Caroline Cranshaw: How to stop sabotaging yourself and achieve success

Photo / Getty

Photo / Getty

We all like to believe that we are in charge of our destiny, if we work hard enough, our dreams will come true. For most of us, it's unfortunately not the case. Success may feel just out of reach, or no matter how hard you try roadblocks always seem to be in your way. You watch other people with less talent and intelligence than you, achieving the things you desire but never seem to be able to attain.

In our society of instant gratification, most of us want to be successful now. The problem is the definition of success is subjective. One person's definition of success could be another's meaning of failure. For some of us, having a super fit body is the definition of success. For others, it may be owning your own home, being married with kids, having one or more university degrees or be considered the top of your chosen field. I’ve had a client who told me they wouldn’t consider themselves a success until they are worth over $20,000,000.

The problem is that success is not about achieving a goal but is a mindset. There are people in other countries, who feel like they are the epitome of success when they have a mud hut, two goats and access to water. I find when most people achieve a goal, they are not satisfied but look for a new goal to achieve, still chasing that elusive feeling of success.

Here are four ways to clear what's blocking you from the success you desire

Get Crystal Clear About What You Want To Accomplish And What Goals And Habits Will Help You Achieve It

What do you want? Is it a rocking body, to buy a house, have your own business, have a loving relationship with someone who you are crazy about, kids, to be debt free, travel the world, to be famous and recognised for your talents, start a charity or something else really cool? Be honest with yourself, what do you want that you don’t have? Set a goal and give yourself a timeline to achieve it.

Once you’re clear about what your goal is, think about what you need to do to get there. Most people want to be successful, but they have no idea how they're going to achieve it. There is a path to every outcome, and most of us are thinking about the destination of where we want to be while forgetting to focus on the journey to our desired goal.

Trying to achieve a goal without a plan is like trying to go to a new place without a map. It’s going to take a lot longer to get there if you manage to get there at all. It’s helpful to set an achievement goal and then habit goals that will help you to accomplish your goal.


Achievement goal: I will lose 10 kilos within six months.

Habit goals: I will stop eating sugar and white flour, eat smaller portions and go to the gym four days a week.

Achievement goal: I will pay off my credit cards and be free of debt within one year.

Habit goals: I will transfer my credit card balance to a zero-interest card, bring my lunch to work and set myself a budget to curb my spending.

Achievement goal: I will be in a committed, healthy long-term relationship within one year.

Habit goals: I will sign up for several dating apps, read books and websites about finding a healthy relationship and meet as many potential partners for coffee as possible to find the right relationship for me.

Clear Your Blocking Beliefs

There are people with less natural ability or skills than you, doing the things you want to do, living the life you want to live, simply because they decided to believe in themselves. PERIOD. If you keep sabotaging yourself from achieving the things you desire, you will have conflicting beliefs that are holding you back.

For example, you may want to work for yourself, and you have a fantastic business idea that you know would be kick ass. But instead of making that happen you stay stuck in a job you hate, spending your free time on social media and binge-watching Netflix because deep down you believe you're not smart enough, good enough, or talented enough to achieve it.

Or you may consciously want to lose weight, but if subconsciously you believe that extra weight keeps you safe from negative male attention, your subconscious will do everything in its power to make you binge eat chocolate and takeaways to keep you overweight.

A good way to clear those blocking beliefs at a subconscious level is to imagine a wall in front of you. This wall represents the beliefs and blocks that are holding you back. Imagine how tall this wall is, what kind of material it's made out of, making it very clear in front of you. Now imagine there are words and statements written on it like graffiti. And what's written on that wall are the blocking beliefs that are holding you back. Whatever negative beliefs that are keeping you from achieving your goals.

  • I'm not good enough.
  • I'm not smart enough to __________________.
  • I'm not attractive/ I'm ugly.
  • I'm not talented enough to __________________.
  • I don't deserve _____________
  • No one would want to have a relationship with me.
  • No one would like me if I were super successful.

Imagine knocking that wall down. You may have a sledgehammer, a wrecking ball, a bulldozer, whatever works for you and knock down that wall and those beliefs that are holding you back. Because that wall and those false negative beliefs have been created in your mind and you can take them down anytime you like. On the other side of that wall, imagine a future you that has achieved what you want.

Visualise that future version of you giving you whatever advice you need to hear right now that will help you to achieve your goal. You are the best authority on you, and it's amazing what wisdom you already have inside of you. All you need to do is tap into it.

Figure Out Your Why

The goal is a what. What you want to achieve. But in order to achieve it, I think it's important to know your why. Why you want this certain goal? What's normally behind the why is a feeling. Figuring out what you want to feel, or what you feel is missing, is in my opinion, the key to happiness. When someone says they want to be rich, what they probably want, is to have freedom. Freedom to do what they want, when they want.

If they want to be famous, the feeling behind that may be feeling adored and wanted. If they want a relationship, the feeling may be to feel accepted and loved. Behind those feelings, the core feeling is probably to feel good enough. With your goals, ask yourself what will you feel when you achieve it.

You can choose how you feel at any time. The more you connect with feeling what you want to feel deep down, the easier it will be to feel confident, capable and worthy of achieving what you desire. There is absolutely no reason why you can't feel accepted, confident, happy, loved, and worthy of everything that you want right now. Sometimes it just takes practice. You need to give yourself permission to feel those things right now.

Think about it, if you refuse to give that validation to yourself, how can you expect other people to do for you. And even if they did, you probably wouldn't accept it. Choose your feelings and thoughts as carefully as you choose your clothes.

Take Action And Risks

Now here's the hardest part. You're going to have to work for what you want. Unfortunately, for most of us, things aren’t going to be handed over on a silver platter. When an opportunity presents itself, you need to put your hand up and put yourself out there. Everything that I have achieved in my life, I have accomplished because I took a risk. I put my hand up and said I would give it a go.

I was raised by a single mother on the benefit and had a lot of trauma growing up. I had dyslexia and ADHD and did terribly in school. I was such a problem for my teachers that I was sent to a school for juvenile delinquents when I was 16. When I arrived at this terrifying school, I had a huge epiphany.

I realised that no one was going to save me from my situation. That I had gotten myself into this mess, and it was up to me to get myself out. That experience was a huge turning point for me, and from that moment on, I have taken complete responsibility for everything in my life. I realised that if I wanted to make something of myself, I was going to have to work my arse off to achieve it.

Have I failed at things? Definitely. Have I looked like a fool? More times than I can count. Have I kept going and learned from my mistakes and failures? Absolutely. And this is the only difference with what makes someone a success. You work your butt off, you put yourself out there, and you take risks. Some things you try will fail spectacularly, and some things will work out better than you ever dreamed. And that my friend, is what makes life worth living. Ultimately, what makes you a success has nothing to do with how much money you make or what you look like but rather what kind of person you are and what impact you make on the people and world around you.

Caroline Cranshaw is a hypnotherapist, founder and trainer at the New Zealand Integrative Hypnotherapy Training Institute and the author of The Smoking Cure. Find out more about her at

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