10 Ways We Sabotage and What to do About it

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10 Ways We Self-Sabotage And What To Do About It

What if I told you that the person standing in the way of your goals is…. YOU? We are all responsible for working on bettering ourselves and taking steps towards our goals. Yet our brains often get in the way. I’ve gathered up 10 of the ways we self-sabotage to make it easier to put a name to our feelings and practical, real advice on what to do to overcome self-sabotage.

Sabotage 1. PERFECTIONISM

Playing the game of perfectionism is a sure way to never achieve anything or get better at anything because your all-or-nothing thinking tells you that unless X is perfect, why bother? This obsession with being perfect stops you from starting anything in the first place and of course you can never gain mastery at something you don’t start.
What can you do about this?

BEGIN!! The best thing to do is just start somewhere. From that jump-off point, keep revising and improving as you go along. Remember that NO ONE is perfect and nothing will ever be absolutely perfect.

Start with good enough and do your best (i.e. provide value for your clients, for example) and continue to improve as you practice more. Focus more on your presence, your engagement, and your service than on doing everything perfectly.

People will remember you more for how you made them feel and how connected and engaged you were than for how “perfectly” you think you did something or how “right” everything went.

Sabotage 2. IMMEDIATE RESULTS & INSTANT GRATIFICATION 

We often want IMMEDIATE results and want to see changes happen overnight. When inevitably that does not happen we QUIT whatever it is we’re working towards before really even starting. We don’t allow ourselves to put any real effort, commitment, or dedication into that thing and so we sabotage ourselves.
What can you do about this?

Focus on the next small step/win/accomplishment you’d like to see happen for yourself. Celebrate every single small win along the way because those are the building blocks that will eventually lead to the bigger result you desire. Every small decision you make in direction of your goal is a WIN!

Setting small goals and achieving them also helps boost your confidence levels and increase your motivation to continue moving forward. Compare your progress to your own baseline, not someone else’s. Appreciate how far you’ve come! 🙂

Sabotage 3.  FIXED MINDSET

When you have a fixed mindset, you believe that your abilities are unchanging and that you are either “good” at X or “bad” at Y.

A fixed mindset in something means you easily give up, get easily frustrated, struggle with feedback, see mistakes as failures & a limit to your abilities, and that you avoid challenges and avoid personal growth.

Essentially you give up before even really trying. Your fixed mindset gives you a reason to easily give up because you’ve predetermined that you aren’t good at that task.

What can you do about this?
Remember that research has shown that skills can be BUILT, cultivated, and improved upon. When we adopt a GROWTH MINDSET instead of a fixed mindset, we can learn from our challenges, mistakes, and setbacks; we can choose to apply ourselves, put consistent effort into our goal, continue to learn as we go, never give up, and choose to DEVELOP our talent and skills with consistent action.

Sabotage 4. LIMITING BELIEFS & FEARS

You don’t believe you have what it takes to do XYZ. You believe the lies that your brain is telling you so you shrink back and shy away from stepping out of your comfort zone, from doing something new, from taking a risk. You believe that your fears and doubts are accurate and think for example “ who am I to be X or attempt Y?”

What can you do about this?

Remember that EVERYONE’s brain sometimes struggles with not feeling good ENOUGH. Feel the fear AND take action anyway. One of the best ways to conquer a fear or limiting belief is to build your confidence by TAKING ACTION in the direction you want to go in.

The more you step out of your comfort zone, the more you will see that those limiting beliefs were simply lies your brain was telling you to “protect” you and keep you “safe” because doing something new triggers fear and the fight-or-flight response in the brain.

Develop self-awareness and learn how to manage your mind, your thoughts, and your emotions so that they don’t control you! The more you step out of your comfort zone, the easier this will become.

Sabotage 5. IMPOSTER SYNDROME

Imposter syndrome is a psychological term that refers to a person doubting their accomplishments/success and having an internal fear of being a “fraud”. This can make you feel undeserving of X (for example: wealth/success/healthy relationships), like you’re not good enough, or fearful of being uncovered as a fraud.
What can you do about this?

Acknowledge what you are feeling, why you are feeling it, and where the root of it may come from.

Do the inner work to address the underlying reasons that trigger you to feel undeserving of having what you want or what you’ve earned.

Decide what actions you will take to expand your capacity to have X and to allow it into your new identity.

Notice when the limiting/negative self-talk comes in and replace it with more appropriate, more supportive thoughts. Remember to distinguish or separate your feelings and thoughts out from FACTS.

For example, just because you feel inadequate, does not mean that you are. Find the evidence & examples in your life of being enough, being inadequate, being smart enough, when you conquered a fear successfully, when you accomplished something in the past you originally thought you couldn’t do, or when you got through a challenge…Remember this is a muscle that you are building and practicing over time.

Sabotage 6. PROCRASTINATION

You know what you need to do to get the results you want and yet you keep procrastinating, and coming up with excuses to justify it. You’re stuck and unhappy with where you are yet you keep putting things off.
What can you do about this?

Get real with yourself about why you keep procrastinating on something you supposedly want and yet do not do anything about. Resolve the cognitive dissonance going on; in other words, when your thoughts/beliefs/attitudes do NOT align with your actions there will be an inner conflict.

Step back and clarify for yourself what you TRULY want to establish as your goal. What is your big why?

The big why?

Assess your level of motivation and assess how important this is to you.

Once you’re clear on your big why and you’re connected/anchored to your goal, you should organically feel motivation and a natural desire to start taking steps towards that goal.

Sabotage 7. NOT BEING ACCEPTED

Fear of losing relationships and not being accepted by your loved ones can keep you stuck and keep you from making a change.

We are hard-wired for human connection, so when making progress in a certain area may stress your relationships, you may subconsciously or consciously slow your own progress. For example, say you want to lose a significant amount of weight but your close family and friends also struggle with weight yet have no interest in working towards losing it. You may fear you won’t be understood or accepted anymore if you start eating, acting, and looking different. This desire to fit in or not rock the boat of long-standing relationships can actually slow or impede your work towards improving.

What can you do about this?

Remember that you are only responsible for yourself and cannot control what other people choose to do or how they respond to your transformation/changes.

Ultimately, others’ opinions of you are none of your business and they WILL have opinions. Regardless of what you do, someone may say or think something negative, so you might as well do what is best for you rather than try to please everyone else.

Consider the choice to be an EXAMPLE of what is POSSIBLE through your own transformation. Trust that those individuals who belong in your life will stay in your life, love you unconditionally, and be inspired by you! 🙂

Sabotage 8. UNCERTAINTY & UNKNOWN

Many times you prevent yourself from taking that next step or from making that change because you are terrified of the unknown. You may fear what you cannot control or predict so you tolerate your familiar reality or "comfort zone" — EVEN IF or EVEN WHEN it is not the reality you desire, even if this reality is causing you pain — because you believe that you are better off in a situation in which you can predict the outcome.

For example: staying in an unhealthy relationship because you are scared to be alone or scared you’ll never meet anyone again. Another example: not leaving a salaried job because you are afraid of the uncertainty of being an entrepreneur, afraid of being your own boss, unsure of making an unsteady income, etc.

What can you do about this?

Instead of focusing on a laundry list of things you cannot control, focus your attention on how you respond and on what you get to create. Focus on the list of possibilities and opportunities that can open up for you when you practice courage.

Focus on the big picture and how the long-term end result will be worth the temporary discomfort you have to go through.

Practice the muscle of getting comfortable with the uncomfortable so you can keep growing into the next version of yourself.

Sabotage 9. LIVING IN INDECISION & PARALYSIS

You get indecisive about what you actually want so you end up feeling confused, stuck, and doubtful. This makes you show up inconsistently, give excuses, procrastinate, and put other obstacles between you and your goal.

This indecision drains your energy and focus, and only keeps you from having what you really desire.

What can you do about this?

Get CRYSTAL CLEAR on exactly what you desire (don’t worry about the “how” yet) and make a decision.

Identify your 1-3 most important “needle movers” to guide your actions. Needle movers are the valuable and meaningful activities you can do consistently to move you in the direction you want to go rather than doing “busywork” that isn’t laser focused on getting you from point a to point b. Be intentional and take action from that place of acknowledging your true goal.

Sabotage 10. A VICTIM OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES

You are in a place of self-pity, self-defeat, and self-loathing. This is preventing you from becoming the person you desire to be and from having what you desire. You’re playing small.

You are not showing up to yourself and for yourself as a capable, empowered person who can shape their future by their habits, decisions, and actions.

What can you do about this?

Decide to take 100% personal responsibility for everything in your life, no exceptions. Step into the DRIVER’S SEAT of your life!

Once you really embody this, you will never be the same again. You will feel empowered with endless possibilities, opportunities, and choices.

You will begin to look for the gifts life has to offer. You’ll appreciate the lessons you learn from challenges and you will no longer allow the challenges you face define you. It will also increase your confidence in your own ability to figure everything out as you go, which will also mean spurring action towards your goal.


There are A LOT (at least ten!) ways we sabotage ourselves. These feelings and actions are normal. Every one of us has experienced at least one during our own work to improve. But we don’t have to accept these as true. Use my “What can I do about this?” tips to banish these obstacles from your brain. Once you remove the mental obstacles in the way, you can start truly working towards your goals.

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