7 Common Self-Sabotaging Behaviors to Know and Stop


Sober Recovery Expert Author

Have you ever wanted something but just can’t seem to get it, no matter what you do? Maybe you set a goal each year with firm resolve yet you keep missing the mark. Or perhaps you begin a relationship that seems promising in the beginning, only to find yourself creating drama down the road and eventually ending it.

If you’re constantly finding yourself in this cycle, you could be self-sabotaging. Part of you may want something, while another part is sabotaging your own chances of getting it. Oftentimes, this happens due to unconscious fear or other negative feelings you have treading beneath the surface. Here are 7 common ways you may be engaging in perpetual self-sabotage.

Self-sabotaging behaviors can stunt your growth in many areas of life. Take a look at the following ways people jeopardize their own chances of success.

1. You deny yourself success.

You say you want to be successful but come up short time after time. Deep down, you may actually feel unworthy of success. You could even be afraid of the changes that come along with success. Either way, it is important to recognize if you are sabotaging your own success and then take action to deal with the underlying issues.

2. You throw in the towel when it gets tough.

Successful and highly productive people become what they are because they know what to do when things get tough. They persevere, plod on and learn from their mistakes. Meanwhile, others throw in the towel as soon as it gets hard, giving up their chances of fully reaching their goal. Take a look at your past to see how you’ve dealt with the punches. If you’ve been giving up right before victory, you may be stifling your own eventual success.

3. You master a negative story.

We are in a constant mental conversation with ourselves. Do you tell yourself a happy story where you have full control of your situation or a sad story where you’re the meek and powerless character? What story do you end up telling others? What people think and say has a powerful correlation to the kind of life they live, so keep yours in check. Think of the kind of story you are thinking, speaking, and living out. If it has been negative, then it may be time to tell a new story—a positive, epic one of success.

4. You don't value money.

If you don’t take your financial circumstances seriously, you’re likely sabotaging yourself. You may have a subpar work ethic and be spending your money unwisely. Perhaps you feel unworthy of living a life of financial abundance. For some people, poverty is all they’ve ever known and they don’t feel they’re able to change their financial future. If you don’t value your part in earning and being a good steward of your money, you may be self-sabotaging.

5. You let others be in charge.

Sometimes, it’s nice when others are in charge, but you are ultimately the only one responsible for every area of your life. You get to make the final decision each and every day in a variety of areas. Do you own that responsibility or do you play victim? How can you do better? Commit to stop pointing fingers or looking at others to lead your way. Stop sabotaging your opportunities to take the reins and craft a fabulous life for yourself.

6. You crave perfection.

You know that nobody’s perfect, and yet you require perfection from yourself. This only sets you up for disappointment. Perhaps you won’t go through with something because you fear you will not execute it perfectly. Surely, this is self-sabotaging at its finest. Keep in mind to aim for progress—not perfection.

7. You plan, but never “do.”

Making plans are great, but if you never put forth the effort to attaining those plans, you’ll never achieve them. Are you an excellent planner but lack in creating momentum towards execution? Deep down, you may feel afraid of taking the steps necessary to execute. Could you be afraid of success? Look back and evaluate whether or not you’re stuck in “planning mode,” figure out why and find a way to move forward.

Self-Sabotage is a Breakable Habit

The good news is that self-sabotaging is a breakable habit. However, it does require some work. You have to change your attitude and behavior to reap the reward of a happy and productive life. If you found yourself checking off one or all of the above, make a decision to address your inner conversations so that you can move forward with a new perspective and direction.

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