We all have obstacles to overcome on the road to success. However, often we create our own obstacles. Self-sabotaging behaviors can keep us from living the kind of life we say that we want. Instead, we make the same mistakes over and over and then beat ourselves up. We get depressed and as a result, we fail to change our behaviors. We end up in a destructive cycle. But, there is a way out. You can beat the cycle of self-sabotage.
What Self-Sabotage Looks Like
These are some of the more common types of self-sabotage behaviors:
- Lashing out at loved ones
- Not finishing projects
- Stop communicating
- Wasting time
- Chemical dependency
Self-sabotage will be different for everyone. But, if you are honest with yourself, you know the things you do that keep causing you trouble.
The first step to breaking the self-sabotage cycle is to own your behavior. You need to acknowledge that you are sabotaging yourself. You have to go beyond just saying it in your head. Write down in your journal the ways you sabotage yourself. Don’t be critical in your writing. Just identify the problem behaviors. For example you might write, “ I sabotage myself when I procrastinate starting a big project.”
You need to start being accountable to yourself.
Next, you need to understand why you engage in the self-sabotage behaviors. Fear is the most common cause of self-sabotage. We are afraid we are not good enough. We are afraid we don’t deserve success. Think about how you feel before you engage in self-sabotage. This will help you understand why you are torturing yourself.
Before you even try and stop sabotaging yourself you have to forgive. You need to forgive yourself. You can still hold yourself accountable and forgive yourself. This means that you don’t get to berate yourself when you make a mistake. You identify it and resolve to do better in the future.
You may need to forgive others as well. Sometimes we sabotage ourselves because we have unresolved anger towards someone who hurt us in the past. When you fail to forgive others you give the past power over your present.
Forgive yourself and forgive others for all the pain they have caused you.
Focus on Improvement Not Perfection
Moving past self-sabotage is a process. It takes time to end bad habits and start good habits. If you are looking for perfection you will end up frustrated. You may just quit and fall back into an even worse cycle of self-sabotage.
Focus on improving a little every day. If you are trying to stop wasting time, focus on being more productive during just one part of the day. Keep track of your time and praise yourself for even small improvements. Getting a little better every day is the goal.
Find an Accountability Partner
The fastest way to make personal changes is to report your progress to another person. We all play games with ourselves. We justify our bad actions. If you have an accountability partner you will be less likely to backslide. You won’t want to disappoint your partner.
You want someone who will be supportive, but who will also call you out on your bad behavior.
The world is competitive enough without you getting in your own way. Start breaking the cycle of self-sabotage today. Take five minutes and identify your behaviors that are holding you back. You will be amazed at how much faster you travel when you don’t have to fight yourself.