Self-Sabotage: Are YOU guilty?
Carlene Link, Pharm.D., BCPS
Self-sabotage is the act of wanting to make a change but steps are taken to prevent the change from happening. These behaviors disrupt daily life and interfere with achieving long-term goals. Often, it is the result of our own thoughts and actions discouraging ourselves from moving forward, leading to self-defeating feelings and subsequent actions reflective of our thoughts. You may not even recognize you are doing this to yourself!
Unfortunately, it isn’t. As easy as it may be to blame others, our circumstances, environment, career, lack of opportunities, our partner (insert any other excuse here), we must be responsible for our actions and how we choose, or do not choose, to forge ahead and move past these mental hurdles.
The good news? We can take conscious action to stop self-sabotaging by becoming more aware. A helpful way to do this is to journal: record behavior(s) associated with what you feel is preventing growth and recognize alternative ways for you to respond. Identify what you truly are trying to achieve and explore what is most important to you and your future. This information will be vital to help you form more constructive habits on how you talk to yourself and stop your old behaviors!
Becoming aware of your thoughts in that moment will help you determine if you are self-deprecating so you can stop the thought as it is happening. Listed below are a few possible ways you may be self-sabotaging and methods to help combat these self-defeating thoughts!
Overplanning: Planning is a great tool as long as it is used to take action. Many use planning as a way to avoid taking action and instead, procrastinating, which may further perpetuate self-sabotaging. Commit to executing your plan and mark that off your proverbial to-do list!
Searching for answers: you don’t need to have all of the answers before you begin. Make the choice to lean into what you know and start! This may also be a form of procrastination, which may occur if you are feeling overwhelmed, experiencing difficulty with time management or questioning your abilities to succeed. Stop questioning if you deserve to succeed and focus on turning that goal into a reality!
The start/stop/start yo-yo: Success is the product of perseverance, commitment and not giving up. Results are not instantaneous and happen over time; it may be difficult to understand this when progress is not visible or you have days you don’t “feel like doing it.” Do the work and the growth will come, as success continues to build the more you commit!
Consistency: Showing up consistently for yourself is vital for success and growth. Recognizing and experiencing failure are part of the process; each time we fail, we are one step closer to the goal in mind. Fear of failure will only propagate self-sabotaging behavior which blocks growth and achievement.
While we may not be able to control what happens to us, we can ALWAYS control how we respond. Working on self-awareness and self-improvement will certainly create positive habits to help you when you are stuck. Remember to be your biggest cheerleader—you deserve whatever it is you want out of life!