What is Self-Sabotage?
When your actions counter your own goals, you end up sabotaging yourself. Most people believe that external and environmental factors are the ones holding people back. Truth is, it has a lot to do with internal and personal factors.
Self-sabotage happens when your logical and conscious mind (the one that says you need to save money and eat healthy food) is at odds with your subconscious mind (the one that tells you to binge on ice cream or online shopping when stressed). Your subconscious is that critical inner voice or your anti-self that holds back and sabotages all your efforts.
Self-sabotage involves thoughts or behaviors that keep you away from what you wish or desire the most in life. It is that internal sentiment nudging you, saying “I can’t do this”. While this is really your subconscious protecting you from pain and helping you deal with deep-seated fear, self-sabotaging lets you hesitate instead of seizing the future and the new challenges ahead.
There are many reasons why people act this way. Poor self-esteem and self-doubt lead people to question their capabilities, which could be a factor leading to these damaging habits and tendencies. With determination, self-awareness, and practice self-sabotage can be minimized.
Three-step Process to Stop Self-Sabotage
Identify your Behavior
To be able to stop self-sabotage, you must first understand how you undermine yourself through these common ways:
- Falling into work habit traps – everyone has their own bad work habits that act as traps. And these habits keep repeating themselves and continue to sabotage your daily routine. Common examples are tardiness, procrastination, sloppy work, and careless communication.
- Dwelling on the negative – conversations with colleagues may just be the same themes – you focus on how bad the situation is rather than what is good or what is not possible instead of what is. You remember most of the bad situations or circumstances rather than the achievements or the other good things in your life.
- Listening to the gremlins – the term “gremlins” refer to the limiting assumptions and beliefs that unconsciously sabotage your success. Gremlins embody your biggest fear and insecurities. They are the inner voice that tells you “you are not good enough”, “you are not worthy enough”, or “you are not up for the challenge”.
The next step is to determine which behavior you want to change and commit to improving. Take note, there are some behaviors that are easier to change. Bad work habits are easier to overcome than deeply held, limiting beliefs. Consider how failing to overcome certain behaviors could cost you professionally, both now or later. When you have made a decision, make sure you put your personal integrity on the line and commit to never make the same behavior any longer.
Support the Positive
The last step is to create systems and structures to support the change and positive behaviors. Make sure to discourage the negative at all costs.
- Start noticing when you are undermining yourself. When at times you find yourself falling into the work-habit trap, or complaining about certain misfortune, stop. Correct yourself and remind yourself that you are on the process of self-improvement. Some people use a rubber band to raise self-awareness. They would have one on their wrist and snap it once they’ve realized they are falling back into the old bad habits
- To keep yourself from falling back into bad work-habits, create a strategy to help support the good behavior and lessen the bad ones. If you are always late, set a buffer time on your alarm or work calendar. If you tend to procrastinate, set an earlier deadline for projects or assigned tasks. Determine what you need to do and immediately get to work.
Remember, adherence to basic principles creates a big impact on career improvement and job satisfaction. By successfully managing the bad behaviors, you are allowing yourself and others to see your best qualities and potential.