5 Steps to Stop Sabotaging Yourself

5 Steps to Stop Sabotaging Yourself

Last update: 12 April, 2018

Getting out of the habit of sabotaging yourself is not easy. A lot of people waver right when they’re about to reach their goal. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said that “difficulties increase the nearer we get to the goal.” But not all of these difficulties come from outside; some of them come from deep inside us.

You try to make a change in your personal, professional, or social life. Say you decide to stop smoking, get a promotion, reconcile with your family. No matter your goal, if you’re prone to self-sabotage, look out for pitfalls that will keep you from doing what you want to do. And start with yourself.

Why you are sabotaging yourself

Stepping out of your comfort zone is never easy. It is scary. After all, you’re wandering down roads you’ve never been down and being a person you’ve never been before. That’s why, out of fear, you self-sabotage.

One big reason for it, according to psychologist and coach Marta Torres, is your self-concept. How you see yourself. What do you think about who you are? Changing how you perceive yourself may not be simple, but whatever it is, if it’s not good, it won’t be long before you start sabotaging yourself.

Your lack of confidence and faith in yourself makes you believe you’re incapable of achieving your goals. However, instead of seeing yourself as mediocre, if you saw yourself as a worthy individual with firm beliefs, you’d be heading down the road to success.

Woman in a field looking in a mirror.

Steps to stop sabotaging yourself

Let’s now look at practical tips to stop with the self-sabotage. If you ever find yourself making excuses to not do something, like saying you don’t have time, or putting off important things, you may be sabotaging yourself. If you accept an immediate reward and give up a long-term one, open your eyes! You might be in the middle of self-sabotage.

According to coach Marta Torres, the first step to fighting self-sabotage is to know yourself well. It is an excellent way of pinpointing harmful beliefs and starting to do something about them.

Know you can do it

Barack Obama made “Yes, we can!” famous. Then other political and social movements made it their own. Why? Because the first thing to be clear on if you want to stop sabotaging yourself is to know that your goals are feasible. That means setting goals for yourself which are indeed feasible.

Only when you start to eliminate negative beliefs from your mind and realize that you’re capable of doing anything will you be able to stop with the self-sabotage. But remember, your goals should be realistic and sensible. Otherwise, frustration will be the only result.

Get motivated

Only motivated people will be able to realize that they can make their dreams come true. So, when you set a goal for yourself, think: Is this really what I want? What about my other options? Do I have enough motivation to do it?

If you don’t know how to get motivated, try creating an action plan made up of small goals on the way towards your final goal. Keep a diary about your personal project and write down your progress. And talk about your plans with people you trust. It will make you feel more committed.

Person walking through a field, learn to stop sabotaging yourself.

Be patient

Only patient people meet their goals. Why? Because they know that the road is long. That you must take baby steps and enjoy each and every one of them. Hurrying, if you don’t meet your goal, will make you frustrated and probably make your self-concept even worse.

Remember that nothing is easy

It’s also important that you be aware that nothing worth doing will be easy. So you must be prepared for any challenge or setback that could come your way. This way you’ll be ready to face any problem with a positive, constructive attitude.

Don’t forget that balance is key

Stability is also a fundamental part of getting out of the habit of self-sabotage. When you get stability in all aspects — physically, mentally, and emotionally — you’ll have the tenacity you need to do what you want with your life.

Follow these steps and you’ll be on the right path. Self-sabotage will be only a part of your past. The truth is, once you have a good self-concept, it’s not that hard. With patience, tenacity, and determination, there won’t be any obstacle that can stop you.

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Baldwin, M. (2002). Autosabotaje. Edaf.
  • Bateman, T. (1998). De la idea a la acción o cómo superar el autosabotaje. Harvard Deusto business review, (87), 4-8.
  • Pinillos, I., & Fuster, A. (2012). Guerreros de la mente: Claves para superar las amenazas de nuestro mundo interior. GRIJALBO.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.