The Saboteur Vortex

(image by Jared from The Saboteur Vortex – known to make mince meat out of your resolutions and objectives.

Dorothy: [To her dog Toto, having just landed in Oz] “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more”

Do your resolutions always seem to fall by the way side?

Have you even stopped bothering with making any big commitments to change or growth?

If you only make 1 resolution…

I overhead a guy declared that he makes the one and only sensible resolution; to make no resolutions. “Why bother,” he continued “when we all know they never make it past Valentine’s?” It could be said that if you know you never keep resolutions you shouldn’t bother making them, however personal growth requires the pursuit of goals whether they are termed resolutions, goals or desires.

Sadly most goals are never attained. There are tomes devoted to why this is so, reasons ranging from how the goal is framed, to the strategy chosen to achieve it and the resources invested in its attainment. There is one reason however, I hardly ever see addressed on the failure to attain goals.  I call it the saboteur vortex. It is akin to being swept off by a tornado that whips you around until you lose your bearings and deposits you elsewhere, completely distracted from whatever you were focused on before getting caught up in the maelstrom. A better-known relative of the saboteur vortex is procrastination, which leads nowhere slowly. What makes the saboteur vortex insidious is that it is an unconscious form of procrastination. By attracting drama to get caught up in, your goals fall by the wayside without you even realizing it.

I used to be a victim of a particular vortex, which tends to afflict more women than men, other people’s dramas. Women are generally socialized to perceive taking on other people’s problems as a positive thing, we call it being caring and nurturing but it is just arrogant interference. I prided myself over the fact that people with issues sought me out. I would swoop down to rescue them, meanwhile my own life would go on hold, and rescuing others became my life. No colleague, friend, relative or lover was too messed up for me not to take on. A day has a finite amount of hours, and each minute spent cleaning someone else’s backyard is one not spent tending to your own.

Eventually I realized the costs of being the local rescuer and quit my bad habit cold turkey. I cut all ties with my partners in co-dependence. I was so vigilant in ensuring that I do not fall back to my old ways that my inner saboteur had to create another vortex for me that had absolutely nothing to do with anyone else; weight. Gaining it, losing it, monitoring it, being upset about it.

Sadly I am extremely body conscious and get very uncomfortable if I gain more than a couple of kilograms. I discovered that whenever I had a big goal to accomplish, which was bound to catapult me out of my comfort zone, I would develop an insatiable appetite for high calorie foods, which I would wolf down consistently until I gained an uncomfortable amount of weight. I would then put everything else on hold and devote all my energy to losing the weight.

This was my new vortex, which I used to distract myself from becoming more, achieving more, experiencing more. Do you know what yours is? Identifying your saboteur vortex is worthy of being your only resolution for 2011.

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