Is there something in your life that you want but never seem to be able to reach?
So often, we like to blame outside forces like our financial circumstances, our parents, spouses, and bosses or even just bad luck for our lack of success. If you take a closer look, more often, we are the reason why we are not getting what we want. Whether this is a conscious pattern or an unconscious one, self-sabotage is a common reason we fail to achieve our goals.
Even when things are tough, we may not be aware of just how much we are in our own way of success. When we want to make improvements in our lives, the best thing we can do from the start is to be aware of when we self-sabotage and have strategies in place to combat it.
Do you recognize when you self-sabotage? Many people are unaware of the behaviors that prevent them from moving forward. Let’s find out more about self-sabotage. We’ll also discover the most common signs of self-sabotage and simple strategies that you can use to stop it in its tracks.
What is Self-Sabotage?
A basic definition of self-sabotage is: saying one thing and doing another. Our conscious mind says that we want something. Perhaps it’s to lose weight, save money or fall in love. However, our subconscious mind will think and do the exact opposite of what will help us achieve what we want. These two aspects of ourselves are at odds, holding us back. It’s like we are our own worst enemies.
Why would we do this to ourselves? After all, don’t we want these good things in our lives?
Self-sabotage is really all about self-protection. We want to avoid pain, fear, vulnerability and all the other things that don’t make us feel safe and secure. Very often, self-sabotage brings us back to our safety zones where we are most comfortable. While comfort may sound nice, the downside is that we prevent ourselves from taking risks. Taking risks and being comfortable with discomfort is often the recipe for grand success.
Many people who experience self-sabotaging thoughts or behaviors may feel like they don’t deserve success or that they are not good enough. No matter what the foundational cause of this fear, they all have the ability to prevent these thoughts from holding them back.
The first step is to understand and recognize your self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors. Let’s explore some common signs that you may be standing in your own way.
Signs You Might Be Self-Sabotaging
Distracting behaviors: Things like checking social media or working on a less important task instead of the critical work that needs to be done.
Extreme organization: Too much planning is just another way to procrastinate and avoid taking any action.
Perfectionism: Waiting for the right time, circumstances or experience allows you to put off a task until all of the conditions are right – which may never happen.
Playing the comparison game: Self-sabotage can also come in the form of comparing yourself to others. The comparison game can keep you stuck indefinitely. Let’s face it – there is always going to be someone smarter or more successful or more whatever. Does that mean you shouldn’t even try?
Negative self-talk: We are our harshest critics. The stories we tell ourselves have a very powerful hold on the way we behave and what we believe we are capable of achieving. Listen to the words you tell yourself when you feel stress, overwhelm or are about to take a risk.
How to Stop Self-Sabotaging Your Success
Be aware of your behaviors and thoughts.
What are your old stories and patterns? Think about the things you tell yourself when you are fearful, vulnerable or faced with achieving success. We all have deep-rooted stories that we have decided are valid based on past experiences. Take the time to recognize these negative stories and thoughts so you can be aware of the messages your brain is getting.
Practice mindfulness. One beneficial way of becoming more aware of the stories that run your life is to use mindfulness techniques such as meditation and journaling. Both modalities give you the time and space to sort through your past and gain clarity on the patterns that run you.
Change your behaviors and thoughts.
Write a new story. Are the stories you tell yourself even true? Most likely not. Most stories come from a single experience that had a profound effect when you were young but are not based on your current reality or abilities. Using affirmations and evidence of previous successes can be a powerful way to change the way you talk to yourself.
Start small. Change can take time, especially if your self-sabotaging thoughts have been ingrained in your brain for years and years. Decide on one small change that you can make to help you ease into the transition, preferably one that will have an immediate impact in your life.
Do you recognize when you are self-sabotaging? Hopefully, these tips can help you realize your patterns and make the changes you need to reach your personal goals and live your best life.