6 Tips for Overcoming Self-Sabotaging Behaviors

August 18, 2020
6 Tips for Overcoming Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
6 Tips for Overcoming Self-Sabotaging Behaviors


Self-Sabotage or “Getting in your own way” is really about creating obstacles that stop or lengthen the time or pathway of you achieving a goal. For example…perhaps you don’t put yourself forward for a promotion because you think your pairs will be jealous and not like you anymore.

Why do we self-sabotage then?

Basically it has a lot to do with your beliefs; if your beliefs are distorted enough they can lead you down quite a destructive path that affects many aspects of your life, both professional and personal.

Those negative beliefs are typically centered on low self-esteem, and often can be traced back to childhood.

You may experience feelings of worthlessness, self-loathing, and even self-hatred, those deep seated thoughts or feelings that can turn into negative or self-sabotaging behaviors.

However some self-sabotaging behaviors are minor and can be sorted out fairly quickly for instance “negative procrastination” , below are a few tips to help you recognize self-sabotaging behaviors you may have and some techniques to overcome them.

Spot self-sabotaging behaviors

Missing Personal Goals

  • Write down goals you have set and not yet achieved
  • Try to find common elements between the goals you haven’t achieved yet
  • Mind map words or phrases you believe have stopped you from reaching your goals

Repeatedly missing work deadlines

  • Write down reasons you believe that happened eg. Don’t care about the work, hate the boss, it’s too hard, keep getting things wrong.
  • Try to find things in common
  • Again do a quick mind map of words or phrases that you think stops you from meeting those deadlines.
  • Remember self-sabotage often comes from having low self-esteem; feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, and even anger or spite are common.

Negative self-talk

  • Write down all your negative self-talk thoughts, keep a note pad and jot down thoughts as they come to you. Eg. Boss didn’t ask how I was today – what did I do? Why doesn’t he like me anymore? I am going to get fired because I’m no good at my job….
  • Write it all down no matter even if it seems silly or irrelevant
  • For each phrase try to get a better understanding of why you had that thought, where does that belief stem from?


Being able to identify the negative thoughts and emotions that trigger or set off the self-sabotaging behaviors will allow you the opportunity to change things before they get out of hand.

Positive Self-Talk

Although positive self-talk on its own will not get rid of the self-sabotaging behaviors it can make you feel better even for a short term.

  1. Create a daily mantra
  2. Write several positive affirmation statements
  3. Look for reasons to pay someone a complement
  4. Be kind, forgiving, and loving to yourself

Remember self-sabotaging is really about you standing in your own way of your dreams and goals. Only once you have identified the self-sabotaging behaviors can you move pass them.

Plan for Success

  • At this point you have identified your self-limiting behaviors – congratulations!
  • Ask yourself “how can I achieve my goal and feel good about myself too?”
  • Create positive and encouraging feelings through self-talk
  • Look at ways to achieve your goal
  • Can you break bigger goals into smaller ones
  • Acknowledge and celebrate your successes

Rinse and Repeat

  • Keep a note book
  • Write down any negative self-talk
  • Identify and understand why
  • Move past it

You can find a way out of your self-sabotaging ways, it just may take a little time and practice. Think about how amazing your life will be living self-sabotage free.

Contributing Writer at Nurturely
Phyllis is passionate about the field of mental health and well-being and a self development enthusiast.
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