Updated: Dec 18, 2020
Are you constantly putting yourself at the bottom of your priority list? Do you have a tendency to commit to things you don’t want to do to avoid disappointing or letting people down? Do you reward yourself for “good” behaviours and punish yourself for “bad” behaviours?
Guess what? These are all signs of self-sabotage!
You might be wondering what self-sabotage is. Self-sabotage is when we actively or passively take steps to prevent ourselves from reaching our goals. This behaviour can affect nearly every aspect of your life—relationships, career goals, or personal goals such as weight loss. Although very common, it is an incredibly frustrating cycle of behaviour that lowers our self-confidence and leaves us feeling stuck. There are many reasons why we may choose to self-sabotage but many ultimately stem from a lack of belief in yourself.
What Causes Self-Sabotaging Behaviours?
There are a number of reasons why you may make decisions that prevent you from reaching your goals and meet your full potential. Here are four:
1. You lack self-confidence and self-worth
When you don’t believe in yourself, it makes it extremely difficult to achieve your goals. If your inner mean girl is constantly telling you that you’re not smart enough, not qualified enough, or not good enough to have what you want, you’ll inevitably live out that self fulfilling prophecy. How you speak to yourself matters and impacts how we present ourselves to the world. If you lack self-confidence you will subconsciously stop yourself from achieving your full potential. What you put out into the universe is what you manifest back after all.
2. You’re afraid of success
When you have worked so hard for something your success can sometimes be a stressor. This commonly happens when you lack self-confidence. Imposter syndrome kicks in and you start doubting your skills, talents or accomplishments. You fear that you’ll be exposed as a fraud and in turn engage in behaviour that limits your success.
3. You’re afraid of failure
On the opposite side, instead of fearing success, we may fear failure. Your inner mean girl might start harping at you to instill or place fear and doubt in your mind around your abilities. She’ll tell you that even though you give it your all to achieve the goal, you still won’t be enough to accomplish it. It’s easier to give yourself reasons as to why you’ll fail instead of why you’ll succeed.
4. You want to feel a sense of control
When you feel like you are in control, there is this sense of relief that can overflow you. By accepting a negative outcome before it happens, we have a sense of control even though it isn’t actually what we want to happen. We essentially control our failure when we have these self-sabotaging thought patterns.
How do you know if you’re self-sabotaging?
When in doubt and are failing over and over again, or just plain feeling stuck, ask yourself these questions :
Am I prioritizing instant gratification?
Am I avoiding what needs to be done?
Am I not prioritizing self-care?
Am I always procrastinating?
Am I focusing on self-defeating thoughts?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could be allowing yourself to engage in self-sabotaging behaviour. You need to be honest. Ask yourself if you feel you deserve better and determine what you’re afraid of. Once you do this you may then be able to rise above self-sabotage.
How to kick self-sabotaging habits for good
Once you’re able to identify why you’re engaging in self-sabotaging behavior you can then begin to take the necessary steps to overcome and kick this destructive behavior. Make a list of all the things that are preventing you from having what you want and take the time to evaluate why you want these things. Be realistic about your goals and take a good, hard look at what is truly holding you back, even small things like complaining.
If you are afraid of failure, consider making a list of all of your past successes and achievements. Take stock of what you’ve overcome to get to a place of success and work on boosting your self-confidence. Try to remember that failure is ok too. It will happen and it’s part of learning and becoming a better version of ourselves. We can’t always be perfect, and we won’t always get what we want. Accepting this shouldn’t limit our belief in ourselves but should guide us to understand that we should keep working on ourselves and open up to new opportunities.
If you don’t feel worthy it may be time to focus on self-care. Stop focusing on what you think you do wrong and work on recognizing what you do right. Practice taking time to relax, eating well and getting a good night’s sleep. You need to make yourself a priority and feel good about yourself to move past your fears and boost your self-confidence. When you do, you’re better able to face your fear and move beyond self-sabotage.
If you’re having a difficult time working through self-sabotaging behaviors, consider working with a health, wellness and life coach. Sometimes all it takes is a cheerleader and accountability partner that can provide the tools and habit change methodologies you need to make a true and lasting change. Contact me today for a free 45-minute breakthrough session where you’ll learn how to get unstuck.