Today, we’ll be talking about self-sabotage which often looks like...
- not asking for support and guidance when in need
- intentionally underperforming
- being late, sleeping in, not showing up, running away
- not standing your ground
- over analysing and not making a firm decision
- picking fights with your partner
- getting caught up in a negative self talk
This is a problem we witness many of our clients, friends and family members face and truth be told, more often than not, people do not understand why they are behaving the way they do. In fact, a common complaint we hear is “Why am I sabotaging myself all the time?”. Unfortunately, a lot of people believe that they do not have power over such behaviours. We are here to tell you otherwise. So let’s begin by clearly defining what self-sabotage is.
Self-sabotage is the manner in which we react to our negative emotions and belief systems which ultimately, moves us further away from our goals. It is something we do to ourselves, it does not just happen to us.
So now that we understand that self-sabotage is within our power to manage, how do we put an end to this vicious cycle?
In this article, we explain the three reasons why you are always self-sabotaging, how you can identify specifically why you are doing what you are doing and finally, empower yourself with the steps necessary to put a stop to your self-sabotaging behaviour once and for all.
The three reasons why we self-sabotage and get in the way of our own success
Fear of failure
Self-sabotage is when we consciously choose to behave in ways that will ensure we fail at something so, that we do not have to face the truth that we could have potentially failed if we tried. An example of this in practice would be - binge watching Netflix until 2am despite knowing you have an important board meeting and presentation at 9am in the morning where you are required to perform at your best.
In sabotaging our own efforts, we then have a solid ground to rely on when we fail. This ultimately, protects our egos from taking the blame. We decide to be the architects of our own failure instead of taking the risk of being successful especially when we believe the chances of failing are pretty high.
So, in essence, these self-sabotaging behaviours often stem from the fear of failure or fear that we will not achieve our desired outcomes immediately.
Lack of self-worth
If we feel that we are not worthy or deserving of the life of our dreams then people will often engage in a behaviour, consciously or subconsciously, that is self-destructive.
This originates from something called, cognitive dissonance which refers to an inconsistency of beliefs, feelings or behaviours that creates a mental state of tension and distress.
This is not a state we like to be as humans, we like to go about our lives acting in ways that are in line with our values. If our behaviours are not aligned with our thoughts, we will do whatever it takes to realign them. Working towards achieving your goals when you feel like a failure on the inside will cause you to put a hold on what you’re doing even when you are on the right track.
Fear of change
Another critical reason to understand why we self-sabotage is due to the fear of change. As humans, we generally prefer to keep things status quo. We find comfort in feelings of familiarity and control. You see our brains are designed to avoid pain, seek pleasure and be as efficient as possible and hence by staying the same, the brain is performing its job successfully (read more about this concept here). Sadly, taken to extremes, that might mean that we hardly engage in anything new, challenging that requires us to step out of our comfort zones.
Ultimately we need to understand that our fear of change encourages us to accept the status quo and miss out on opportunities to learn, to stretch and grow because our mind is very much aware that failure is always a probability when we set out to attain our objectives.
So, how we do we end this downward spiral of self-sabotage?
Pin point your root cause or causes
It requires time and courage to be honest as to why you keep shooting yourself in the foot in the first place. However, it is worth the investment as this heightened level of self-awareness will be the doorway to understanding your underlying drivers and what you can do about them moving forward. You see, once you are able to come to the conclusion that your self-sabotaging habits are rooted in your fear of change, for example, you will know where change needs to happen.
Create new and more positive beliefs
Now that we have understood that our fears and limiting beliefs are what is holding us back from making real change and embracing success it is then, important to start replacing these unwanted thoughts with more positive and encouraging ones.
Here are a few examples:
“My sense of self-worth is my birth right, it is not something that needs to be earned.”
“I am in control of my thoughts, feelings, choices and therefore, my results.”
“I am a powerful creator of my goals.”
“Whenever I put my mind and heart into something, I am always successful.”
“Challenges are meant to help me grow as an individual and therefore, I welcome them into my life.”
“I stay focused on my goals even in the face of adversity.”
For any of these affirmations to work for you, you have to truly believe them. If you do not, they will not work. So if none of the aforementioned affirmations work for you then, create your own set of beliefs.
Practicing believing these new thoughts
Just like any new skill, training your brain to think differently takes time. But the more you practice thinking realistically, the more mental muscle you'll build. It is scientifically proven that our brain can undergo certain neurological changes that will permanently help you think differently if we make the effort to think and act differently everyday, this is thanks to something called neuroplasticity .
You can go about practicing believing these new thoughts by either...
- Recording yourself repeating these affirmations for at least 10 minutes and listening to them first thing in the morning
- Putting up different post it notes for each affirmation and reading them out loud every morning or just before you go to bed
*Feel free to let us know if you have any other methods in comment section below.
Now at this point after all the tips that we have provided if you still feel that you cannot do this on your own, it is perfectly normal and alright. Sometimes the feelings of low self-worth, fear of change and failure are so deeply rooted that you might find yourself requiring the assistance of a coach and there is absolutely no shame in that.
So go ahead and reach out to us and we’d love to learn more about you and share with you exactly how we can help you move above self-sabotage and embrace the life of your dreams with greater self-confidence.
To your health, happiness and longevity,
The Levitise Team
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