Motivational Monday

Motivational affirmations, quotes and pep talks to get you through the week ahead.

Note: This is going to be a long one I uncovered so much information on this topic. So, bucket up buttercup, it’s gonna be a doozy!

12 Ways You Sabotage Yourself, How to Axe Self-Sabotaging Behavior and How to Get Out of Your Own Way

Self-sabotage is a uniquely human behavior. 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? Although self-sabotage is a subconscious behavior, we can get a handle on it.

Many people are worried that either the Universe or other people are out to get them. Interestingly, the greatest enemy you’ll ever face is staring back at you in the mirror. It knows all your tricks and how to push your buttons. You sabotage yourself in ways you’ve never imagined.

There are many reasons that you might sabotage yourself. It’s an extremely common behavior, rooted in a fear of the unknown. If you’ve immersed yourself in mediocrity, the idea of greatness may be frightening. Ask yourself if you’re satisfied with your life.

Consider these ways you might be keeping yourself from the successful life you deserve:

  • Your standards are too low. You get what you tolerate. You, of all people, should consider your life to be a sacred thing. Yet, you’re willing to get into relationships with others that aren’t worthy of you. You’re willing to stay at a job you don’t like. You tolerate friends that are anything but.

    • Treat yourself like someone you care deeply for.

  • You’re too concerned with the opinions of others. Be brave enough to do your thing without concern for what others will think.

  • You lack assertiveness. You can be “nice” and still be assertive. Be willing to let others know what you think, want, and need. You’ll be more likely to achieve what you want and garner respect from others.

  • You spend money you don’t have. Consumer debt is incredibly toxic to your life and sense of well-being. If you can’t pay cash for it, it’s better to wait.

  • You think too much about the short-term and too little about the long-term. Potato chips now versus a bikini next summer. A vanilla latte every day versus a family vacation next year. People that struggle are too influenced by their emotions in the present instead of thinking long-term.

    • You often have to give up something today to get something better in the future.

  • You believe that tomorrow will be different. It’s easy to feel motivated for a moment and swear to yourself that things will be different, starting tomorrow.

    • You’re going to stick to your diet, go to the gym every day, start saving 10% of your paycheck, and meditate for 30 minutes each day. But, how many times have you thought that? Has it ever been true?

  • Unless you change, the actions you take are likely to stay the same. The older you are, the more likely this is to be true. Start small and build from there.

  • You listen to your heart when you should listen to your head, and vice-versa. There’s a time for each. Figuring out which is best is a personal journey. When it comes to dealing with day-to-day decisions, your intellect is usually the best choice. Far-reaching decisions are often best left to the heart.

    • For example, choosing a career or a spouse might be best left to the heart. Deciding whether to spend $100 at a yard sale versus paying your electric bill on time should be made with your head.

  • You fail to commit. Without commitment, you’re just wishing, hoping, and wasting your time. Once you commit to something, it’s as good as done. It’s only a question of how long it will take. If you’re willing to change your mind, you eventually will.

  • You give fear too much power in your decision-making process. We are inclined to avoid fear in the short-term rather than override that fear with intellect. Unless your life or finances are in danger, fear should be left out of the picture.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

There’s a lot of truth to the quote, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” We get in our own way far more than life, other people, or bad luck sabotage our success. We really are our own worst enemy. You’d be amazed by how much easier your life would be if you weren’t constantly sabotaging your success.

It boggles the mind why we stand in our own way, but we do. Understanding that fact is half the battle to overcoming it.

Try these techniques to stop sabotaging yourself:

  • Let go of the past. Mistakes from the past don’t mean that you’re doomed to failure in the future. The past should be used as educational material, not as a predictor of the future. Leave your past in the past and create the future you desire.

  • Avoid talking to yourself unless you’re going to say something nice. You spend too much time saying negative things to yourself. Eventually, you begin to believe them. Such negative input gives you an incorrect opinion of yourself and your capabilities. Ensure that your self-talk is supportive and positive.

  • Notice your habits that sabotage your success. Think about what you want to be successful at and notice your habits that stand in your way. For example, if you want to lose weight, but you eat a bag of chips every time you’re stressed, that habit is sabotaging your success.

    • Make a list of all the habits that sabotage your success. Write down all the ways in which those habits inhibit your success. What is the cost of each of those habits? Being aware of the damage these habits cause can make it easier to change them.

  • Define your fear. All self-sabotage is rooted in fear. What exactly are you afraid of? Are you afraid of embarrassing yourself? Are you afraid of finding out that you’re not capable? Are you afraid of success? Are you afraid of how people will view you?

    • Understand the basic fear that is causing you to sabotage yourself. Unless you can either get over that fear or remove it, you’ll continue to get in your own way.

  • Know your ceiling. Notice how far you can go before you begin sabotaging yourself. For example, perhaps you’re stuck at a particular income level. What income level do you get stuck at? If you’re trying to lose weight, at what point do you begin sabotaging yourself? We all have a ceiling for each part of our lives. Understand yours and seek to understand why.

  • Identify and change your beliefs. What are the beliefs that stand in your way? For example, do you believe that you’re naturally a chubby person that can never get below a certain weight? Do you believe that you can never be a successful writer because you failed high school English?

    • Look at all of your beliefs related to the part of your life you want to be more successful in. Which of those beliefs are getting in your way?

  • Notice the people that get in your way. Sometimes, we allow people into our lives that don’t really want the best for us. You’ll find that few people are truly interested in seeing you live up to your full potential.
    • Avoid believing that it’s acceptable to allow someone to get in your way. If they choose to be an obstacle, consider removing them from your life.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Let go of the notion of perfection. 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.

Self-sabotage is frustrating, and often challenging to notice. We all sabotage ourselves in a variety of ways. The biggest obstacle to your success is yourself. Notice how you get in your own way and begin changing those habits. Mastering yourself is the biggest step to mastering life.

The good news is that easier to control yourself than it is to control others or circumstances outside of yourself. Since you are the source of your challenges, you also have the power to eliminate them. Never underestimate how much you’re standing in your own way!

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!

Embrace the good life you deserve by picturing yourself as successful, and then refuse to talk yourself out of going for it. The journey to your ideal life starts now!

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