One Word – Self-sabotage

Self-sabotage. It can be described as a deliberate or subconscious destruction or obstruction of desires, dreams and attempts to take action. It is a crime that we commit; a disparaging act against our own selves all the time. How?

We sabotage ourselves when we pay lip service to our goals. We don’t walk our talk. Instead, we honor our old ways of thinking and doing things. We justify our limitations by hanging on to our misguided beliefs about our abilities and ourselves. We use our fears as excuses. We bow to the criticisms, ridicule and expectations of others. We gravitate towards toxic people. In the end, we whittle away at our courage, our confidence and the passion that once burned in our hearts.

Fortunately, we can overcome self-sabotage. The most important step towards getting rid of our self-sabotaging behavior is to recognize that it is happening. We must be conscious of your thoughts, your emotions, and your actions.

Here are some suggestions to help us break this cycle of defeat, topple this enemy, dismantle its artillery and destroy its power over us.

Locate its seat of power and attack at its most vulnerable point
Self-sabotage does not simply happen. It starts somewhere and in order to deal with it effectively, we must identify the artillery we use against ourselves. When we know where the attacks originate, it is much easier to devise a plan to counteract the strikes, take both offensive and defensive actions. One way to accomplish this is to regularly spend time in quiet contemplation to understand the attitudes, behavior and feelings that come into play.

(a)  What self-talk, beliefs and mindsets do I use to trip myself up and halt productive moves?
(b) What is my favorite excuse for remaining stuck in the same old patterns of behavior?
(c)  What negative mantras ring in my head when I anticipate doing something different or difficult?

While self-sabotage is a common problem for many of us, each of us has our unique areas where we are most vulnerable. That is the area we must target early.  

We could ask:

(a)  What lingering insecurities taunt me?
(b) What specific fears hold me back?
(c)  Are there particular tasks or goals that trigger fear, prompts negative self-talk or creates mental and emotional blocks?
(d) How do I justify my failure to act? How do I undermine my initial desire to take certain actions?

The answers to these and similar questions tell us what we have to work on or eliminate. But we can’t stop here. We need to pinpoint the opposite attributes and habits, which we should hasten to inculcate, so that they can help us tackle the tasks and pursue the goals we’ve been avoiding.  

Set up new rules
Some of the weapons we use to sabotage ourselves may never be destroyed completely, but we can minimize their effectiveness. However, many can be permanently immobilized, destroyed.

1. I will cultivate and reinforce spiritual, mental and emotional armors to protect me from future attacks.
2. I will replace ruinous attitudes and behaviors with a mindset of determination, persistence and driving passion for whatever I want to achieve.
3. I will monitor my progress and use it to infuse regular injections of motivation.
4. I will enlist the help of a trusted ally to call on when I need some encouragement or to hold me accountable on my agenda.  

Exploring and resolving the issues behind our self-sabotage can free us to attempt, manage and accomplish long-outstanding tasks, projects and goals. New mindsets, beliefs and habits will set the foundation that will help us define our goals, formulate a plan that will guide and support our dreams, focus and strengthen our efforts and deepen our resolve to get and stay out of the rut of self-sabotage.  

In time, we will be thrilled to realize that the saboteur within had conceded and a happy, confident, passionate and accomplished person has emerged.


4 thoughts on “One Word – Self-sabotage

  1. One reason I keep a journal for my To-Do list is just that … to monitor my progress. Seeing that checked-off list gives a great visual to what I've accomplished. Sometimes it helps to come at a task from a different way too. Take a laptop to a new location to write, or walk through a new neighborhood for inspiration, that sort of thing. Change things up to scare away those insecurities.


  2. Joanne,

    We simply must do whatever it takes to extricate ourselves out of the clutches of self-sabotage.

    Your way of coming at it from a different angle can prove to be less stressful than battling it.


  3. Excellent, excellent! This post hit me where I live. I find myself fearful of leaving my comfort zone, staying in safe waters when it comes to my creative life. I stick with lower paying jobs when I know I am worth more, often saying I will reach higher when (1) I have more free time and I am not caring for (a) a child (b) my elderly mom (c) fill in the blank with another obligation …

    We make excuses for ourselves, usually out of fear and insecurity. Thanks for offering some real tools to conquer this problem!


  4. Hi Cindy L,

    Thanks for stopping by leaving a a comment. Thank you for your feedback and for sharing your struggles with self-sabotage.

    I can so identify with your (a) caring for a child. My granddaughter is my main excuse for not getting of my comfortable and scared butt to do some of the things I want and need to do to move my writing along.

    I hope in the near future, we'll be sharing stories of beating down our self-sabotage, rising from our fear-filled corners, leaving our comfort zones, and launching towards our goals.


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