Stop Sabotaging Yourself

Know the identifying behaviors and strategies for change.

If your well-intentioned efforts often backfire, there could be reason: self-sabotaging behaviors. These are made up of actions and thoughts that negatively impact relationships, health, quality of life and emotional wellbeing.

Such behaviors are usually learned in childhood and passed down through generations. In the short-term, they may offer temporary relief from anxiety and stress as a means of avoidance. Long-term, they can lead to chronic depression, low self-esteem, substance abuse, poor interpersonal relationships and unfulfilled life goals.   

Ways We Self-Sabotage

  • Saying yes to commitments and tasks you don’t want to do.
  • Procrastinating on important projects.
  • Neglecting physical health, be it maintaining a poor diet, not exercising, abusing alcohol or not getting proper rest.
  • Frequently lying to avoid conflict.
  • Being impulsive.
  • Needing to always be right and subsequently pushing people away.
  • Not completing projects or tasks you’ve started.
  • Focusing only on the negative aspects of one’s life and one’s self.

Strategies for Change

Acknowledge self-sabotaging behaviors. This allows you to take personal responsibility so you can make lasting changes.

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Identify when you self-sabotage. Write down specific situations where you recognize self-defeating thoughts. Identify the feelings you’re avoiding with these tactics. 

Make a plan for challenging times. Take the time to brainstorm ways of responding to future challenging situations. Being prepared improves the likelihood of change. 

Seek professional help. Self-sabotaging behaviors are complex, so making changes may require help. Exploring the underlying causes with a professional can bring about the sort of insights needed for lasting change. 

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