Self-sabotage happens when you decide you want something and then make sure it doesn’t happen.
Have you ever found yourself close to achieving a goal, only to throw it all away at the last moment? Maybe it wasn’t perfect, or you thought you could do better, so you gave up on the whole thing. Did you look back later and kick yourself for being so foolish? You’re not alone because most of us have done just that. It might even be a pattern that repeats itself.
But why do you do this? Possible explanations can range from a need to control the situation to fearing failure and feeling unworthy of success. Regardless of the root cause of your self-sabotaging behavior, the solutions are similar.
6 Tips to Eliminate Self-sabotage From Your Life
1—Become Your Best Objective Observer.
Look back at the times you’ve sabotaged yourself, a project, or a goal. You may tend to excuse the behavior rather than address it. The trick is to ignore the excuses and observe the behavior. What assumptions would a casual eyewitness have based on your actions?
- Learn to notice the signs of self-sabotage. How and when do you do it? Take an outsider’s view and recognize your patterns.
2—Strive for Excellence, Not Perfection.
It’s the easy way out to quit because you run into some obstacles along the way, or the outcome isn’t meeting your expectations. Start by setting more reasonable goals so you can adjust your approach along the way. This attitude will help you stay on track and see things through. Nothing in life is ever perfect, so reframe your intention and strive for excellence instead.
- Imagine you’re working on a project, and you need to rely on other people’s contributions for the best outcome, and you expected everyone would live up to their agreements. Since you can’t control what others do, this isn’t a practical expectation. The best you can do is strive for excellence in your piece of the project, set a good example for others, search for other solutions, and hope for the best.
3—Who Else is Affected by Your Self-sabotaging Behavior?
Consider the other people in your life. When you give up on a goal, it often affects others. Self-sabotaging behavior is selfish. The fact is, you’re likely not just hurting yourself by engaging your tendency to quit.
- So, before you throw in the towel, consider how it will affect those around you. You may find the motivation you need to press on when you notice who else feels the impact.
4—Find the Adventure in Finishing Strong.
When you self-sabotage, you tend to stay in your own little world. You might need a shift in perspective to enable the project, goal, or intention to come to a successful conclusion. Whether your goal is to land a different job, start your next life chapter, find a new relationship, or something else, the pursuit alone will change your life to a certain degree. Be brave enough to see the adventure in the journey.
- What you don’t change, you choose. And, if you don’t change something, nothing changes. When you start a new project, then stop yourself from completing it, nothing changes, and you’ve wasted your time.
5—Self-sabotaging Behavior is Unnecessary if You Start Small.
Mapping out your plan and identifying small action steps to put it into motion will allow you to achieve mini successes. There is a gift in that approach, which you get to celebrate. When you notice that these small wins are not perfect, but they are slowly changing your life, there is no need to sabotage your progress.
- Enjoy the success and imagine how great it will be to reach more significant achievements.
6—Think Before You Leap.
Amid frustration, self-doubt, or waning confidence, you might jump to conclusions and make a decision that you can’t easily reverse. Before you do that, give yourself the grace of time to think about it. Decisions can be impulsive. Take a few days, tap into the other tips in this article, and check your perspective so you can make a wise decision.
Self-sabotage can be infuriating. Now, it might seem like you’re making a good choice, but with more thought, the truth becomes apparent. It’s easy to beat yourself up over your self-sabotaging behavior, but that can make it even harder for you to succeed the next time.
Take the time to become an objective observer and a recovering perfectionist and look around to be sure you’re not impacting someone else by quitting. Then, get curious. Take your project on as a new adventure; start small and think before you leap.
Along the way, be good to yourself and avoid “shooting yourself in the foot” with self-sabotage. With these tips in your hip pocket, you can and will be successful!
Take the First Step
If you struggle with self-sabotaging behavior, it might be that you’re stuck in a time of significant change in your life. It might feel impossible to move forward, and making choices can be challenging.
You might find yourself choosing to quit something rather than stick with it to make it better. This book will help. Take the first step, explore how change can impact you, and learn how to move through it with more ease.