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How to Axe Self-Sabotaging Behavior

Self-sabotaging behavior is a uniquely human trait. Many of us sabotage ourselves when we decide we want something by doing everything we can to ensure we don't get it. Sound familiar?

guy sitting on the wrong end of a branch while sawing off the branch.
Self-Sabotaging in the classical sense.

Self-sabotaging can be an unconscious act, but you have the power of choice over whether or not this continues - so take control!

It is an extremely common behavior, rooted in a fear of the unknown. If you've immersed yourself in mediocrity and don't want to risk being great, then ask yourself why?


Find out why you may self-sabotage:

1. Control.

You might self-sabotage because you have a need to be in control of your circumstances. The easiest and most certain way to stay in control is to maintain the status quo.

If you put 'your all' into something, you run the risk of becoming vulnerable. Fear gets the best of you and you self-sabotage.

2. Low self-esteem.

Do you feel unworthy of greatness?

For whatever reason, you may have decided that happiness ought to be forever beyond your reach. This is a self-limiting idea, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

3. Excitement.

Perhaps you undermine your efforts because you're seeking excitement. You feel the need to remain in a constant state of turmoil to distract yourself from painful memories or alleviate boredom.

If you see yourself in any of these descriptions, fear not: there are steps you can take to put yourself on the path toward self-mastery.

Consider this process for defeating your self-sabotage:

motivational drawing saying that everyday is a fresh start.

1. Observe your behavior.

First off, it's essential that you begin to observe yourself. You can effectively do this by creating a self-sabotage journal. Make a journal entry every time you realize that you've sabotaged yourself. Describe the setting, circumstances, and end result. Avoid over-analyzing.

Most often, a person's true intentions are most evident in their actions, rather than their words.

Strive to be an impersonal observer in your journal. Eventually, you'll gain a better understanding of your motives in certain situations.

2. Envision success.

Keep in mind that success is neither black nor white. Cultivate the habit of envisioning what success means to you and remember how it feels to achieve it. If you do this consistently, you may find that what you envision changes over time.

Begin to see success as an integral part of your future but realize there will still be challenges. Just like everyone else, you'll still have to pay taxes and have relationship issues.

3. Let go of the notion of perfection.

book titled Brave, not perfect sitting on a table.

As you visualize success, are you still thinking that success equals perfection? If so, it's time to realize that nobody is perfect.

This is what George Bernard Shaw would refer to as "doublethink." Perfection and life are mutually exclusive because perfection is unattainable. Your subconscious won't allow you to achieve success if you associate success with the impossible task of being perfect.

Think of your subconscious as a computer. It doesn't know how to execute a command called "do the impossible."

If you associate success with fear, your subconscious will fight you the entire way. Why? Because its primary function is to protect you from perceived threats.


Give yourself permission to anticipate success with excitement. Perhaps you've been sending your subconscious the message, "Don't give me success!" So, let's put your self-sabotaging behaviors in the past!

If you're like most people, you've probably engaged in some self-sabotaging behavior at one time or another. It's a uniquely human trait that can be quite frustrating. But don't worry - you have the power of choice over whether or not this continues. So, take control! Give yourself permission to anticipate success with excitement and refuse to talk yourself out of going for it. The journey to your ideal life starts now!

Need an extra nudge on your career journey? Opt into our career coaching services today and get back on track.

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