We’ve all been there. We know what we need to do but for some inexplicable reason, we don’t do it. Or we’re on the cusp of something great and we fly off the handle and screw the whole thing up. It’s irrational and infuriating. It’s self-sabotage. And we’re all guilty of it at some point or another. But if you want to get out of your own way and are wondering how to stop self-sabotaging, keep reading.
What is self-sabotaging behaviour?
Self-sabotaging behaviours are when we create problems that are in direct conflict with what we actually want.
Like when we eat that family-sized chocolate bar in one sitting when we’re supposed to be on a health kick. Or binge-watch Netflix all weekend when we have a report due on Monday morning.
It’s not rational, but the good news is that you are not alone. We all partake in self-sabotage at some point.
Sometimes we can see what we’re doing, and we watch it in slow motion like a train wreck in our minds, and other times not even aware that we’re doing it. It happens when our conscious, logical brain is at odds with our subconscious mind.
When all is said and done, self-sabotage is an attempt to avoid pain and discomfort, which is usually rooted in a deeply ingrained fear we have (because let’s be honest, we all have fear of some description. It’s what makes us human).
We then get frustrated with ourselves, leaving us feeling stuck and lowering our self-confidence. And the result is that we move further away from what we want and fail to seize opportunities.
So in order to get out of our own way and stop self-sabotaging, we must be aware of the behaviour.
How to identify self-sabotage
There are a few telltale signs of self-sabotaging behaviour. So if you’re committed to getting out of your own way, it’s time to get honest with yourself and answer these questions:
- Am I procrastinating?
- Do I seek instant gratification instead of focusing on the long game?
- Am I focused on the worst-case scena rio?
- Do I concentrate on negative thoughts or potential roadblocks?
- Do I avoid or fail to practice self-care?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be engaging in self-sabotaging behaviours. From here, you are able to explore what is happening and change your behaviour which then allows you to start acting in line with your long-term goals and the life you truly want.
How to get out of your own way
Remember that self-sabotage can happen in all areas of your life and while it may be painful to recognise this type of behaviour, know that it is how we respond that matters. And if you choose to, you can change your thoughts and actions, altering your own happiness and success.
To help, here are 3 ways you can stop self-sabotaging and have the life you want.
1. Define your fears
And our mind has a tendency to over-exaggerate risks and understate the positives. But by defining what it is your afraid of, you are able to engage your rational thought process and consider the probability and consequences of what could go wrong.
To make the process easy, I’ve developed your free worksheet here.
2. Get help
Often we struggle to see what’s happening in our own lives. But by working with someone objective, like a coach, you’re able to take a step back and together identify patterns of behaviour, understand the root causes and address the impact these are having on your life and your happiness.
From there you can work together to develop personalised and actionable strategies to stop self-sabotaging.
3. Practice failure
Think of failure as a muscle and the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. So by actively practising failure, you allow yourself to take bigger risks, which will allow you to have bigger successes and gains over the long term.
So make it your mantra to embrace failure. Start small and actively seek tasks that you can fail at and then set bigger activities once you get used to sitting with discomfort.
I work as a coach helping women find happiness, success and alignment in work and life. If you’d like to stop self-sabotaging, it might be time to consider working with a Coach. Click here to schedule a free call to find out more.