How to Stop Self-Sabotage

This is a big one and just so we are clear self-sabotage is almost at epidemic state. The first thing you need to do to stop self-sabotage is to understand it better.

What is self-sabotage?

If we looked at what we can find in the dictionary self-sabotage is “the act of destroying or damaging something deliberately so that it does not work correctly” or “an act or process tended to hamper or hurt” Miriam Webster dictionary.

Oxford dictionary says that self-sabotage is “deliberately destroy, damage or obstruct (something)”

Self-sabotage involves behaviours’ or thoughts that keep you away from what you desire most in life. It’s that internal sentiment gnawing at us, saying “you can’t do this.” You know the times when we want something, but somehow, we never accomplish it. Why? Because somewhere deep in our subconscious we’re fighting against that goal.

This is your subconscious trying to protect you, prevent pain and deal with deep-seated fear. But the result of self-sabotage is that we hesitate instead of seizing new challenges. We forgot about our dreams and goals. In the end, we know we missed out, but we don’t understand why.

My personal opinion and after coaching and healing hundreds possibly even thousands of clients, I believe self-sabotage is just simply a coping strategy. A survival pattern that we do to keep us safe.

When I say safe, I mean small. Our autonomic nervous system is all about safety and every aspect of our subconscious is conditioned to keep us safe. Because we are in our subconscious state almost 90% of the time, it is pretty much running the show. So, to understand self-sabotage and particularly why you may be doing it, you have to dive deep into why you believe the alternative is not safe.

Most of us hold a lot of guilt and shame but when you see it like this all of a sudden, it’s actually just your body doing its wonderful thing and keeping you alive! Ain’t no shame in that!

Everyone self-sabotages in different degrees. The main signs or ways most people do this is with things like overeating when they are full…Christmas doesn’t count!  Procrastinating, you know, when instead of tackling an important project in a speedy manner, you allow yourself to dawdle to the last minute. (My favourite)

Negative self-talk/negative thinking

Your inner voice or inner critic as some may say is constantly critical. If you’re still beating yourself up for past mistakes it’s time to make some changes. Be patient and kind to yourself. Work to build yourself up.


This is when you tell yourself you can’t take action until the right time, or believe you need to perfect your skills before you move forward. YOU DON’T NEED ANOTHER CERTIFICATION OR DEGREE!

These are all forms of self-sabotage. Perfection is an impossible standard that keeps you from moving forward. NO ONE IS PERFECT.

What Can We Do to Stop the Self-Limiting Behaviours?

My top tips to implement to stop self-sabotage:


Become aware

Awareness is key. You don’t know what you don’t know. Many of us are engaged in self-destructive behaviours’ that have become habits. We allow these behaviours’ to continually undermine our success and happiness, but we may not even recognize that we’re doing it.

Self-sabotage is when we do something that gets in the way of our intent, or of our bigger dreams and goals.

Some of our self-sabotage behaviours are so subtle it’s easy to miss. This is when a great coach or mentor can come in very handy. We often can’t see our actions that may be hurting us.

The first step to breaking the cycle of self-sabotage is becoming aware of these behaviours. You need to see it from a new perspective. What self-sabotaging patterns and mindsets are holding you back?

Find the root cause

Many of us develop unhealthy ways of coping with stress. We repeatedly drop the ball on commitments or fail to take adequate care of ourselves, or we take our relationships for granted. I have found through my practice that the root cause is often buried so deep and usually from the emotional trauma of some type when we were just children. That’s when most of our survival patterns start to get legs.

Often, self-destructive habits are rooted in our feelings of self-worth, our belief systems, and our safety aka nervous system.

You don’t feel like you deserve to be successful. You’re plagued with feelings of not good enough, even when you’re trying to overcompensate by setting high goals for yourself.

Work on identifying and acknowledging

…what is causing you to sabotage yourself, and then start making changes to stop those behaviours.

It takes serious self-reflection to understand why you keep shooting yourself in the foot in the first place. Taking the time to peel back the issues you seem to be inflicting on yourself can lead to a deeper awareness, as well as give you insights into yourself and your underlying motivations and desires.

The most successful people are those who take the time to think through their choices, decisions, and actions. They understand how to self-regulate and they start to learn what makes them tick. They have a high level of emotional IQ and they do the inner work, with help.

Successful people know it takes a team and they know to heal and grow they need to co-regulate. They learn from what worked or failed to work, everything is a learning experience. Only through self-reflection, or mentorship, coaching etc. will you gain the necessary insight, perspective, and understanding to begin the process of change and transformation.

Fear is often at the root of what holds us back

Fear of failure, success judgment… There are two types of fear. Rational and irrational. These types of fears are irrational. They are not life-threatening but they can still often feel that way.

We fear that our inner critic is right. We start to worry that we don’t deserve happiness, aren’t tough enough or simply don’t have what it takes.

It’s time to put aside those harsh inner voices of “I can’t” or “I’m a failure.”

Start replacing that inner critic with an inner mentor, a more positive, encouraging voice

You can change because you are the master of your reality.

It can be simple…but not always easy.

Once you start seeing the areas and ways in which you are limiting yourself, you can start effectively countering that behaviour…

Changing our negative behaviours’ is key if we are to stop sabotaging ourselves

In every moment, we’re taking action that either moves us toward or away from the person we want to be and the life desire to live.

The behaviours’ you keep permitting yourself to do are the ones that are keeping you from what you most desire.

Consider how the actions you’re taking and the thoughts you’re thinking about the conflict with your happiness and hold you back from your true potential. Then look for ways to replace old patterns with new ones that are more helpful in achieving your goals and dreams.

At first, we may need to learn to change our behaviour by avoiding certain triggers such as negative people or challenging circumstances that cause us to react in unfavourable ways.

If there is a stressful situation that triggers you to react in a negative way, look for ways to bypass while you learn healthy ways of handling the situation. Set some clear and intentional boundaries.

Once you’ve identified the changes you want to make, pick just one thing that you want to work on. Remember just start small and be consistent.

If you realize you’re sabotaging your success by constantly missing deadlines, not following through with leads or simply being disorganized, take a step back and look for one small, meaningful change that you can make to set you on a more successful path.

Oh, and take action NOW

Not tomorrow… the right time is waiting for you to stop waiting for the right time! If you need a sign, take this as your sign.

If you’re disorganized or constantly getting off track from what you should be doing, take five minutes every morning to tidy your desk and write a to-do list. If you’re missing deadlines, sit down and come up with a reasonable timeline to get your project done. Then take steps to meet those goals, so you accomplish your goals and build self-trust.

We can struggle with self-sabotaging behaviour when we don’t know have clarity and goals. The unknown can make us feel off, unclear. Instead of moving forward with confidence, we react to situations defensively and often negatively. We allow ourselves to crumble, and then we retreat, feeling incompetent and incapable. You need to stop these patterns.

The best way to counter this is to lay down solid plans and goals for the future. By having firm, thoughtful plans for each step we take, we will feel more confident about our intentions and what we’re doing. I suggest having large to monthly, weekly and then even daily goals.

By doing all this, you can take control of your life and release self-sabotaging behaviour for GOOD!

I see you, you got this, and I got you!

xoxo Bec

Abundance Breakthrough Coach for Impact-Driven Female Entrepreneurs

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