Have you ever stayed up all night before an important work event?
Maybe you went partying all night, yet you were due for a test the very next morning?
Perhaps you spilled coffee all over yourself, just as you were headed to that big interview or left the house very late when you really had to be early?
While some of these situations can be chalked up to bad luck, others can be seen as examples of self-sabotaging behaviors.
There are situations where we can hurt our own chances and opportunities.
When we discover and understand our self sabotaging behavior patterns, we can then find ways to source solutions and strategies that can make our lives more successful, happy and a lot less chaotically complicated.
So in this article, let’s talk about self-sabotage and the different ways to stop these patterns of negative behavior in our life.
What Does It Mean To Self-Sabotage?
Self-sabotage refers to a situation when we undermine our own goals through our behaviors and choices.
There are many different ways in which this can manifest in life.
This means that we want something, and that something is good for us, and provides some value in our lives, but we make a self destructive choice that gets in the way of our own happiness in achieving our goals. Why ?
For example, we might say that our goal is to lose weight but then not follow through with healthy eating or exercise and not achieve the success in losing any weight.
We may know that eating more veggies is good for us, but instead of choosing a salad we get a burger with bacon. It’s that feel good behavior in spur of the moment, and then we hate ourselves for it later.
Or maybe we tell someone that we want a promotion at work but always end up waiting too long or never take the first step in asking for it, self- sabotaging our own success in the process.
It’s important to distinguish between self-sabotage and other situations.
It is natural to undermine something we don’t want or we perceive to be bad for us, for example, a goal or task someone has pushed onto us.
This is not self-sabotage.
It’s also not self-sabotage when a situation gets genuinely out of our control.
If we leave on time, but there is a traffic accident, for example, this is not an instance of self-sabotage.
A Few Examples Of Self-Sabotage
There are different behaviors of self-sabotage.
Some of these take place consciously, that is, we are aware of what we do. Example; choosing to watch a few more episodes of Netflix instead knowing that preparing for a presentation is more important.
Sometimes these negative behaviors can also happen unconsciously.
We might, for example, forget about an important appointment and don’t remember until it’s too late.
Although some common negative behaviors associated with self-sabotaging behaviors can be procrastination, when we leave things for the very last minute or delay something in favor of another, less important task.
Behaviors of lateness or lack of organization can also be common expressions of self-sabotage, which can lead to failure if we wanted to get that promotion.
People with low self-esteem or negative self talk patterns can also suffer from a fear of failure as they often believe they don’t deserve to succeed in life, so their subconscious will find ways for those feelings not only come true but get stronger in life.
Self-sabotage is a common issue in relationships.
It’s not uncommon for people in relationships to find themselves sabotaging their own happiness. The behaviors range from forgetting important things, having emotional outbursts or repeating the same action when we know our partner gets upset by it.
Another form of self-sabotage in relationships, can come from negative thoughts like “I’m no good, “He doesn’t really love me,” so the partner with the fear, low self esteem and negative thinking habit begins to behave in self destructive behaviors which in turn makes the other person distance themselves.
Some Of The Possible Causes Of Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
There is no single cause for self-sabotage. They can be caused by different experiences.
Sometimes, they are ways of protecting ourselves from pain or disappointment.
Other times, they are expressions of trauma or feelings of low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
They could also reflect our fear of success, fear of failure or even change.
Self-sabotage can also be linked to fatigue and burnout, among many other factors in life.
In many situations, the self defeating behaviors are usually stuck in negative mindset thought patterns, focusing more of the time on negative outcomes in life.
More times than not, we tend to focus on the negative aspects of our lives, more than the positives. The first step is to find different ways to stop this self sabotaging behavior in its tracks and rip it out once and for all.
We all deserve happiness, success and self confidence in achieving our goals in life.
But when we’ve had bad experiences in life, our confidence takes a huge tumble and we might expect that the future will bring more of the same. Which could dissipate some of our dreams we want to achieve.
Why Do We Need To Be Positive?
If we consider that negativity contributes to self-sabotage, then positivity can serve as a powerful antidote.
By adopting a more positive mindset and integrating practices, such as positive self talk, into our daily life, we are more likely to stop conscious and unconscious forms of self sabotage.
A positive view of the future, the possibilities and opportunities that could come our way can help us embrace change and work towards it rather than against it and adding more stress into our life.
Adopting a more positive set of beliefs can boost our confidence, self-esteem, improve our personal and professional relationships to have more success in life.
A positive outlook can help us identify the benefits in every situation in order to keep moving forward as we approach it consciously.
How To Avoid Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
So, let’s see what helpful steps we can take toward being more positive and rip out some of those self-sabotaging behaviors out of our lives.
Journaling is a healthy technique to shift our cognitive processes over time.
It’s helpful to identify what form of self sabotaging behavior is doing us the most harm so we can create a strategy in our journal toward achieving our goals in life.
It’s funny how, when we write in a journal rather than leaving it to our thoughts, the words we read make us more accountable for what is not working. This shows us what is working so we can actually give ourselves more credit and appreciation to boost our self esteem.
A great way to keep our mental health in check, is to “engage in self” introspection, as we get to discover the emotions around any fear we may have toward any personal or professional relationships. Develop more of a nurturing attitude coupled with confidence, strengthening a positive behavior in our life to improve the world we live in.
A daily journal practice, provides us an opportunity to change and shift our beliefs and perspective about ourselves. It also helps us to program our subconscious mind with learning how to re-frame toward a positive inner dialogue, so we can stop sabotaging ourselves and start living our dreams.
In this case, we could make it a healthy habit to journal daily, focusing more on a positivity attitude and strengthen new beliefs that make us happy. This is important cause we’re in it for the long term, so we need to give the best self care we can toward our own mental health, being true to our values, finding the voice that inspires us to be the best version we can be in our life.
So the first step can be, jotting down the good things that have happened to us during the day, with gratitude, and making lists of things that we do have in our life and that make our life better, the things that put a smile on our face.
You can write down positive thoughts and come up with best-case scenarios for the situations you face at the moment. This technique is great when trying to brain storm better solutions and strategies to anything challenging.
A journal with ready made prompts and tips inside, is a whole lot easier to use, than starring at a blank page, thinking what to write? This process would make it easier and faster to start your new journey!
Here are 2 very popular journals with prompts inside, both different in their own way.
Read each one’s description and see which one might suit your needs?
This journal comes in Paperback and hardcover
This journal is law of attraction planner which has a lot of prompts inside to be the best version of yourself on many different levels, mental, physical & interpersonal level using the law of attraction vibration guide. It comes in a variety of colors and designs on cover
Let That Sh*t Go: A Journal for Leaving
Your Bullsh*t Behind and Creating a Happy Life
(Zen as F*ck Journals)
Law of Attraction Planner - Undated Deluxe Weekly, Monthly Planner, a 12 Month Journey to Increase Productivity & Happiness - Life Organizer,
Gratitude Journal, and Stickers
Hypnosis can be a way of shifting our mindset whether we choose to seek therapy or practice it on our own through self hypnosis audios. Hypnosis is a great mindset tool for long term results in achieving our goals. It’s a helpful mindset tool, when we want to create a healthy new habit and releasing those inner feelings and emotions of procrastination and self sabotage.
It’s beneficial that the audios have been written by clinical hypnotherapists, as each stage of the relaxation, induction and positive messages are important for a smooth transition to form new habits and to have an uplifting experience.
Many use hypnosis as a helpful toolkit to adopt a healthy new mindset and behavior toward the goals they want to achieve in life.
It provides a way of opening our mind to change, helps with self sabotaging behaviors while fostering some fresh new positive beliefs and ideas into our daily routine.
A simple practice to shift our mindset is to adopt the attitude of consciously noticing the good in all situations.
When we recognize ourselves having a negative thought, we might try to consider something positive and consciously re-frame that thought, in order to stop self sabotage behavior and negative emotions which only lead us to more stress in our life.
For example, if we think negatively about the appearance of another person, try finding something that we could like instead, as everyone has their own journey in life. We may not know what this person’s journey currently is?
You could even use a reminder to practice it several times a day or make the commitment to do it on a regular basis in specific situations that evoke negative emotions.
Optimism and a more hopeful view of the future can reduce self-sabotaging behaviors, as these behaviors create more anxiety and stress.
Optimism helps us to recognize that anything challenging will pass, steering our minds away from worst case scenarios which haven’t even eventuated.
Overall, a positive mindset can help to shift some of the root causes of self-sabotage and keep us moving forward with healthier behavior and habits in life.
It also supports us in embracing transitions to change with moving toward our dreams with more confidence and sense of self worth in this world.
So whichever tip we take away today, can be the baby step we need in moving forward to a more confident and positive self.
Thank you for being here today and hope that one of these tips can make that difference in making your day better 🙂
Eason, A. D., & Parris, B.A. (2019). Clinical applications of self-hypnosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 6(3), 262-278. https://doi.org/10.1037/cns0000173
Hammond D.C. (2010). Hypnosis in the treatment of anxiety – and – stress-related disorders. Expert review of neurotherapeutics , 10(2), 263 273. https://doi.org/10.1586/ern.09.140
Hasbi, M., & Effendy, E. (2019). Hypnotherapy: A Case of Anxiety Person Who Doesn’t Want to Use Medication. Open access Macedonian journal of medical sciences, 7(16), 2698-2700. https://doi.org/10.3889/oamjms.2019.820
Williamson A. (2019). What is hypnosis and how might it work?. Palliative care, 12, 1178224219826581. https://doi.org/10.1177/1178224219826581
Our web pages and blog posts provide general information for general purposes only and not to be used for any medical, legal or alternative health advice for any type of physical, mental health or financial concerns.
Always speak to your practitioner before embarking on any new alternative treatments. If you have concerns about any medical matters, you should always consult your healthcare provider without delay.
We thank you for taking full responsibility for your own health and wellbeing in life. ☺