Self-sabotage doesn't always seem to prevent things that will get you where you want to go. Some self-saboteurs, instead of thinking how to get out of things, postpone something or look at their future from a negative perspective, can actively go out of their way to eliminate positive things from their lives. For example, you start more projects than you have time to finish. Work on low-priority tasks, but leave high-priority tasks undone.
Self-sabotage is rooted in counterproductive mentalities that include negativity, disorganization, indecision and negative self-talk. Perfectionism and imposter syndrome are also forms of self-sabotage. An insidious and ubiquitous form of self-sabotage is meaningless distractions that prohibit the achievement of the goal. Sabotage can hide behind impulsiveness and the need for emotion.
People who self-sabotage may be aware of their actions. For example, a person who is overweight and on a diet could consciously sabotage his good efforts by eating a whole carton of ice cream. Self-sabotage may seem mysterious and complicated, but it doesn't have to be. As a psychologist and therapist, it's something I help my clients work on every day.
In the rest of this section, I'll give you a concrete definition of what self-sabotage is. Here are some specific examples of what it looks like in real life and where it comes from. Self-sabotage is when you undermine your own goals and values. In other words, you recognize that there is something out there that you really want and you think it's good for you (for example,.
Avoid those 20 pounds you just lost), but then you do things that directly conflict with that goal (for example,. Of course, there are infinite ways in which we all fall into self-sabotage. So before we move on to understanding what causes it and what to do about it, let's take a look at some practical examples of what self-sabotage could look like in your own life. Everyone is engaged in self-sabotage from time to time.
For some people, it's an occasional thing with relatively minor consequences. But for others, it's a chronic pattern that leads to major problems in their life, work, and relationships. Of course, there are many more examples of self-sabotage, but here are some of the most common. But remember, all of these things are normal and not necessarily signs of a major problem.
We all put things off from time to time, for example. Like all of us, we use food or other substances from time to time for emotional and not strictly nutritional reasons. However, when these things become consistent patterns with significant negative effects, that's when it's worth looking at them further. Just as self-sabotage can take an almost infinite variety of forms, there are many, many forms in which it develops and takes root.
There is not a single reason why self-sabotage occurs. And looking for a simple answer is often a sign that you don't fully understand what self-sabotage really is and what it takes to overcome it. It's self-sabotage because the way they've learned to meet their need for confidence and self-esteem is by fostering relationships that don't really work, but that make them feel superior and self-confident. Obviously, this gets in the way of their long-term goal of having a healthy romantic relationship, but they keep falling into it because self-esteem is so low and they don't have a better way to approach it.
The behaviors and results are the same, but they come from completely different backgrounds. Of course, this is not to say that there are no common patterns when it comes to what causes self-sabotage. People who chronically self-sabotage learned at some point that it “works” very well. I put the works in quotation marks because it works in a short-term sense, but it usually has the opposite effect in the long term.
The fact that self-sabotage “works” on some level or at least it did at some point is absolutely fundamental and is the starting point for definitively changing your self-sabotage behaviors. Before you can undo unhealthy behavior, you have to understand the role it plays. If you want to stop self-sabotage, the key is to understand why you're doing what you need to fill. Then, get creative to identify healthier and less destructive ways to meet that need.
Before you get hard on yourself and commit to change, be compassionate with yourself and commit to understanding. Only when you understand the need your self-sabotage is filling can you cultivate alternative behaviors to meet that need. And only when you meet that need in any other way can you give up self-sabotage forever. Once you have a clear understanding of what your self-sabotage needs, the next step is to generate ideas for alternative behaviors that address the need, but in a way that doesn't hurt you.
One of the best ways to develop alternative behaviors for self-sabotage is to study other people like you. First, create a list of other people you know with similar circumstances. For example, if the behavior you would like to find an alternative to is eating junk food as a way to relieve work stress, make a list of others you know with high-stress jobs. Then contact and do some research.
Ask them how they handle work stress. Gather all these ideas you find in one list. Even if you have identified the underlying need and a set of healthier behaviors to address it, you still need to anticipate potential obstacles to using those new behaviors. If your alternative behavior to stress eating after work is eating a small, healthy snack instead of eating junk food, what could stand in the way of that new behavior? It's easy to stick to new behaviors and good intentions when the conditions are right.
But if you want to eliminate self-sabotage forever, you also need a plan for when times are tough. It is not enough to have good alternative behaviors to self-sabotage. You also need contingency plans for the inevitable obstacles that will arise when you start implementing them. Letting go of self-sabotage is not simply an intellectual problem of planning and strategy.
To form any new habit or set of behaviors, you must be able to tolerate discomfort, especially emotional discomfort. And this is just as true for replacing self-sabotage behaviors with alternative healthy behaviors. This is not the most necessary step to let go of self-sabotage, but it is the most powerful. When you clarify your values and aspirations, the things that really matter most to you in life and then connect your new healthier behaviors with them, it's much easier for them to take root and grow, leaving old self-sabotage behaviors far in the distance.
Let's say you want to give up the self-sabotage behavior of watching the news as soon as you get home from work because it's a time stroke and leads you to not achieve more meaningful goals. And let's say that the alternative and healthiest behavior you'd like to replace it with is going for a walk to get some exercise. Now, if I ask you, why do you want to go for a walk instead of watching the news when you get home from work? can you respond with something like, 'Cause I want to get fit. Getting fit is a value, but not very convincing.
It's not visceral or specific, it's vague and abstract. But if you want your values to help motivate you towards your new behaviors, they must be convincing. And the way you do that is by forcing yourself to be more specific. So, I could continue with Well, why do you want to get in shape? To which you could answer: Because I want to feel more energetic and less tired all the time.
Now, that is a clarified value. It is a value that has teeth. It is a value that has gravity. And because it has gravity, it will help you get you toward your goal and your new behavior, which is key if you're trying to resist the gravity of old, self-sabotaging behavior.
If you want to stop self-sabotage forever, the key is to understand what need it serves and then develop alternative behaviors that meet the same need in a healthier and more productive way. Thank you for this much-needed inspiring read. A very good article about self-sabotage. An absolutely fantastic article that provided information on a topic that I didn't think was relevant to me.
In my situation, the article does not provide a “out of the box” solution, but it certainly provides a “orientation map” in which I have to take responsibility for providing the “why” and “how” to get to a desired destination. Thank you very much, Lauren that means a lot ???? Lauren has said it much better, HOWEVER I say that I found it uplifting, it had teeth and gravity, a force of nature. I like the strategies you outline. Since I retired, I postpone things and it's because I don't have goals.
Thank you. What do you suggest in these cases? A man is getting a divorce (or a woman) and circumstances force him to live in the same house or condominium for many weeks. The couple initiating the divorce does NOT pay attention to the other, but the person who is rejected cannot stop throwing insults or, alternatively, cannot act badly by paying back bills, demanding to speak, etc. He or she often destroys any bargaining currency in mediation or trials.
Now all I have to do is put this knowledge into practice. I'm going to sit down with my values and how I self-sabotage, make a plan and make some transformative changes Thank you for this useful article. In a nutshell, but so deep. Thank you very much for the help.
My self-sabotage creates feelings of aversion towards myself, reinforces my low self-esteem and how I deserve the poor results of it. I understand your article, but I can't seem to make it fit me. Is this another form of self-sabotage? This was very useful. It is not very often that you come across these articles and, in fact, they guide you well.
If I may, I would like to share my reflections on your last point in relation to values. Identifying and supporting your core value helps you clarify your personal identity, essentially “finding yourself”. Answer a fundamental existential question about your purpose on earth. If you carry out actions that fit your natural interests, you're basically perfecting what your true character is.
That's why I think its fifth value point reinforces the merit of Vision Boards. A vision board appeals to the right side of the brain that is more connected to its artistic and less rational side. Using images, as well as sounds, scents, tactile material, etc., can help you communicate with your amygdala-driven self. Self-sabotage in the form of procrastination is emotional in nature, as confirmed by recent research.
It seems that logotherapy could be useful in reframing self-sabotage behavior in the broader scheme of “will to sense”, rather than “will to power” or “will to pleasure”. The part about identifying securities is on I was a poster boy for self-sabotage. I literally eliminated a 30-year career and a corporate vice president position through self-sabotage. Somehow I just didn't believe or think I deserved it.
I'm pretty sure this is due to the dysfunction of my mother's lack of self-confidence. I had to start over at 50 with Disney. I worked to understand the causes and conditions of this lack of trust. I like who I see in the mirror.
Thanks Nick, especially about the steps to handle it and feel comfortable with uncomfortable feelings, your writing is very easy to read and understand without being too exaggerated. Thank you very much for giving me clarity on this subject. What if the need is not healthy? For example, the need to continually confirm that you are garbage and deserve a life full of garbage. You don't want to find another way to meet that need; you want to replace that need with something better.
How do you do that? Jenny, I don't think that's self-sabotage, which has to do with keeping yourself from reaching your goals or expectations. What he describes sounds more like Self-harm, where he actively seeks to destroy himself, little by little, especially what he says about wanting to inflict pain on himself. Why do you want to treat yourself so cruelly? This is the most useful article I have ever encountered in my life regarding taking control of my life and I found it particularly relevant to my usual lateness. Thank you very much.
Very useful article for me. I'm going to start recording all the habits and feelings in the diary to examine myself better and be able to lead my life completely positively. I feel like I was destined to read this. It's made me realize that I don't intentionally self-sabotage on a day-to-day basis.
I will try to reduce self-sabotage, tomorrow is a new and new day. This is not logically accurate, as the client has stated that he does not want to exercise TOO much watching the news. Very good content thank you very much ???? Thank you Nick. Very practical, specific% 26 measurable tips.
Thank you very much for this beautiful article. Some confusion clears up after reading it. Even though I always considered myself a happy person, I now realize that my constant attempts to make me feel better reveal in me a sadness that I didn't know was there. It's time to face sadness and seek help.
Enjoy this very insightful piece, also help me to think deeply about how to stop self-criticism. Good article, I have noticed behaviors that seemed like self-sabotage, so I looked it up and ended up here, the description certainly sounds like me. You're a good man for getting this out. I appreciate what you said and it makes a lot of sense.
I guess this means I'm going to have to read more of your stuff. However, how does step 1 work? Great article, I've been looking for tips like these, but this is the clearest and most complete explanation I've come across. Amazing article, it helps me understand why I have some attitudes and what can I do to change it. What if you yourself sabotage your work with your weight management team because you haven't decided if you want to stop something from killing you? So, when everything is too much, you're forced into self-sabotage behavior because, 'who cares? '.
I have always believed that my self-sabotage was a deep and dark mystery that I would never decipher. Thanks for this, now I can change my whole game. My biggest problem is that I don't know why I do it. Intense things have happened to me, but I don't really care about those things and I don't think they're the cause.
It's frustrating not knowing why. An interesting article, it is true that many times we ourselves do not believe in ourselves, or we do things that do not allow us to achieve our goals and dreams. It is important to know our fears and difficulties in order to move forward. Thank you for the article, I understand self-sabotage better, you are right, have compassion and understanding and learn to tolerate discomfort, give me a whole new understanding.
Better habits for better mental health. There are different types of self-sabotage, including procrastination, perfectionism, self-criticism, resistance to change, and poor self-care. Ultimately, it's a very common human behavior, but like humans, it has variations. Whatever form your self-sabotage takes, it's possible to overcome behaviors that prevent you from achieving your goals in life.
When I am aware that I am self-sabotaging, the critic's voice starts to hit me and shame takes hold of me and my thinking is distorted. The reasons for sabotaging relationships are complex, but understanding the origins of sabotage is key to change. Hey, I sabotage myself specifically eating for stress, sleeping too much, addiction to pornography and masturbation, it's painful to do normal things that others do, abuse my puppy. I have been subconsciously sabotaging my relationships with a person I really want to be with and I read your article show me that it is fear of everything.
I feel instant pleasure to see myself in the trash, I imagine another worse self sabotage I could do and I can't wait to do it. I grew up being constantly criticized and despised by my father and that has caused me to have the habit of self-sabotage. Unless you've done the work to recognize and change that pattern of thinking through something like self-development or therapy, as an adult you can sabotage any experience where someone tries to love you. .