You know that feeling that overtakes you every time you’re getting close to achieving a goal or objective? That sudden need to procrastinate, the urge to collect all possible negative thoughts about yourself and whatever project you’re working on at the moment? These are all signs that you’re about to sabotage yourself.
Many, if not most of our goals in life, career or business, get unfinished because we tend to sabotage ourselves in the process. We may set the most effective, realistic and functional goals, and still come up short. This is not for lack of skill, motivation or even aptitude. It’s simply because of self-destructive behaviors that keep us from taking action towards our goals and dreams.
I’ve struggled with procrastination quite a bit because I couldn’t recognize the self-sabotage behind my sudden drops in motivation and drive. It took me a while to recognize that one of the hardest battles I would have to wage would be against my own self, to stop destroying my own efforts. For many of us, it stems from a fear to succeed, which is often stronger than the fear of failure.
Here are a few ways to cut to the chase and stop sabotaging yourself in life and at work:
START with understanding your self-sabotage patterns
Everyone has different patterns in life and at work. Often, we fail to recognize when we’re self-sabotaging, because it feels comfortable and routine to do so. For most of us, there are specific areas in which we often unconsciously ruin our own efforts.
Review the different areas of your life and work, and start identifying the ones in which you’re practicing self-sabotage. It may be in your finances, career, relationships or health. The fact that you’re sabotaging yourself in any of these areas means that you may be struggling with some form of anger, shame, or sense of not being worthy enough.
Interestingly enough, as much as I love writing, I realized that the fear of failure would paralyze my writing efforts and make me less productive. It became clear that I was scared of being rejected, or looking ridicule because of my writing. It was only when I could face this truth about myself that I was able to fight my negative patterns and progress in my writing.
One of the most prevalent effects of self-sabotage is constant delaying. You may find that you put off tasks to the next day, and let negative thoughts paralyze you into inaction. For instance, procrastinating before an important meeting, or leaving a crucial assignment to the last minute, is a clear sign of self-sabotage.
Instead, consider tackling your to-do’s as soon as you can, instead of postponing them to a later time. The more you impose this to yourself, despite the negative thoughts and patterns you may be subject to, the more you will fight your tendency to self-sabotage.
START facing your feelings
For many of us, facing the feelings of unworthiness, shame or anger that lead us to self-sabotage is a no-no. Instead, we tend to suppress them, pretending they don’t exist. As a result, our negative and self-destructing behaviors continue, ruining our best efforts in the process.
It takes a lot of courage to admit to oneself our fears and failures. However, it’s the only way to address them and fight them successfully. I had to admit to myself, and others around me, that I was afraid to be ridiculed because of my love for writing, or for being an introvert. Yet, the minute I could face these fears, I was free to recognize and address these demons. Once you know your areas of improvement, no one can hold them against you.
STOP dwelling on the past
So many of us are still prisoners of our past, especially when we feel like we’ve failed or haven’t measured up to some ideal we had for ourselves. Instead of focusing on the present, we stay in “If only” land, playing and replaying failed scenarios.
You can’t start over with a clean slate if you keep replaying the past. You have to be able to move on, and make peace with whatever has happened. A great trick is to write yourself a letter in which you forgive yourself for any and everything you’re still holding against yourself, or others. And move on, once and for all..
Journaling is a powerful way to spot those instances when your mind start bullying you and you fall into the self-sabotage trap. I find that expressing my thoughts in a free and unrestrained way, allows me to free myself of the mental and emotional baggage we all carry.
Just remember there are no rules to journaling. You can write freely and express yourself unabashedly. While it may be intimidating at first, it will help you release some of the negative thoughts and emotions you may be feeling. You’ll start seeing more clearly where your blocks are, so you can address them better.
STOP comparing yourself to others
Comparison is really the thief of joy. It’s also one of the biggest ways in which we sabotage ourselves. Instead of being motivated to do better, we tend to feel unworthy or inadequate. By comparing, you limit your own beauty, effectiveness and potential.
Identify those areas in which you tend to compare yourself with others, and face them head on. If social media or certain relationships trigger you to compare yourself to others and feel less than, consider distancing yourself from them. Focus on YOU and the unique gifts and abilities YOU have been given.
START speaking kindly to yourself
Faith comes by hearing. It also means that what you say to yourself, you tend to believe. Start speaking more kindly to yourself, and honoring the positive about you, instead of emphasizing the negative.
Start observing how you talk to yourself, whether through your own mental chatter or through the words you use about yourself. You’ll start noticing how unloving you can be towards yourself. We all are. Begin to consciously turn negative thoughts and words into more positive chatter, and watch the difference.
How do you stop self-sabotage in your life and work?
To Your Success,
The Corporate Sis.