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Self-sabotage is the act of actively or passively taking steps to prevent yourself from reaching a particular goal or your full potential in whatever you set out to do.
Many of us sabotage ourselves when we decide we want something by doing everything we can to ensure we don’t get it. Self-sabotage in essence undermines success.
Sometimes we self-sabotage without even realising it because we put up a mental block subconsciously. Sometimes we might even know that what we are doing is self-sabotaging, but we go ahead and do it anyway.
A few days ago, I knew I shouldn’t eat almost a whole packet of biscuits, as well as some delicious fried puff-puff (Nigerian doughnut style snack), but at that time I was having a wobbly. I was feeling depressed and healthy eating was far from my mind. Sound familiar?
Signs Of Self-Sabotage
Self-sabotage can be manifest in the following ways:
You might “forget” a deadline, or fail to prepare a presentation properly, for example. An example of how I have self-sabotaged is with starting this blog and my business.
It took me a good number of months to get the courage to start and I procrastinated a lot!
You may also procrastinate in one way or another, and constantly put things off that you know you need to do. You may even start projects and abandon them before you finish them or not even have the courage to start to live the life of your dreams.
Accompanied by self-sabotage is negative self-talk. You may feel unworthy, of achieving something and constantly worry about the failure of a venture you haven’t even started yet. I experience this occasionally and speak about this briefly in my free e-book to help you overcome worry and anxiety, which you can grab below.
Why Do We Self-Sabotage?
Fear is a normal biological response to internal and external stimuli. It’s that internal friend that likes to warn us about a perceived danger. It’s an extremely common behaviour, rooted in a fear of the unknown.
What you’ll probably discover is that most of your fears are internally created. You may be afraid because of what you think will happen rather than what is actually going to happen. If you experience fear, what you feel is real but the circumstances you may be imagining are not.
Human beings generally love to be comfortable and don’t naturally like to take risks. An example of this could be if you’re generally used to ‘safe’ occurrences, the idea of stepping out of your comfort zone may be frightening and cause you to self-sabotage.
You might self-sabotage because you have a need to be in control of your circumstances. You may believe that the easiest and most certain way to stay in control is to maintain the status quo, and just keep things as they are.
If you put your all into something, you may become vulnerable, which can make you feel you are not in control and thus self-sabotage.
The feeling of being unworthy and having low self-esteem can go hand in hand with self-sabotage.
For whatever reason, you may have decided that happiness and greatness are beyond your reach. This is a self-limiting idea and can unfortunately become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Fear not dear friend, if you see yourself doing any of these self-sabotaging actions! The following are steps you can take to put yourself on the path toward self-mastery and kick self-sabotage in the butt!
How To Overcome Self-Sabotage
Observe Your Behaviour
A key to overcoming self-sabotage is to be aware that it is happening so it is essential that you begin to observe yourself. You can effectively do this by creating a self-sabotage journal.
Make a journal entry every time you realize that you’ve sabotaged yourself. Describe the setting, circumstances, and end result.
Avoid over-analysing or judging yourself. The point of this exercise is to become more self-aware and gain a better understanding of yourself in certain situations.
Write down the negative things you tell yourself and next to or underneath these things, write alternative, positive truths about yourself. There are no limits.
What is possible for someone else, is possible for you!
Envision Your Success
Begin to see success as an integral part of your future, but realize there will still be challenges.
What emotions do you feel when you think of your success? Conjure up those feelings when you visualise your future success. Since self-sabotage is behaviour that undermines your success, visualise your success in order to begin reversing this.
Let go of the notion of perfection
As you visualize success, are you still thinking that success equals perfection? Hear me loud and clear:
Seeking perfection is a form of self-sabotage!
It’s time to realise that nobody is perfect! I struggled with this fact for many years, and I see how I delayed my success by sabotaging myself.
Telling yourself you can’t take action or move forward until you are perfect, is a form of self-sabotage. Perfection is an impossible standard that keeps you from reaching your goal.
To combat low self-esteem and turn the self-sabotaging tables around, make an effort to do those things you are afraid of, no matter how uncomfortable those things may feel.
Taking action helps you step out of your comfort zone and overcome your fears. The more you expand your comfort zone, the more fears you will overcome your fears and get closer you will get to achieving your dreams.
It’s important that when you decide to take action you don’t try to make all your changes at once, as doing so could lead to burnout. Take bite-sized action instead. Small consistent changes will more likely lead to long-term transformational change.
Set achievable goals
To help you deal with the ‘fear of the unknown’ that can lead to self-sabotage, set yourself some goals for the future. By having bite-sized goals set down, you will be more confident with your actions.
The more structure you have in your life, the less you will sabotage yourself, and the closer you will get to your success.
If you associate success with fear, your subconscious mind will fight you the entire way. Why? Because its primary function is to protect you from perceived threats.
Similarly. your subconscious won’t allow you to achieve success if you associate success with the impossible task of being perfect.
Embrace the good life you deserve by picturing yourself as successful, and then refuse to talk yourself out of going for it. The journey to your ideal life, free of self-sabotage, starts now!