Are you sabotaging yourself? You might not even realize that you’re doing it. Find out about 7 sneaky ways you might be sabotaging yourself in this post!
Do you have a goal for yourself but do you never seem to be able to reach it? Or does it take you way longer than necessary to do the things that will get you there? Perhaps you’re trying to lose weight, or you want to start your own business, but for some reason you just can’t seem to do it.
If this sounds familiar to you, there’s a good chance you may be sabotaging yourself. And you may or may not realize that you’re doing it.
What is Self-Sabotage?
Self-sabotaging behavior is when you do something (consciously, but more often unconsciously) that interferes with your goals and your progress towards reaching those goals. It’s sneaky, it’s subtle and it’s definitely not helping you get anywhere.
Believe it or not, but self-sabotage is actually a way to protect yourself.
Self-sabotage happens when you try to do something that is outside of your comfort zone. When you’re trying to reach a goal, it usually involves doing just that: getting outside of your comfort zone. That can be difficult and feel uncomfortable and vulnerable.
As humans, however, we are programmed for comfort and familiarity. Even though we consciously want to reach our goal, our subconscious mind protects us from potentially feeling uncomfortable or vulnerable by keeping us in the safe zone. So the moment we try to do something to reach our goal that makes us feel that way, we self-sabotage to feel differently.
I know you want to go after your goals and you don’t need self-sabotage to get in the way. To stop self-sabotage from holding you back, you first need to become aware of how and when you’re sabotaging yourself.
That’s why I’m sharing 7 ways you’re sabotaging yourself with you today.
For many of us, especially if you’re a perfectionist like me, this is probably the most common way self-sabotage shows up in our lives. I know it definitely is for me (If you were wondering: Yes, I was totally procrastinating to write this blogpost).
Procrastinating is when you put off the activities that would move you closer towards your goals by doing small, unimportant things. We put off those activities because we’re afraid that we might fail, disappoint or be judged. Or that we won’t get the results we want right away.
Procrastination is basically everything you do to avoid doing the thing that you had actually planned to do. Netflixing, checking your social media, calling a friend, doing the laundry… You name it.
These are obvious ways you might procrastinate, but you can also procrastinate without even realizing it (this always happens to me!), for example by searching for inspiration or researching. You can keep yourself busy all day with activities like these.
It feels amazingly productive, but the only thing you are actually doing is distracting yourself from doing the things that are truly going to bring you closer to your goal. It’s called productive procrastination.
Before I started writing this blogpost (and a couple of times in between…), I was doing just that. I was searching for inspiration on Pinterest, doing research, overthinking the article I was about to write and making small adjustments to my blog. It felt productive, but the hours passed by and I still hadn’t written a word…
It’s a sneaky way of procrastinating and if you do it unconsciously and without realizing it, it can seriously sabotage you and hold you back.
2. Quitting or Not Showing Up
When you’re doing something new that you can potentially fail at, it’s much easier to sabotage yourself by quitting or not showing up for yourself.
Not showing up for yourself, gives you a reason for not reaching your goal.
We like to blame something outside of ourselves for something we failed at, so that it’s not about us or our potential.
If you’re afraid that your business won’t be successful, it’s tempting to not put yourself out there. If you don’t show up for yourself and your business fails, you can justify it for yourself. You can tell yourself: ”I failed, because I didn’t try, not because I don’t have the potential”. You can put the blame on something outside of yourself.
It’s much harder to accept that your business failed if you did show up for yourself and tried your best. It requires you to look at yourself and the things you did to see what you could have done differently.
Moreover, it may be very tempting to quit when things are not going fast enough. You may think you’ve failed because nothing substantial is happening yet.
However, what most people often forget is that it takes time to reach your goal. You’re just gaining momentum. So even if you’re not seeing results right away, give yourself some time to really take off.
Don’t quit just yet and keep showing up.
Are you playing the waiting game? Waiting to get started with working out and eating healthier? Or with starting your own business and putting yourself out there?
Playing the waiting game is another perfect way to sabotage yourself.
There could be so many reasons why you’re waiting:
- It doesn’t feel quite right yet;
- It’s not perfect yet;
- You don’t feel confident enough about yourself;
- You’re not ready yet;
- You don’t feel certain enough about what you’re trying to do;
- You don’t have enough knowledge, motivation, or inspiration yet…
I know exactly how you feel: Stepping on a thread-mill if you haven’t done a workout in years is uncomfortable. And putting yourself out there with your business idea is vulnerable and scary.
Often, we tell ourselves we need more confidence, certainty, knowledge, inspiration, motivation. But is that truly what you need? Or is it just a way to interfere with your goals so that you can avoid discomfort?
Waiting can take up so much of your valuable time. Time that you could have spent on getting started and doing things that would get you closer to your goal.
Just imagine what you could have reached by now if you hadn’t spent all that time waiting and would have just started instead.
So tell me, what are you waiting for?
4. Making Excuses
How often do you find yourself making excuses for something you said you would do, but you didn’t?
Something along the lines of: ”I couldn’t do it, because I was tired”. ”I wanted to do it, but I didn’t have time’‘. ”I was working on it, but I needed more information”. Guilty?
Well, I hate to tell you, but making excuses like these is seriously sabotaging your success.
We make excuses to rationalize why we didn’t do something to avoid the true explanation. Often, the true explanation is that doing that task feels uncomfortable and vulnerable and we are afraid to fail or disappoint.
Making an excuse is much easier than moving through those feelings. It’s the easy way out, but it’s not going to help you to achieve your goals.
5. Not Having Goals and Not Planning
If you self-sabotage yourself, you probably know how disappointing and frustrating it is to set goals and make a plan, but never living up to that.
I know exactly what that is like. When I started my blog, I made a plan every single week of the things I wanted to get done. Then when I looked back at the end of the week, I realized I hadn’t even accomplished half of the things I wanted to do.
I got so frustrated and disappointed with myself, that I just stopped making plans at one point.
To reach your goal, you have to get out of your safe zone and do things that you might fail at. If you’ve disapppointed yourself so often in the past, you get scared of disappointing yourself again and again.
We don’t want to disappoint ourselves and so we sabotage ourselves ahead of time by not setting goals or making plans. By doing that, you don’t have the opportunity to disappoint yourself anymore.
If you don’t really try, you can’t really fail, right?
The truth however, is that we’re disappointing ourselves even more by not even trying to reach our goals.
6. Saying ‘I Don’t Know’
This is something I used to do so often. Saying ‘I don’t know what to do’ or ‘I’m so confused’.
That’s because if you tell yourself that you don’t know or you’re confused, you have a reason to not do anything. Saying ‘I don’t know’ is much easier than figuring out what to do and having to lean into that discomfort of the new and unknown.
Often, you know exactly what to do, but you’re afraid to make a decision, because you don’t know the outcome. Instead, you choose to close your eyes and look the other way so that you don’t have to feel the discomfort and can be in control and have certainty.
But sometimes (more like 99% of the times), reaching your goals means jumping before you’re ready, before you know all the answers, before you have it all figured out.
You’ll learn and figure it out on the way down.
7. Giving into self-doubt
Self-doubt: that little voice that comes up in your head when you try to do something you’ve never done before or when you try to go outside of your comfort zone.
Suddenly, thoughts pop up in your head: What if I can’t do it? What if I’m not good enough, not smart enough, not knowledgeable enough?
These negative thoughts result in fear: of failure, of judgement, of disappointing… Most of the times, you probably won’t even notice these negative thoughts, but they have a big impact on your actions.
If you constantly doubt yourself, it’s much harder to follow through with your plans and to do what you want to do.
If you doubt that you can set up your own business, you probably won’t put in as much effort. As a result, the outcome may be disappointing and that will feed your self-doubt and negative thoughts even more.
Even though that little voice in your head is sabotaging you to believe that you can’t do it or that it’s not good enough, you have to realize that you are not your thoughts.
Just one more thing…
I hope that this blogpost has made you a little more aware of the ways you might be sabotaging yourself, so that hopefully you can start to recognize when you’re sabotaging yourself.
You have so much potential and it would be a shame if you can’t share it with the world because you’re sabotaging yourself.
How does self-sabotage show up in your life? How has it impacted your goals in the past?