What is self-sabotage?
Self-sabotage is disrupting, spoiling, or undermining your own efforts at achieving a certain goal.
When you are standing in your own way of advancement, growth, and success.
When setting non-achievable goals or when setting yourself up for failure.
Is it insanity?
“doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,
is the definition of insanity.”
that’s a famous quote credited to Albert Einstein.
if something doesn’t work, why would I do it again and again?
It’s not the sane thing to do.
but if I’m sane, why would I set my own self up for a failure?
Why would I sabotage myself?
Your new and exciting decisions will eventually lead to creating a new and improved self,
and that’s threatening your old self.
there are two sides to every coin,
it is only sabotaging from the goal point of view.
looking at it from the goal point of view, the goal has definitely been sabotaged and hasn’t been reached.
but something else had been gained.
a glorious victory!
it’s a glorious victory, for the most ancient and most stubborn mechanisms we have,
and that is self-preservation.
When you want to make a change in your life you make your old-self fear for his own life.
Facing change is like facing death?
When you want to grow, develop, and succeed, you need to make changes.
something’s must go, some old habits must die, your old-self needs to die.
Making new decisions and giving up old habits, can be very exciting but can also be very scary.
New habits need to be formed, new skills need to be mastered and responsibilities need to be taken.
The journey towards self-growth, self-development and success, brings with it new questions about life,
new fears about the future and the new kind of life you’re going to have.
This will wake up your old-self preservation instinct to sabotage your efforts in those new ways.
your old-self knows the real truth.
It’s not about giving up some snacks, saying no to that beer, reading a bit more, or doing some exercise.
There’s a new and improved person waiting to emerge, and your old-self is terrified.
Because he knows, it’s “out with the old, in with the new”.
How to overcome self-sabotage
“the best way to defeat your enemy, is to know your enemy.”
Just by reading up until here, you already have a better idea about the self-sabotaging mechanism,
and you’re probably already thinking about new ideas, new strategies, and new priorities.
The next step is to get familiar with the different reasons to self-sabotage.
3 main reasons to self-sabotage
Fear of success-
The fear of success is the other side of the coin of the fear of dying we talked about in the beginning, your old self is afraid that you’re killing him.
In case your plans and goals will be successful, you will become a new and improved version of yourself.
Your family may pass judgment about your new life decisions, you may over time look at your friends differently, or maybe your friends will look at you differently.
You may want to change your environment to suit your new ways better.
your old self has already worked hard on creating a comfort zone with friends, family, and with life in general, and saying: “it’s better the devil I know”. It’s your old self that is fearing your success.
Fear of the unknown/ fear of losing control-
going into unknown territory requires you to be brave and confident because it also means to lose or to give up control, at least for some time, and to trust that things will be ok.
Accepting and acknowledging that a new journey will bring some ups and downs and some unknown parts can make it better and easier to deal with.
Fear of failure-
Failure can bring shame and guilt with it. there are 2 ways to avoid the shame and guilt that comes with failure. Actually, it’s the middle way which is the problematic one, when you’re not sure how committed you are to succeeding. When you’re not committed at all you can say: “I don’t care if I fail, I’m in it for the sake of the adventure”. and when you’re truly committed you can be like Thomas Edison, he succeeded to produce a working light bulb after 10,000 failing attempts, and he said:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
when going on a new journey you have to know your level of commitment.
What are self-sabotaging behaviors?
Self-sabotaging behaviors are negative patterns of behaviors or thoughts that justify being stuck and reaching your most desired goals.
perfectionism leads to an “all or nothing” way of thinking. it means that there is no “joy of the ride” but only stress about a perfect outcome.
the wish for a perfect outcome is only normal and natural, but as the old saying goes: “practice makes perfect”. the expectation for something to be perfect the first time is somewhat immature and childish.
Striving for excellence, being a high achiever, learning and improving from the mistakes you make along the way, makes the journey more fun and it’s possible to “stop and smell the roses”.
The big problem with other people is that you cannot change them. as long as the blame will be on others you will always stay dependent on others. the way to grow is to take as much under your responsibility and to leave as little as possible in the hands of others.
“Everything worth doing, is worth doing right and is worth doing on time” if you’re putting off the more important things for later you should question your priorities, are you really putting yourself first?
- I’m not good enough.
- It won’t work,
- I’m not ready,
- I can’t do it,
- I’m too busy,
Those are excuses because you would not accept them as anything else when they come from others.
If something is important enough you will-
- Make it work,
- find a way to do it,
- find time,
- become ready,
- get better at it.
Judging yourself too hard-
You should always judge everything and yourself first, especially after reading all of this. but judging yourself too hard just keeps you away from your targets.
If your friend would come to you with the same issues you would probably take the “just dust yourself off and try again” approach and not the “you’re a stupid worthless useless piece of…” approach. try that with yourself next time you’re not happy with yourself, try to look at thing in the right perspective and “just dust yourself off and try again”
From self-sabotage to Self-fulfillment
Stretch your abilities & learn to celebrate small successes.
The biggest problem with self-sabotage is that deep down inside you, you know that you can do it, you know your potential, and you believe in yourself, otherwise, you wouldn’t be so frustrated about not achieving your goals.
Don’t look at yourself as a failing superhero, a person that has so much endless potential and could have done so much with life until now, but didn’t. because it gets you nowhere.
Look at yourself as a normal person that has the opportunity and the potential to do a little more every day.
Stretch your abilities
Decision-making and goal conquering are habits and you can nurture them, get better at them, and stretch your abilities just like stretching a muscle, every day just a little bit more.
the way to successfully achieve long-term goals and maintain enjoyable results is usually long, and can also be hard and maybe even frustrating.
Take your decision to conquer your new desired and exciting goal and make a list, put in your list all of your calculations of all the pros and cons. all of the fun benefits that achieving this goal will bring, and all of the roadblocks you will probably encounter along the way.
learn to set very tiny goals and make a reasonable plan, celebrate your small victories, and make a new habit of counting your winnings and not your failures.
commit yourself to enjoy the small improvements.