when I got home from the gym and showered, I said, I’m a writer. What should I write today?
Then I did that. I know, profound!
I work hard, yes. But it rarely originates from a desperate desire to succeed anymore. I’m learning to do the work simply because it’s who I am and what I do.
Listen all y’all— it’s a sabotage (I’ve been trying to fit in this Beastie Boys reference the entire essay and now I’m just forcing it in, my apologies). All of us do it, or have done it, and we’ll probably do it again because we’re human and life is hard.
But if you have a calling on your life, and I know you do.
And if you want to be healthy in order to keep serving others with that calling, and I know you do.
My advice is simple: Just be who you are, and do the things people like you are supposed to do.
Maybe it will still go to crap. And it probably will, sometimes. But I have faith it won’t, every single time. I’ve had enough miracles in my life to know the end result has nothing to do with me, anyway.
So in the meantime—
I’ll keep writing and speaking, because it’s my calling. It’s who I am. It’s what I do.
I’ll keep caring for my body, because I want to continue serving others with my calling. It’s who I am. It’s what I do.
And I’ll do it again and again and again.
One last, one last.
This week …
I’m doing my best! Mind:
I’m slowing down for the holidays. I’m focusing on my faith, family, serving, loving and giving. Everything that hovers over me and stresses me out can wait until January.
I’m doing my best! Body:
I’m a realist, there is no way I’m going to hit my goal weight this month, nor do I want to. But I am focused on not gaining weight. Every year of my adult life until this year, I’ve gained nearly ten pounds from the start of fall until the end of January. Then I panic and spend the rest of spring and summer getting the ten pounds off. Round and round I go. This is the year I break the cycle. I’m still following my strength training program, I’m eating well, and eating holiday treats, in moderation. Or if I overeat treats, which happens often, I reel in how much I eat for the rest of the day.
And obviously I’m walking! For those of you behind, here’s the entire walking series. Take it at your own pace and enjoy.
I’m doing my best! Spirit:
My goal has been to spend two hours journaling, reading scripture and praying in the early morning hours. I used to think two hours was too much, but now I feel like it isn’t enough.
For next week: I’m working on a piece about running into Ree Drummond, all by herself, in a hallway. Then I did something I still cringe about to this day. Until then, my friend!
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Have we met? I’m Anna Lind Thomas, a humor writer out of Omaha, Nebraska. I’m listed as one of USA Today’s top ten funniest women writers, and author of the best selling book We’ll Laugh About This (Someday) and my latest - I’m Not Ready for This. Once you read them, text me (number’s in the back and I respond!). Don’t forget to say hi on Facebook and Instagram.
What a wonderful piece of writing. Just what I needed to read, when I needed to read it. Thank you!