Self-sabotage is when we do something to prevent our own success. It's a really common behavior that can be conscious or subconscious and can stop personal growth and prevent us from reaching our full potential. Whether it's procrastination, negative self-talk or fear of failure, self-sabotage can have a significant impact on our lives. Self sabotaging can take on many forms but some examples include: Staying in a job because you’re afraid of change or you feel that you're not good enough to get another job Procrastinating or not starting something because you’re not confident that you can do it well.
Staying in a relationship that you are unhappy in because you are afraid to be alone r you feel that you don't deserve more.
Taking on too much because you want to make others happy Neglecting your self-care because you’re focused on caring for other people or maybe it's not being able to say no to the next slice of cake or glass of wine. So let's look at how to recognise self-sabotage and develop effective strategies to stop it and instead, empower ourselves to successful and fulfilled.
1. Recognise Self-Sabotage Patterns: The first step in overcoming self-sabotage is to become aware of our own patterns and behaviors.This is obviously a mindful approach where we reflect on situations in which we've self-sabotaged in the past. I've said it so often before, until we know what beliefs are causing us problems, there is no way we can start the work to address them. Self sabotage often stems from feeling anxious, angry or unworthy and once we've identified these thoughts and how they are causing us to react, we can gain an understanding of the underlying causes and the triggers of our self-sabotaging tendencies and already, we've taken a huge step toward stopping our behaviour.
2. Cultivate Self-Awareness: Self-awareness plays a crucial role in stopping self-sabotage. Again through Mindfulness, we can make the time to understand our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Tools like Journaling, meditation and coaching can be helpful in gaining deeper insights into our inner selves. By practising awareness, we can then begin to recognise self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors as they come up rather than having to deal with the consequences once we've been triggered. This enables us to choose to how respond and make more positive choices.
3. Challenge Negative Self-Talk: Negative self-talk can be a major contributor to self-sabotage. Stanford University completed a study that found that 90% of the thoughts we have each day are a repeat of the thoughts we had the day before and of those 90%, it's thought that 80% will be negative. 80%. That's huge and that makes our thoughts THE biggest factor in how we feel about ourselves, how we behave and how our life looks. So,replacing self-defeating thoughts with positive affirmations and empowering beliefs will have a huge impact on our mindset and our outcomes. We also need to work on being kind to ourselves. We can be so harsh and judgemental but if we can start to cultivate self compassion, starting with the understanding that no one has all the answers and we will all make mistakes, then we can start to create space for us to be able to learn from the things that don't go to plan. We can use this process to focus on our strengths and identify the areas that we might want to work on. This will build a strong foundation for us to begin building resilience and through that confidence and self esteem. self-confidence.
4. Set Realistic Goals: Setting realistic and achievable goals can help prevent self-sabotage. Work out what you want to achieve, then break down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps and then do something towards your goals every day helps. This helps you to stay focused, keep your energy high and empowers us to create. We can celebrate each milestone as we go which reinforces a positive mindset and this is really important because it's very easy when we're living life to forget just how far we've come and the amazing things that we have achieved. I have a lovely book. It's one of the A5 hardback notebooks with and inspirational quote on the front. I write my goals in here and then I review them every now and then. If I have achieved them, I write thank you over the goal. It's a really good reminder of all the things I've done to help myself but on the days when things aren't going to plan and we all have them. It's a good motivator to keep me moving forward.By setting realistic goals, we can avoid becoming overwhelmed and decrease the likelihood of self-sabotaging behaviors because we have a clear, manageable plan,we are focussed on success and we are staying aware of our thoughts while trying to be kind to ourselves.
5. Develop Self-Discipline: This is quite a difficult one, especially if we are feeling overwhelmed or that we don't deserve a specific outcome but it is key. Create a routine and stick to it, even when faced with distractions or challenges. Now routines are a double edged sword. They can become a cage to trap us in if we become too comfortable or set in our ways but for challenging a behaviour like self sabotage, they are fantastic. We need to create order and focus in our lives so that we can prioritise the tasks that we have identified in the goal setting activity and manage our time effectively. By practicing self-discipline, we can minimise procrastination and stay focused on our goals.
6. Seek Support: Don't be afraid to ask for support from friends, family members or professionals. Asking for help is not failure. It is the most empowering thing that we can do for ourselves. Also, surround yourself with positive and encouraging people who get you, understand your journey and want to see you thrive. Maybe also think about joining support groups or working with a coach to address underlying issues that may contributing to your self-sabotage.
7. Embrace Failure as a Learning Opportunity: Fear of failure often drives self-sabotage.We're so scared or maybe even convinced that things won't work out that we don't even try or depending on how pronounced our self sabotaging behaviours are, when things are going well, we will put a spanner in the works so that it fails and we can manage the fall out because we are comfortable with that, it's what we've come to expect whereas we might not have had much experience of dealing with success. When we can start to see failure as a natural part of the learning process. And let me just say here that a reframe of that thought is really helpful as we don't fail at anything, it just didn't go the way we thought it might - we actually have no way of knowing of that's a positive or a negative. Anyway,when we can view setbacks as opportunities for growth and self-improvement, we can learn from our experience, adjust the way we do and think about things and keep moving forward. By reframing our thoughts around failure, we can overcome self-sabotage and build resilience.
Conclusion: To sum up, overcoming self-sabotage is a journey that requires self-reflection, self-compassion, determination and support. By recognising self-sabotage patterns, cultivating self-awareness, challenging negative self-talk, setting realistic goals, developing self-discipline, seeking support, and embracing failure - only using that word because it's too unwieldy to keep saying things that don't go to plan -as a learning opportunity, we can then start to break free from self-sabotaging behaviors and unlock our true potential.
Please remember, change takes time and effort, but if we use a layered approach and do something small, consistently over time to change things, new beliefs and behaviours start to layer up until, huge change happens and we are creating a life filled with growth, success and happiness.
If you would like support on your journey to stop self sabotage, or any other matter, then please get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org or via the chat/ contact buttons on this site.
Thanks for reading.