Why we fall into self sabotage when things are going so well

Why we fall into self sabotage when things are going so well

 We all know the age-old story. Work hard, keep your head down, do the right thing, and success is all but guaranteed. We’ve probably been on that awesome train ride ourselves at one point in time. We’re getting great results on a project at work so we come home happy and satisfied. We bring that energy home with us and project it onto our family which in turn has them happy and excited for us. 

  • What is self-sabotage?

As you can probably work out from the phrase itself, self-sabotage is defined as ‘the sabotaging of one’s self.’ What this means is that we allow our behaviors to actively or passively derail our long-standing goals which in turn can affect our daily lives. Those behaviors most often include procrastination, comfort eating, and more recently, binge-watching television. They also often include much more destructive behaviors such as self-medicating with drugs and alcohol or forms of self-harm.

Now obviously some of these are extreme cases and not to be expected in most circumstances. I myself personally, struggle with procrastination. I’ll be in a state of flow for a long period of time and then something will distract me long enough that I lose my train of thought and I’ll put off getting back to my project by telling myself “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “Once I’m back in the zone I’ll knock it out.” I’ll then unconsciously look for every reason not to finish whatever I was working on. It’s a challenge I’ve had since grade school.

  • Why do we do it?

One of the key reasons behind self-sabotage is a lack of self-esteem. While this may stem from a variety of different causes, the end result is still the same: feelings of self-doubt, worthlessness, beliefs around not deserving, and fears of jealousy or inadequacy. When these emotions and beliefs begin taking root, we tend to increase our negative self-talk, which only fuels those emotions and beliefs and entrenches them even deeper into our subconscious. And because of the way our subconscious mind works, when we embed these “commands” into our minds, we begin to unconsciously find faster and easier ways to manifest them. 


  • What does self-sabotage look like in our everyday lives?

While some of the examples above are often blatantly obvious, self-sabotage manifests itself in subtle and often disruptive patterns of behavior that we don’t automatically recognize or see. Behaviors such as making impulsive negative decisions, the inability to make decisions one way or another and unjustly criticizing yourself are all signs of self-sabotage. On the flip side, self-sabotage can also take the form of perfectionism.


  • How do we recognize these behaviors and prevent them from becoming habits?

Step one is to take a deep introspective look at one’s self. In order to prevent these behaviors, we have to know the source of our actions and then actively challenge and confront them. This takes some time and self-reflection and will often lead to us reverting to a defensive mode in order to justify our self-sabotaging traits. However, it is necessary to understand why we behave this way and where those beliefs are rooted. 

  • Understand self-sabotage.

Many of us are engaged in self-destructive behaviors that have become habits. We allow these behaviors to continually undermine our success and happiness, but we may not even recognize that we’re doing it. Self-sabotage is when we do something that gets in the way of our intent, or of our bigger dreams and goals. We want something, but somehow we never accomplish it. Why? Because somewhere deep in our subconscious we’re fighting against that goal.Your subconscious probably sees self-sabotage as self-preservation; a way to safeguard and defend yourself, even if it’s no longer needed. Some of our self-sabotage is so subtle it’s easy to miss. We often fail to recognize how our actions are hurting ourselves.

  •  Identify root causes.

Many of us develop unhealthy ways of coping with stress. We repeatedly drop the ball on commitments or fail to take adequate care of ourselves, or we take our relationships for granted. We allow ourselves to react adversely to situations. But sometimes these things are so subtle that we can’t see how self-sabotage is at the root of many of our problems.Often, self-destructive habits are rooted in our feelings of self-worth. You don’t feel like you deserve to be successful. You’re plagued with feelings of inadequacy, even when you’re trying to overcompensate by setting high goals for yourself. Some may even use self-sabotage as a twisted form of controlling their own fate.

  • Take time for self-reflection.

It takes serious self-reflection to understand why you keep shooting yourself in the foot in the first place. Taking the time to peel back the issues you seem to be inflicting on yourself can lead to a deeper awareness, as well as give you insights into yourself and your underlying motivations and desires.The most successful people are those who take the time to think through their choices, decisions and actions. Successful people learn from what worked or failed to work. They then adjust their course of action by taking a different approach. Only through self-reflection will you gain the necessary insight, perspective and understanding to begin the process of change and transformation.

  •  Find your inner positive voice.

Fear is often at the root of what holds us back. We fear that our inner critical voice is right. We start to worry that we don’t deserve happiness, aren’t tough enough or simply don’t have it in us. It’s time to put aside those harsh inner voices of “I can’t” or “I’m a failure.”That negative internal dialogue is a pattern of self-limiting thoughts. Start replacing that critical inner voice with positive, encouraging thoughts.Once you start seeing the areas and ways in which you are limiting yourself, you can start effectively countering that behavior. You can choose to not engage in self-sabotaging behavior. You can start building positive behavior and create an affirmative, confident voice to guide you.

Note: We are inspired to use this content from various sources of Internet. This is for student’s learning and motivation purpose. We do not claim this to be our own.