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Did you know that you can be your own worst critic and often self-sabotage? 

If you’ve ever wondered why it seems like there’s always a side to you that is hell-bent on making all the wrong decisions, there’s a name for it. 

Psychologists call that self-destructive side the critical inner voice. This anti-self is what perpetrates self-sabotage behavior that undermines our life goals.

Self-sabotage is when you find yourself trapped in a cycle of destructive patterns that hold you back from your true potential. The worst part is that you willingly allow this vicious cycle to wreak havoc in your life.

If you’re looking to put an end to this damaging behavior and reclaim your life, these three easy steps will get you started:

Understand Why You Choose To Self-Sabotage

The first step is to understand why you self-sabotage. We all know how damaging it can be. Touching all aspects of life, from one’s education and career to relationships and even personal well-being.

So, why would you deliberately self-sabotage while aware of the damaging consequences?

From both “The Art of War” and “Ender’s Game,” we get the idea that to defeat your enemy, you must understand them.

To fully answer the question of why we intentionally self-sabotage, let’s dig deeper into these very human tendencies.

  • We Don’t Handle Change Well

Exposing yourself to change can be pretty frightening.

A natural human inclination: 

You find yourself avoiding unfamiliar situations in favor of what you already know — even if it’s not enough.

Take a job offer, for instance, that sounds better than what you are doing at the moment, but it’s in a different state or city. It’s a new thing that demands you challenge yourself.

The number of people who will turn down the job offer and stick to what they already know is surprising; even when it’s not getting them further in life.

  • We Are Afraid of Failing

Ever heard the popular saying, “better to try and fail than never to try at all?” 

Well, people naturally prefer comfort, and trying with the risk of failure is not part of that comfort zone.

For most people, the fear of failing is what leads to self-sabotage. You convince yourself that there is no use trying because you’ll give it your all and fail anyway.

At times you may even mistake the fear of failing for self-preservation. You’ll sail through life, limiting yourself and standing in the way of possible achievements.

  • We Are Afraid of Being Vulnerable

Nobody likes to lose control or leave things to chance since it increases the risk of an unknown outcome. 

But the need to control a situation can also feed a self-destructive behavior.

For instance, if you could only present your ideas to the board members, you stand a chance of changing everything. But doing that also puts you in a vulnerable position where you’re not in control of the outcome.

The only way of controlling a situation like that is to suppress yourself. At least by dictating the terms of your failure, you have the upper hand.

The reality, however, is you’ve just nipped yourself in the bud. But considering nobody else got to do it but yourself, you can live with it.

  • We Don’t Like Looking in the Mirror

It’s easier to tell yourself a lie than to face the truth because, well, sometimes the truth hurts!

Think about it — subconsciously, you’re aware of what’s happening. It’s the reason you’d rather not confront yourself because then, the walls of lies and excuses you’ve erected around you will begin to crumble.

  • Previous Unfavorable Experiences

It’s common to form defense mechanisms influenced by past experiences. You expect a repeat of certain patterns and revert to self-preservation mode.

But there’s a significant problem with this kind of thinking: it’s often biased toward negativity. 

You find yourself playing out unfavorable past scenarios and reacting defensively. When there is probably a better way to approach the situation.

Learn To Recognize Self-Sabotaging Patterns

The second step is to recognize the signs of falling into a self-destructive cycle. This involves looking within yourself to identify the habits, the tell-tale signs.

Here are some of the most common examples of self-sabotaging behavior:

  • When the most critical tasks go to the backseat, and you’d rather procrastinate than face what really matters
  • When you keep putting yourself down with the excuse of knowing your weaknesses
  • When you’d rather not say “no” even if it’s in your best interest
  • When you’d rather bail if things go south or fight when you don’t have to
  • When you just don’t seem to like yourself very much and can’t think of anything good about yourself

Come up With a Strategy To Stop Self-Sabotage

With a solid strategy in place, you’ll feel miles more confident. Here is your crucial third step in the quest to stop self-sabotaging.

  • Accept That You’re Self-Destructing

Acceptance is an early step for any road-to-recovery program. That’s because denial feeds the problem and lets it go unchecked.

When you accept the problem, it stops being a mystery, and it comes out into the open.

  • Identify the Weak Points in Your Life

Identify the times when you’re more susceptible to self-sabotage habits and think about what you’d like to do to improve. Put everything down on paper for future reference.

  • Learn To Accept That Failure Is Part of Life

The reality is that everyone fails. There is a chance you’ll fail, many times even. But when you don’t try or resort to half-hearted attempts, you fail by default.

A detailed strategy takes the plan out of your head and turns it into an achievable goal.

Now that you know what you’re dealing with and what triggers it, stick to the self-improvement roadmap you’ve prepared. 

Avoid dwelling on your limitations and shortcomings and start believing in what you can do with the help of a strategy.

  • Seek Help if You Can’t Do It Yourself

You never have to struggle on your own. Talk to people you’re close to, especially if you’re having difficulty finding a solution yourself. 

Who knows, perhaps other people’s experiences will help you with your journey.

You can also seek professional support to help bring out underlying issues you may not be aware of.

Final Thoughts

It won’t be easy to break patterns you probably forged in early childhood. Some of these habits are so ingrained they can go unnoticed for years.

But don’t worry. As long as you’ve identified and accepted the problem, you’re off to a good start. Now what’s left is time and dedication toward getting better.

Make use of the tips we’ve shared and let them inspire a plan for defeating self-sabotage and restoring confidence in your abilities.

About the Author

Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Arch at Ft. Wayne to help them with their online marketing.

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%%focuskw%% | How to Put a Stop to Self-Sabotage In 3 Easy Steps