How to Get Out of Your Own Way

What Causes Self-Sabotaging Behaviors and How You Can Rise Above Them

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Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

“It’s no surprise to me I am my own worst enemy…” — Lit

Do you tend to procrastinate on achieving your goals, or lack the commitment to reach them?

Or, maybe you are in a relationship where you’re feeling insecure so you end up creating a bunch of unnecessary drama, which only ends up creating a bigger rift or the relationship to end all together?

Or, do you spend money as soon as you have it? Do you wake up with every good intention to get stuff done, but go to bed feeling like you didn’t accomplish anything?

Self-sabotaging behavior, habits, and thoughts not only cause stress and frustration; they keep you from achieving your goals in life. They are like self-fulling prophesies: You believe in a negative outcome, so you create it.

But where do these behaviors and habits come from? Most of them come from an accumulation of dysfunctional and distorted fear-based beliefs, which leads to feelings of being incapable, unworthy, unaccepted, or undervalued.

There are different types of self-sabotage. The most common are:

Any of these sound familiar? I was guilty of pretty much all of the above, which only held me back from achieving my goals and creating a prosperous business. The suckiest part was I had no one to blame but myself for it. Once I took full responsibility and figured out what I needed to do to address these issues, I was on a much better path.

I want to hep you do the same. Here are some tools:

  1. Go through the list above and rate each on a scale of 1–5 with 5 being “that’s so me!” If you have a few 5’s then pick the one that could have been a 10 and start working on that one using the tactics that follow.
  2. Break out your journal. Ask yourself where these behaviors and habits are coming from. Make a list of all the things that are preventing you from having what you want. Take time to evaluate your big WHY- why do you want this, and get real with your goals. Look at what is really holding you back. Identify the small things, like complaining or blaming for example, that are holding you back along with the big ones.
  3. Be aware of your stress. Write down the source of that stress and how you responded. Be more consciously aware of your thoughts. Take note of any distressing emotion. What were you thinking right before that? This will help you identify the triggers.
  4. Be ok with less than perfect. If you insist that everything has to be 100% perfect 100% of the time, then you will never get anywhere. You’ll be stuck at the starting gate, which stands wide open. Just start the race. You may not win. You may even come in last the first time around, but then you will be armed with knowledge and experience so you will get that much further along the next time around, and the next, and the next. Everything is fixable. Share little wins with friends or in an applicable Facebook group. Everyone is there to cheer you on.
  5. Keep a positive mindset and mental attitude. If you’re having relationship issues, ensure you keep things in a positive tone when communicating. Have a contextual trigger. For example: “When I come home from work, I am going to make a positive comment to my spouse or partner.” Sometimes that positive action is saying nothing, or politely excusing yourself to go to the restroom to give things some space so you don’t end up picking a fight or blaming.
  6. Understand childhood patterns or influences that you bring into your present. Were your parents always broke so you have mental and emotional issues around money? Did your parents always fight so you witnessed a lot of fight picking and blaming? Gain a better understanding of these patterns by journaling.
  7. Cultivate self-compassion. Give yourself a break. By constantly blaming yourself and holding onto feelings of guilt, shame, or inadequacy, you are only contributing to your self sabotaging habits and behaviors. Stop focusing on what you think you do wrong and think about all you do right. Make a list of the “rights” and give yourself a little high five for each.
  8. Practice self-care. Make your well-being a priority. Workout, meditate, get a good night’s sleep, develop healthier eating habits, read/learn… These are just a few things that can not only help you feel better physically, they can give you the confidence boost to help you overcome your fears.
  9. Consider speaking with a life coach or therapist. If you are having difficulty moving past your fears and self-sabotaging behaviors, it helps to have someone to talk to, bounce ideas off of, and help get clear on why you are self-sabotaging yourself. A coach can also help you develop a clear plan to move past our fears and negativity and to help you move forward.

Once you identify why you are exhibiting self-sabotaging behaviors and get a clear picture of the situation, you can begin to address it and take steps to overcome and rise above it. There is greatness within you, my friend. You just need to get out of your own way so you can move towards it and eventually realize it.


Written by

Writer & NLP Certified Coach. I teach people how to realize their greatest potential and use their gifts to make a difference in the world. I also save animals.

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