Self sabotage is any behavior that gets in the way of your success.
It can manifest as procrastination, self-doubt, negative thinking, or any other destructive behavior.
Self sabotage can be motivated by various factors, including fear of failure, low self-esteem, and negative thinking. It can also be a way to avoid taking responsibility for your own life.
We all do it at some point in our lives, usually when feeling insecure or under pressure. However, some people may do it more than others which often becomes a habit, thus hindering their growth and success even more.
Fortunately, there are many strategies that can help you overcome this obstacle. Keep reading to learn more.
What Does It Mean To Self Sabotage?
Self-sabotage means you want something, but you act contrary to what’s expected to achieve it.
It’s often associated with the tendency to avoid things that are difficult or uncomfortable.
For instance, you want to lose weight, and you know that refined carbohydrates and too much sugar are not good for you, but you eat them anyway.
Or you’re working on a project, but because of the commitment required, you unconsciously feel afraid of the requirements to get it done. So you keep procrastinating the whole thing.
Self sabotage can also be described as not being able to get out of your own way no matter how much you try.
It’s a silent killer, and often you don’t see it coming. In fact, you feel like it’s normal—until you realize you’re far from achieving your goal.
Why Do We Self Sabotage?
It’s in our human nature to sabotage to some degree, consciously and unconsciously. Whether it’s in the form of procrastination, negative self-talk, or perfectionism, self-sabotage can interfere with the plans we’ve laid out to achieve our goals.
While you’re planning on meeting goals like building healthy relationships, developing healthy habits, saving money, working on a project, finishing assignments on time, or losing weight, it’s easy to overlook your goals and sabotage them, but why do we do it?
Understanding why we self sabotage is an essential step towards understanding how to stop it.
1. Low Self-Esteem
A low self-esteem can lead to all sorts of negative behaviors, including self-sabotage.
When you don’t believe in yourself, it’s easy to fall into the mindset that you’re not good enough or that you don’t deserve good things. As a result, you may end up engaging in behaviors that sabotage your own success or happiness.
Many people with low self-esteem find that they self-sabotage in order to protect themselves from rejection and failure. They do this by setting themselves up for failure or by avoiding situations in which they might succeed.
This can lead to a vicious cycle in which the individual feels even worse about themselves and so sabotages themselves even more.
There are many reasons why someone might have low self-esteem. They may have been neglected or abused as a child or have had parents who were constantly critical of them. They may have experienced bullying or been made to feel worthless by others. Whatever the cause, low self-esteem can be very damaging and lead to all sorts of problems in life.
If you think you might be sabotaging yourself because of low self-esteem, it’s important to seek help. There are many excellent therapists and counselors who can help you work through your issues and start to feel better about yourself. With time and effort, you can overcome low self-esteem and start living a happier, more fulfilling life.
2. Low Self-Concept
Having a low self-concept is another tendency that can position you for self-sabotage. Your self-concept is who you believe you are to the world.
Self concept has more to do with identity. Who you are, your values, your beliefs, and your purpose in life.
When you understand your self-concept, your self-esteem improves naturally. We all have a general view of who we are, but we also have little segments of who we really are.
So you may have very high academic self esteem because you have grasped the concept surrounding your area of study. Still, at the same time, you may have lower social self-esteem because you think you have not established the concept of who you are in social life, giving room for self sabotage.
In other words, whatever area you feel your self-concept is shakier, that tends to be the area where self-sabotage is more likely to occur. Because you may believe that you are not good in certain areas, and those types of things can turn into self-fulfilling prophecies.
For instance, in relationships, you may have a core belief that you’re not good enough for that particular person, which may make you feel like somebody will cheat on you or leave you for another person. So you sabotage a potentially great relationship to protect your insecurities.
3. Internalized Beliefs
Internalized beliefs are those that you’ve taken in and made part of yourself, often without even realizing it. In most cases, they are what you learn from childhood, and you grow into adulthood taking on them.
So they color how you interact with your goals, with other people, and how you go through life in general.
They can be positive or negative, but if they’re negative, they can hold you back in life and prevent you from reaching your full potential.
4. Fear Of The Unknown/Change
As human beings, we prefer to know that something will go wrong or right than not knowing at all.
And sometimes, our fear of loss is greater than our desire for gains causing us to sabotage a potential success.
We fear change because we don’t understand what it holds, and that’s true. Change means you are not the master of the universe.
At some point in life, you’ll have to step in faith and trust God for the future you can’t see. This is how we should lead our lives anyway.
Even in something we don’t know, faith is key to overcoming self-sabotage.
When two people get married, they really don’t know what they are getting themselves into. But they have faith that it’s the will of God to be together. So they keep their faith strong and anticipate a great life as they enter a season they have never been in.
Then there are those who have seen how divorce rates are rising and are scared of getting married because they fear divorce.
It takes two to tangle, and your marriage could be different. Maybe an ideal definition of what marriage should be, but you end up sabotaging and missing the blessings of getting married because you want to protect yourself from divorce.
Maybe it’s a business idea you’re afraid of executing because you’re unsure whether it will bring success or loss. So you find it easier to stay where you are than to go where you’ve never been.
Great people take risks, and if they fail, they learn and come back better and more prepared.
5. Excessive Need For Control
The need for control is another reason why we self sabotage.
This is especially true if you are a highly-achieving person.
When you are on your way to goal achievement, there will be an aspect that you can’t control. This can make you uncomfortable and not want to reach your goal because you don’t have full control of what will happen.
Self sabotage is almost like a fear of change and partially a fear of setting higher standards for yourself.
How To Stop Sabotaging Yourself
1. Develop Self-Awareness
When you are self-aware, you can see yourself objectively and understand your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This allows you to make better choices for yourself and avoid behaviors that may lead to sabotage.
If you want to develop self-awareness, there are a few things you can do:
- Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings
- Keep a journal – Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you to see patterns and triggers for specific emotions.
- Talk to people you trust about your experiences. Talking openly about your thoughts and feelings can help you to gain insights from others’ perspectives.
- Seek professional help if needed. If you’re struggling to develop self-awareness on your own, seeking help from a therapist or counselor can be very beneficial.
2. Recognize Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
Some common warning signs of self-sabotage include procrastination, perfectionism, and negative self-talk. If you find yourself engaging in these behaviors, taking a step back and examining why you’re doing it is essential. Are you trying to avoid failure? Are you afraid of success?
3. Understand Root Causes
There are many different reasons why people self-sabotage. It could be because they feel unworthy or undeserving of success. Maybe they have a fear of failure or success.
It could also be due to low self-esteem or a lack of confidence. Whatever the reason, understanding the root cause can help us prevent self-sabotage in the future.
4. Increase Your Tolerance For Emotional Discomfort
When feeling down, anxious, or stressed, it’s easy to fall into a negative spiral of thoughts and behaviors that can really hold us back.
Fortunately, by increasing our tolerance for emotional discomfort, we can sit with our negative emotions and work through them in a healthy way instead of pushing them away. This doesn’t mean that we like the feeling but that we’re less likely to let our emotions control us.
5. Create A Plan
If you’re prone to self-sabotage, take the time to sit down and map out what you want to achieve. Be specific and realistic, and then devise a step-by-step plan for reaching your goal.
Doing this will help increase your chances of success while also helping you avoid self-destructive behaviors.
6. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help you prevent self-sabotage. By paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and actions in the present moment, you can catch yourself before you engage in destructive behaviors.
You can also use mindfulness to develop a more positive outlook on life, which can help you to overcome self-sabotaging tendencies.
7. Learn To Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
We all have a comfort zone. It’s a place where we feel safe and secure, where everything is familiar and predictable. But comfort zones can also be constricting, preventing us from reaching our full potential.
Sometimes, in order to achieve our goals, we need to step outside of our comfort zones. This can be scary, but it’s also essential for growth. Being comfortable with discomfort is an important skill that will help you prevent self-sabotage.
8. Define Your Values
One of the most important things you can do in life is to define your values. Knowing your values helps you make decisions that are in alignment with what matters most to you.
It also prevents you from self-sabotaging your success by engaging in activities or behaviors that conflict with your core values.
When you live according to your values, you feel more fulfilled and happier because you’re living in a way that’s authentic to you.
You’re also more likely to stick to your goals and achieve success because you’re not constantly second-guessing yourself or your choices. If you’re unsure what your values are, spend some time reflecting on what’s important to you and what makes you happy.
Once you have a good understanding of your values, start making choices that reflect them. You may need to make some changes in your life, but it will be worth it when you’re living a life that’s true to yourself.
Self sabotage is a term used to describe behaviors or thoughts that prevent you from achieving your goals.
The first step to prevention is becoming aware of the behaviors or thoughts that are holding you back and working on counteracting them.
This may involve developing a more positive mindset, practicing mindfulness, understanding the root cause, defining your values, becoming tolerant, and creating an actionable plan.
If you find yourself struggling to overcome self sabotage, it may be helpful to seek out professional help. A therapist can assist you in identifying the root causes and help you develop healthy coping mechanisms.
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