Self-sabotage happens when you listen to that internal critic that screams, “You can’t do it!” It is responsible for behaviors and thoughts that keep you away from what you desire most in life. It is a flight-and-fight response, developed as a survival mechanism, that enables you to react quickly to perceived fear. It’s how your subconscious tries to protect you, prevent pain, and help you deal with deep-seated fears. But the long-term outcome of self-sabotage is that we hesitate, fail to seize new challenges, and forgo our dreams and goals.
So, what can we do to break out of our self-limiting behaviors? Here are some coping strategies I’ve found useful:
- Understand self-sabotage and how your subconscious responds.
The subconscious probably sees self-sabotage as self-preservation, a way to safeguard and defend us, even if it’s no longer required. Somewhere deep in our subconscious, we’re fighting against that goal or challenge.
2. You have the opportunity to break the negative cycle
The first step is to break the cycle of self-sabotage and become more aware of your emotional response when situations arise. Ask yourself, “What self-destructive habits, patterns and mindsets are holding me back?”
3. Identify possible root causes.
Many of us have developed unhealthy ways of coping with stress. We repeatedly drop the ball on commitments or fail to care adequately for ourselves. This allows us to react adversely to situations.
Often, self-destructive habits are rooted in a negative perception of our self-worth. You don’t feel like you deserve to be successful. You’re plagued with feelings of inadequacy, even when you’re trying to overcompensate by setting high goals for yourself. Some may even use self-sabotage as a twisted form of controlling their own fate.
4. Discover your positive inner voice.
Fear is often at the root of what holds us back. We fear that our internal critical voice is correct. We begin to worry that we don’t deserve happiness, aren’t tough enough, or simply don’t have it in us. It’s time to set aside those harsh inner voices of “I can’t” or “I’m a failure.”
That negative internal dialogue is a form of self-limiting thought. Start replacing that critical inner voice with positive, encouraging thoughts.
5. Stay committed to altering your pattern of behavior.
Changing our negative behaviors is a prerequisite to stop us from sabotaging ourselves. In every moment, we’re taking action that either moves us toward or away from the person we desire to be and the life we want to have.
Consider how the actions you’re considering and the thoughts you’re thinking conflict with your happiness and hold you back from achieving your true potential. Then look for ways to replace old patterns with new ones that will help you reach your goals.