A little on Self Sabotage

SO I have this big Solo Exhibition coming up in July. And do you know what I realised this morning, that I was self sabotaging and using every excuse and shiny object under the sun to distract myself from just doing what I have to do.... and that's just PAINT!!!

How many paintings have I done out of 20 ------> that would be a sum total of 2!

Yeah I know, that's a massive shortfall to try and make up in a short period of time.


I printed this note to myself and blu tacked it onto my easel, my desk, my computer screen, my fridge and anywhere else I may go to procrastinate.


I am curious to know, do any of my friends have any great tips on how to get really really really focused or even better, any great  KICK BUTT tools that you use?

My mantra for the year was FOCUS - follow one course until success...

and so far...

I am a little embarrassed to say, that I have fallen quite a bit off that course. 

So my dear friends, if you do have anything you can suggest, please leave a comment below xx

As always, thank you for popping by


Nat xx



Back to blog


Hey Nat…. I think you’re back on track and have such wonderful support around you so that’s wonderful but I’ve only just had an opportunity to read your blog and its reminded me a bit of myself when I’m self sabotaging and lacking motivation and focus and I thought I might share a quote and some thoughts I keep around me to help keep on track. Of course my self sabotaging and lack of motivation has nothing to do with my career or creativity but my weight. We all have areas in our lives that throw up challenges and that is very personal and specific to each person but I think the ‘tools’ to managing and handling these things can be common and similar. My most favourite quote is a Nike (the sports brand) one. For me it hits the nail on the head. To me it is relevant to ‘The Big Picture’ as well as every single day (sometimes just even dragging myself out of bed). I also agree with the previous comments that breaking things down into smaller chunks can sometimes get you through. When I get home from work and just don’t want to get on the treadmill and go for a walk, I tell myself just 10 minutes….. that’s all you have to do and then once I get to the 10min mark I think ok well I’m warmed up now I’ll do another 10 and then soon enough I’ve done 30mins or more. I regularly have those arguments with myself in my head but ‘trick’ myself into ‘just doing it’ Quote is:

Just do it.
The first step is always the hardest. It does take a lot of energy and will to actually go out and get something accomplished. But how can I expect to get things done without actually taking action on my thoughts and aspirations?
“Actions speak louder than words.” Always try to apply this to my everyday life and try to always “walk the walk” instead of “talking the talk.” If you always say that you’re going to do something but never do, you are going to end up disappointing a lot of people, including yourself.
So take it upon yourself and
Just do it.
No excuses.
No complaining.
Just do it.

The other point I wanted to make was “what is the worst thing that can happen”. With self sabotage I think we’re afraid to fail but maybe we’re also afraid to succeed. What happens if your solo exhibition is a raving success, are you worried about what happens next? Will you feel pressure that you have to go bigger and better from there? (that will be entirely up to you) Also what happens if its not as big a success as you might hope it to be – does that mean you’re no good? (Absolutely not!) My opinion is none of the above questions really matter, irrespective of how things pan out you’ll figure it out as you go along. You have a real talent Nat and the world is ready for you, you just need to catch up in your mind. Just do it my friend :-) xo


Two things… set yourself 15 mins to go into the studio and START or DO something. Tell yourself, you are not required to do more… just go in and do something for 15 minutes. If the mood takes you, stay and do more, but if not Leave the room. (no expectations is the key here). 2nd thing… your note reminded me of a wonderful friend of mine who wrote this song…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbWwQnmytJw.. in case the link doesn’t work.. her name is Prita Grealy and the song is Get Out of Your Own Way…. this is just for you to hum along to as you procrastinate and know that we all do it! xxxxx


DO TERRY have a fabulous smelling focus blend that you can diffuse where you paint. Rub on the back of your neck and temples or just cup in your hands and breathe in. It’s the good oil that helps you stay on track. Works on Mr 7. You know where to head ♡


I heartily agree with both Lucie and Wendy on this one!

Here are a few of my thoughts on the matter:

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS and AWESOMENESS on overcoming this cognitive hurdle. Recognising when you’re blocking yourself is the first step to getting past it and getting stuff done. That’s actually the first thing I was going to recommend, (identifying what’s holding you back and why you’re resisting), but you’re way past that! High Five (P.S. Where did you get that note? It’s awesome!)

I also wanted to share a few other tricks I use in my own battles against procrastination/self-sabotage:

I find that zooming out to look at the bigger picture of what I’m trying to achieve, and why, helps me stay focused on the smaller tasks at hand. It reminds me what I’m working towards and that this is merely a step in getting there.

I’m channeling Lucie on this one: always break the bigger tasks down into the smallest possible chunks (things that you can easily tackle of an afternoon, or over the course of a couple of hours). It’s the easiest and most effective way to get around those overwhelm monkeys.

I’m Wendy now (I’m wearing a different wig): This is a biggie. I brain dump all my tasks/to dos into an online app called Trello (just to get them out of my head), but I set daily goals ON PAPER the night before. As an artist pen and paper are so much more physical and real to me! It’s way too easy to ignore things digitally (and we often train ourselves to, thanks to Facebook notifications etc) but I can stick that piece of paper anywhere, just as you do with your notes.

I set myself one main business goal per day, along with smaller business goals and personal goals. You’ve GOT to plan time for yourself to keep your energy up and stay balanced, so make sure to plan/schedule some ‘me’ time doing the things you want to do.

When setting these goals I apply the Good, Better, Best system. This is essentially a way of recognising how much you’ve achieved in the day, and gives you a little bit of wiggle room for what you actually get done. You set one main goal and then you say “Okay, what’s the absolute minimum I need to do on it today?”, and then set your ‘Good’ baseline. So maybe if you can paint an eye today that’s your ‘Good’ or bare minimum, then maybe your ‘Better’ would be paint an eye and a nose, and your ‘Best’ would be to paint the entire face! That way, even if you’ve only managed to do the eye today you know you’ve done a good job, met your goal, and you’re not getting down on yourself for not doing better. Which brings me to…

Nothing EVER goes according to plan. Life always throws one hurdle or another at us and we end up getting thrown off course. Acknowledge that nothing is set in stone and learn to roll with the punches. If life throws rotten fruit your way just accept that it happened, nod, smile and carry on. Don’t ever blame yourself for getting off track. It’s an ongoing process. A journey. There are always going to be bumps in the road. Plan for them. Accept that they’re going to be there, and plan for the extra time it could end up taking. And finally…

If you’re struggling to get up the gumption to tackle a task, or you’re dreading doing it, or it feels like work, just find a way to make it fun again! Put on some tunes as you do it and dance your way to the finish line! Or buy a big box of cookies and indulge yourself every time you get to one of your goals. Reward yourself for a job well done with something you enjoy. You may put on weight, but at least you’ll be getting stuff done! You can always add ‘Go to the gym’ as one of your personal goals for the day! ;)


Thank you both so much for your helpful comments. I will def try breaking the overwhelm or steps down into bite sizeable pieces Lucie. I like that you have said the smaller goals make up the bigger goal. I hadn’t thought of that!

Wendy, do you use an app to do your to do list, or a piece of paper?

Natalie Briney

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