Stop the Self-Sabotage (The P Word!)

Are you ready to stop the self-sabotage?  Behaviour is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems in daily life and interferes with the long‑term achievement of goals.  For example, have you ever found yourself stuck when faced with an important task?  You are not alone when this happens.  Self-sabotage is a combination of destructive behaviours that can produce damaging actions and leave recurring consequences.  Sometimes it is a conscious act, yet generally, it is unconscious because it presents as a conflict between our mind and our personality.

Here is a typical scenario, you have prepared, maybe done some research and sit down to start your task, only to find you just cannot begin.  Your motivation has completely disappeared!  So, to avoid starting the task you might clean out the refrigerator, eat some snacks, shop online, browse social media or get on the couch to watch a movie.

Self-sabotage in its true form is Procrastination (the P word!):

Procrastination can happen for no apparent reason, but it typically has an underlying cause, such as:

  • feeling overwhelmed by what you need to do,
  • trouble managing time, and
  • doubting your ability or skill.

These acts undermine people in many ways including overeating, not exercising, making excuses, and even forgetting important tasks.   Negative feelings and self-defeating behaviours are caused by low self‑esteem and a lack of confidence that creates obstacles.  When you consciously want something but subconsciously make sure you do not get it, your inner saboteur is at work.  

For example, your mind cannot move away from something, only towards it.  When you say, “I don’t want ‘X’ to happen,” you automatically gravitate towards ‘X’.  Instead, use positive language and restate to “I want ‘X’ to happen”. 

Below are some helpful tips to stop self-sabotage in its tracks:

  • Think about what is working well for you right now and be sure to acknowledge this and be grateful.
  • Next time you experience fear, ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”
  • Remind yourself that worst-case scenarios are nothing except by-products of the imagination and they rarely come to fruition.
  • Take a moment to put things in perspective.  Make a list of the things you want to change, the things you can change and the things you would like to change but have little or no power over, such as other people’s actions and feelings.
  • Devise an action plan and silence your inner sceptic with positive thinking and affirmations.
  • You get what you focus on, so be conscious of the commands you give to your subconscious.

We do have the resources within us to achieve what we want.  Start observing the inner saboteur and challenge yourself to act immediately.  Put procrastination in boot of the car and take control of your life and your direction. For further reading, Mind Tools has some excellent resources –