Dear Cassey: Why do I always sabotage my own goals?

Dear Cassey,
Self-sabotage! Why do I always overeat or have too many cocktails when I KNOW those behaviors won’t allow me to reach my fitness goals, and when I know those behaviors don’t make me feel good physically and emotionally? That’s my burning question.
Creature of Habit
colorful cocktails with straws on bar

Dear Creature of Habit,

I have SOOOOOOO been there! We all have our sabotage-worthy guilty pleasures that are just hard to resist no matter how motivated we are!

Perfect example? My obsession with ice cream. I’ll never give it up!

The trick is finding moderation with those “less healthy” habits like eating junk food, having a few drinks, whatever your “thing” is! I don’t think it’s fair to look at it as self-sabotage, so give yourself a break and remember that you’re human! And like ALL humans, you’re just a creature of habit 🙂 It might take some trial and error, or even some soul searching (as cheesy as that sounds) to figure out why you tend to overdo it with these habits. So here are some things you could try:

Put yourself in a different situation – When do you tend to overeat or have too many cocktails? For a lot of people, it’s social situations. Which is totally understandable! Good food and alcohol tend to show up in those situations. But don’t go and turn into a hermit just to hit your fitness goals. Instead, have a salad or healthy snack before you go out. Then TOTALLY munch on whatever goodies are around with your friends. You’ll be able to eat a much more reasonable amount! Or, just order a salad when you’re already out! As for the cocktails, I’d say order water between every cocktail – it will slow you down AND keep you hydrated.

Consider WHY this habit sticks with you – Do you have a stressful job? Are you getting enough sleep and drinking enough water? ALL of these things could contribute to overeating or letting off some steam with a few drinks. I feel like a broken record when I say “get exercise most days, get at least 7 hours of sleep, and drink plenty of water.” But seriously, those 3 things make a HUGE difference in stress levels, cravings, and pretty much everything.

Try a little accountability! This doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but keeping a journal helps to stop me from mindlessly giving into bad habits. If I keep a rough food journal, I catch myself snacking (a big one for me), or not eating enough protein, not drinking enough water, etc. If nothing else, doing this just forces you to stay present and mindful so you can think through anything you know you’ll feel guilty about later.

Speaking of guilt, don’t be hard on yourself. Not one of us. Nothing good comes from punishing ourselves or feeling guilty about giving into things that make us feel good at the time! Tackling a habit takes a lot of time. So take it slow, and know chances are, you’re still going to overeat or have a drink too many every now and then. That’s a great time to journal and pay attention to how you feel and see how you can prevent it from happening next time.

We’re all a work in progress 🙂 I hope these tips help you get on a better track to feeling good and crushing your goals!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

18 thoughts on “Dear Cassey: Why do I always sabotage my own goals?”

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  1. Vidisha says:

    Hi Cassey! Love reading your blog! I have started running lately and would like to know if you have some tips for beginners like how to pair running with your workouts, ways to improve stamina etc. I’m one of those people who hates cardio, but since the time I have been doing your workouts, my strength has increased tremendously.

  2. Claudia says:

    Dear Cassey, I am really inspired by your 90-day journey and how you still keep it up. It looks that there is a way to reach both your mind and body goals! What I’m really curious about is your current attitude towards your diet. Do you feel like you have to control it to stay in this great shape (but it’s just not disturbing for you)? Or do you follow your intuition without any restrictions at all?

  3. LJ Van Zyl says:

    Hello from cold and wet South Africa hi Cassie I have a discussion that has been bothering me for a while it’s about my weight and the 36 year old woman and I am 1.5 inches tall and weigh 102 kilos I want to lose weight but I am afraid to as I’ve got quite a saggy belly, arms and thighs. And a fat mon pubis. I am afraid that when I lose my needed weight, that I will have flabby loose skin hanging in the mentioned places and I am scared of putting everthing back on.

    I picked up alot of weight, 50kg and more when I went off the pill 10years ago already. I also have a body / food shamer in my life.

    Is my fear justified?

  4. Katrina says:

    Hi Cassey, would you write a piece about how to stay motivated with exercise and good eating habits while mourning? Thanks in advance for any advice and having this blog!

  5. Jess says:

    Hey Casey,
    I’ve noticed that I am only able to work out and eat healthy when I am by myself. As soon as I spend a couple of days with my boyfriend or my family I return to bad habits from the past and it gets even harder to start again when I’m alone. How do I change that? I feel like especially with my bf, food has become part of our love language and we constantly treat each other to sweets or fast food. I worry that once we live together I will just stop my fitness journey altogether.

  6. Marie says:

    Dear Cassey, I´m just sabotagge myselg each and every single time that I want to start a exercise routine. I´m not good at sports and I have realized that I hate moving at all. I´m starting again because I need to be healthier and stronger, I have realized that I feel better and happier after my routine, but it is sooooo difficult to start. Currently I´m doing a 20min yoga routine and your 12 minutes series. I´ve been following you since 2013 and really you are an inspiration, when I feel a little bit down I just hear something like your things I learned in my 20´s or more recently your 90days journey! Thanks for all that you share!

  7. Anshul says:

    I workout for an hour each day and especially since the lockdown it’s getting intense with so many variety of exercises to explore. HIIT, Zumba, Power yoga, Balance ball trainings, running etc… I feel overworked and am tired right after the workout 🏋️‍♀️ a lot. But the pleasure of taking up the challenges and the feel good factor is something which makes me hit the workout zone every single day. Am not sure if this is just a mental fatigue I feel or I really work too much and I need to control. And ifs it controlling, I really don’t know how to. Please advise.

  8. Fee says:

    So i’ve noticed that when you’re tired or had a full day you want to eat more. I call it my monkey brain. It’s start to take over and just let me eat… and than after I do feel bad. But now i’ve learned, that if I have more protein in body, my cravings will be less. And now I can eat one cookie and be satisfied. Also… i try to make these delicious muffins, which are healthy but sooo good. That works to

    1. Daniella Rodriguez says:

      Oh man I thought I was the only one. I had such a tough time 2 days ago after eating chocolate ice cream at night. I was actually crying, yes crying and let my emotions take over. I thought I may need some help from people who work out like me. I am really grateful for this kinda post Cassey makes. We all always need advices and remember that we are humans. Just all this takes time so It’s better to enjoy the process.

  9. A says:

    I’ve realized that I have just restricted too long, and that’s when I go a little crazy with the treats. It’s like a spring that’s being loaded…the more pushed down It is, the more bounce you get when It releases. That’s me and restrictions. So I’ve tried something new, where, when I feel that desire to have something, and it’s the only thing on my mind, then I need to just have It. I’ve done that enough, that I don’t feel that panic as much, feeling like I CAN’T have something. It really sounds counterintuitive, but it’s helped so much! And gradually, I’ve been making better choices overall. And the things I do want to splurge on a bit, most of the time I don’t feel like I have to eat the whole bag of something.
    Anyways…this post was great!! And I totally understand the struggle. And the suggestions weren’t triggering at all , for me personally. Thank you!!!

  10. Liv says:

    Cassie, have you ever tried Arctic Zero non-dairy ice cream? I know this is technically a conversation about resisting our habits, but I had to mention this stuff since you like ice cream so much. I’m sure you’ve had every other “fake” ice cream under the sun, but this one is so good and doesn’t upset my stomach. I’m dairy and gluten free and have a crazy stomach, so if it’s good with me it might be good for you too. Bonus: you can have a whole pint for 160 calories.

    1. Liv Worthen says:

      Shoot, I spelled your name incorrectly, my bad!! I’ve seen your name on your videos often enough that I should know how to spell it by now.

  11. Esther M says:

    Oreos are my weakness, too! I literally ate a whole package in 3 days!!! Needless to say, I don’t let myself buy them often. No. Self. Control.

  12. Anyone up for being accountability buddies?:)

    1. Linds says:


  13. Tough but Trying says:

    My weakness is OREOS!!! I was out with some girl friends and we had double stuffed oreos. I ended up eating almost a whole row even though I knew I would probably feel like junk afterwards. SPOILER ALERT: I did! My stomach hurt and I was literally shaking from the sugar high. Next time I am DEFINITELY gonna try and have more self control.

    1. Oh my goodness, I always like the outer shells of the Oreos and not the inner cream!

      1. Tough but Trying says:

        I love both 😂