How to Overcome Self-Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common problem in the workplace today. Many people fail to achieve their dreams and goals due to self-sabotage. This is usually brought about when one dwells constantly on negative thoughts. Engaging in negative self-talk creates a strong self-sabotaging cycle which is not easy to break. One of the indicators of self-sabotage is when you stop moving towards your goals for no logical reason. Even though you have the desire, ability and skill, you simply grind to a halt. When you find yourself unable to do something which you are capable of doing, then you might be dealing with self-sabotage.

Here are a few examples of self-sabotaging behavior:

  • Procrastination – When you know you need to start or complete a project but you keep putting it off
  • Worry – You might worry about what people will think about you if you fail or succeed. You could also feel anxious about your ability to accomplish a project
  • Anger – This is when you communicate with others in an aggressive manner. It usually ends up destroying relationships with colleagues, friends and family
  • Feelings of worthlessness – This is when you diminish your own achievements while exaggerating what others have done. It also involves allowing others to put you down

If you want to make progress in your career, you need to overcome your personal self-sabotaging behaviors. The following are some steps for breaking the cycle of self-sabotage:

1. Identify your self-sabotaging behavior

The first step towards overcoming self-sabotage is to identify your own self-sabotaging behavior. Here are some questions you could ask yourself.

  • What are you always failing at?
  • Which of your goals still remain unaccomplished after a long time?
  • In which areas of your life are you always procrastinating?
  • Do you find yourself being constantly frustrated and angry? Is this having a negative impact on your relationships?

2. Keep track of your negative thoughts

‘You can’t do this!’ ‘You don’t have what it takes to complete this project’. These are some of the negative thoughts that accompany self-sabotaging behavior. It is very important to constantly monitor your negative thought patterns. Write down all these thoughts, no matter how unrealistic or stupid they appear.

3. Challenge your negative thinking

Once you have written down your negative thoughts, take time to think through them. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are these thoughts logical? Do they have a clear basis?
  • What could be the real reasons behind this self-sabotaging thinking?

4. Develop confidence building behaviors

After recognizing and challenging your self-sabotaging behavior, you should then begin building your self-confidence. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my options? Are there other ways of accomplishing your goal?
  • Can I break down my big goals into smaller, achievable goals?
  • What encouraging or positive words can I say to myself?

Engaging in negative self-talk regularly, slowly erodes your self-esteem and self-confidence. It is therefore very important to deal urgently with such thoughts. Replace them with positive thoughts which will build your confidence. This will protect you from being caught up in a vicious self-sabotaging cycle.


Image: Tired Businessman by John Currie , via Flickr