How to Identify Self Sabotage & Stop Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
Self sabotage is far more common than many people realize and it is one of the worst things you can do to yourself.
So what is self sabotaging exactly?
Self sabotage is when you create hurdles to your own success and wellbeing by undermining personal goals and values.
Practically applied, it’s something you do to yourself to keep you from reaching your goals.
All too often it’s your attempt to protect yourself from something or avoid putting yourself in an uncomfortable or undesirable situation.
Self-sabotage is dangerous because it lurks in the background disguised as misfortune.
The potential impacts are huge and can have long-term effects on all aspects of your life to include relationships, finances, health and career.
Still not sure if you are guilty of self sabotage? Let’s dive in a little deeper.
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- How to Identify Self Sabotage & Stop Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
- Self Sabotaging Behaviors
- 8 Major Signs of Self-Sabotage
- Examples of Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
- How to Stop Self Sabotaging
Self Sabotaging Behaviors
The scary thing about self sabotage is you probably don’t even realize it’s happening!
Do you find yourself frustrated, not reaching your goals or is it easy for new or uncomfortable tasks to overwhelm you?
Sabotaging yourself can be linked to a fear of failure but also a fear of success.
If you aren’t comfortable with braving uncharted waters or stepping out into a new situation, the fear of success can be just as terrifying as the fear of failure.
8 Major Signs of Self-Sabotage
The signs of this destructive behavior are listed below. It’s important to keep in mind that no matter which sign you or someone you know is experiencing they are unhealthy.
Sabotaging yourself leads to increased anxiety, loneliness, helplessness and even depression.
Having feelings of being overwhelmed, tired, mentally drained or just avoidance of a task from a lack of desire to do it are all signs of procrastination.
Putting off a task, whether it’s important or trivial is procrastination and it’s bad for you.
We all do it from time to time but allowing this to become your norm will lead you down a path of consistent self sabotage that you want to avoid.
Procrastination leads to increased stress and anxiety and leaves you feeling inadequate in most aspects of your life.
Failing to complete one task, then another, creates a domino effect on your life as a whole.
You are Too Hard on Yourself
Being hard on yourself is a very common form of self sabotage.
The biggest reason is, you can easily mask this unhealthy habit as humility.
It is easy to think, “I don’t want to appear proud.” The next thing you know you are making excuses for accomplishments and decisions. Humility is good. Don’t get me wrong. BUT, be careful!
Don’t let humility turn into a form of self sabotage! It’s ok to be proud… AND confident!
Whether you or someone you know does this often, keep in mind it’s not a healthy way to approach life.
Being A Perfectionist
You can be wildly successful and still exhibit self-sabotaging behaviors.
Most of us know at least one person, or probably more, that do this.
Constantly feeling like you didn’t do or know enough, even with the best of intentions, is an unhealthy habit.
Negative thoughts consistently used to describe yourself or applied to your productivity is not healthy. It leads to low self-esteem and a general feeling of failure.
Often, a fear of failure will keep you from taking any productive steps forward if you are a perfectionist.
Negative or Pessimistic Outlook
Do you know someone who takes joy in picking apart a situation or even a person to find that one thing that is negative?
These are examples of a pessimist. Seeing the good in something is difficult.
They may dig and dig until they find something wrong with the person or situation.
Often times, this is to protect them from being vulnerable.
I don’t know about you, but this one is easy to identify with more people than I would like to admit!
Here’s a shocking fact… People who are pessimistic are more likely to die of a heart related disease.
It’s even common to avoid optimism for fear of judgement from people in your inner circle or to avoid appearing naive.
Regardless, this is another behavior or trait of self sabotaging behavior.
Organization is Not a Priority
If you are unorganized and thrive in chaos you may be exhibiting self-sabotaging behaviors.
Some signs of disorganization are constantly being late, missing deadlines and feeling like you are letting people down as a result.
People that are unorganized are 75% more likely to have lower self esteem and have a higher likelihood of unhealthy habits such as overeating to fill the gaps.
Did you know that even living in an unorganized or cluttered space increases your cortisol levels? Increased cortisol leads to inflammation and high blood sugar among other things.
So, being organized and having a clutter-free space is not only good for the eyes, it’s good for your health.
Not Believing In Yourself
If you feel like a fake in your own life or in a task it’s easy to slip into self-sabotaging behaviors and not even realize it.
Not sure if this is you?
Do you doubt yourself or fail to give yourself the credit you deserve? These are common signs associated with imposter syndrome.
If you are exhibiting signs of imposter syndrome you may avoid applying for that job you have been dreaming about.
You may avoid attempting a relationship that you have been longing for because you feel like you don’t deserve it.
Another sign of not believing in yourself or imposter syndrome is avoiding asking for help or sharing your opinion on something because you believe no one really cares what you think.
One of the tell-tale signs of this is not sticking up for yourself when others put you down or treat you “small”.
I know, this seems crazy to be on a list of self-sabotaging behaviors but it’s true!
Committing to more than you should can be a mask for having to do anything well or completely.
If you take solace in being able to say that you ran out of time and still know the recipient will be appreciative because you did something, this might be you.
I have been guilty of this over the years. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true.
If you are guilty of over-committing you may have issues with setting healthy boundaries. You could even have a deep desire to please everyone around you.
This is an honorable idea but impossible to pull off successfully.
If you are experiencing burnout you may bounce back and forth between almost euphoric feelings of joy and accomplishment to complete frustration and overwhelm.
Burnout can lead to a significant decrease in mental health, physical health and even poor financial decisions.
Often, this is a result of having been overcommitted for too long and a feeling of inadequacy and complete failure.
Sadly, the people who are most likely to experience burnout are typically highly qualified and really good at what they do.
This can also happen when a person is thrust into a situation or experience they didn’t want or weren’t prepared for.
Signs of burnout are frequent headaches, insomnia, nausea and complete exhaustion.
Burnout is a key sign of self sabotaging behavior in action!
Examples of Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
Still not sure if all of this can be applied to you?
Here are some examples that you might hear or say if you or someone around you is sabotaging themselves.
When someone compliments you:
- “I should have done more”
- “The only reason I got it done because Sarah has done it before”
- “It’s ok, but I should have added more (blank) and it would have been better”
- “I am so outside my comfort zone. It was luck”
- “Thanks! I wasn’t able to do what I wanted but I’m glad to help you out”
What you say to yourself:
- “How did I let that get away from me?”
- “I can’t believe I forgot to (blank) and that’s what I have to show for it”
- “I’ll take care of that later”
- “I will get to it eventually”
- “Tomorrow I will put everything back where it goes”
- “I just don’t feel like cleaning up”
- “They won’t listen if I engage in this conversation, so why bother?”
- “I don’t even deserve to be here”
- “I can find time to do one more thing”
What you say to others in conversation:
- “Yeah but, remember when she (blank)”
- “I shouldn’t be the one doing this project. Jill is more qualified”
- “There just hasn’t been enough time for me to work on that yet”
- “I got so busy I just didn’t have time to pick up”
- “I’m probably wrong, but…”
- NOTHING – when you are ridiculed or treated poorly
- “I’m struggling to balance everything that’s going on right now”
How to Stop Self Sabotaging
So you know self-sabotaging is bad. Now, what do you do about it?
Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix. The answer is easy… but it’s hard to start.
If you don’t believe you’re worth it, you won’t do the work that’s needed to live a healthy lifestyle.
Having a positive mindset about your life is critical to your ultimate success.
That being said, success isn’t necessarily making $1 million dollars or landing your dream job. Would those be great? Sure! But I’m talking about daily success that you can build on.
One decision at a time, one day at time you make a commitment to show self love and self-growth.
Self Care, Productivity, Personal Growth and Healthy Mindset Coach
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Comment below on what you do to avoid self-sabotaging behaviors! Let’s work together to encourage each other.
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This post was all about how to identify self sabotaging and stop self-sabotaging behavior with intention. Living a healthy lifestyle with a healthy mindset can help you live your best life!