Are you self-sabotaging? Do you find yourself always running late for appointments and deadlines? Do you have a hard time getting motivated to start a new task or project?
If you find yourself picking fights, becoming easily offended or repeatedly dating or befriending people who are not compatible with you, maybe you should try employing some of the following techniques.
You could be sabotaging yourself without realizing it. Self-sabotaging refers to patterns of behaviors and thoughts that create problems in your life and keep you from achieving your goals.
If you think you are self-sabotaging and find yourself blaming others when things go wrong, it might be worth looking inward to see if you recognize any patterns in your behavior. Do you procrastinate, avoid things, and end up feeling overwhelmed? Do you doubt your skills and abilities? We need to identify these issues and consciously choose to act against them.
Identify Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
Figure out why things regularly go wrong and how you get in your own way. Self-sabotaging usually shows up in patterns. Analyze and identify the factors that trigger your self-sabotage. Some common factors include fear, boredom, and self-doubt.
Practising mindfulness can help organize your thoughts and focus on correcting self-sabotaging behaviors. Mindfulness allows you to uncover unconscious biases. By becoming more aware of your thinking process you can begin to alter the more destructive cycles. Utilize mindfulness to list productive reactions that you can use to replace sabotaging behaviors.
Discover Your True Intention
Self-sabotage can happen when you are looking for a way out but are afraid to act. Dig deep and discover what you really want. Maybe you don’t like your job but are afraid to quit so instead you are ‘accidentally’ late several days in a row causing your boss to fire you. The outcome is the same, but you have burned bridges along the way.
Try to change perspectives and create an opportunity that will work to your benefit instead. If you don’t like your job then decide what you will do about it. Put in your notice. Look for new positions. View the change as an opportunity in your control rather than something that happened to you.
Develop Rules for Yourself
Often times self-sabotage shows up as trouble decision making or overanalyzing. According to Berkeley.edu, one way to stop overanalyzing and make decisions more quickly and easily is to develop rules for yourself. For example, if you have less than half left of a product then it’s time to buy more. That rule saves time deciding when or if you really need to make a purchase. You could employ rules for yourself to get work done more efficiently such as starting with the shortest project first since you know you will feel more motivated after completing a task.
Employ Strategies to Combat Self-Sabotage
Yet another way that people end up sabotaging themselves is by avoiding the task at hand or procrastinating. Procrastinating and avoiding can happen when you have a hard time figuring out how to begin. Both of these end up increasing anxiety and giving you less time to complete the tasks which usually results in lower quality work.
Some strategies to combat avoidance and procrastination include:
- To-do lists (weekly, daily, or project-specific).
- Do the minimum required on less important tasks.
- Switch things up and try to do the last things first for a new perspective.
- Write down instructions as you would give them to someone else doing the project in order to simplify the requirements
Understand Your Decisions
The decisions you make can either enhance productivity or lead to self-sabotage. Try to understand the decisions you make and what the consequences of them usually are. Some decisions that will enhance productivity include:
- Leaving a document open so that you remember to return to it soon.
- Making to-do lists and goals.
- Working in a distraction-free environment.
Some decisions that lead to self-sabotage include:
- Starting a new task twenty minutes before you are supposed to leave for work.
- Using drugs or alcohol.
- Starting a fight over something trivial.
People who self-sabotage often take an all-or-nothing approach. It is important to stay motivated by small improvements and changes. If you continue to make small improvements over time those changes can add up into something big! Take note when you use a new strategy that works and try it again next time. Soon you will have a tool kit of options to replace your old sabotaging behaviors.
Accept What You Cannot Change
Nobody can always be perfect and successful. People make mistakes and experience failures in life. Failing can teach you a lot about yourself and how to do better the next time.
Fear of failure happens to be one of the main reasons people self-sabotage. Snhu.edu suggests picturing a scenario in which you are doubting yourself and afraid of failure.
Next, consider “what if” as an exception to failure. For example: I’m afraid of applying for a new position in my company because I don’t think they will choose me. I picture that scenario and then consider, “what if they actually do think I’m a great fit for the position? What if I really believe I have earned it and deserve it?” Then picture the what-if situation being real and act as if it is.
Focus On Self Care
Treat yourself better whether you think you deserve it or not. Be kind to yourself and find ways to be more forgiving of your faults. Feeling worthless or incompetent can breed self-sabotage, so make yourself believe that you deserve success. You are worth it!
Talk About It
With your partner, a friend, therapist, talking out loud about your patterns of self-sabotage can make you more aware of them and prevent you from repeating destructive behaviors. Talking with those close to you can help them know how to respond if you need help. Sometimes it can be hard to see your own patterns and talking to someone else can lead to new realizations.
By using a few of these strategies you can clarify your true needs and find a better way to realize them without causing collateral damage. Speak up for yourself and remember not to expect more from yourself than you would from others.