How to Stop Self-Sabotaging Behaviors

How can you stop self-sabotaging behaviors?

In order to answer this question, you need to understand clearly what self-sabotaging is and how it affects your life. 

So, what is self-sabotage?

Put simply, this is when one take steps either knowingly or unknowingly to prevent themselves from pursuing and reaching their goals.

This behavior can affect nearly all aspects of our lives from our careers, relationships and personal goals.   

Common self-sabotaging habits

Most of us have engaged in self-sabotaging behaviors. However, if we let these behaviors stick and grow with us, they form strong habits and begin to affect the way we think and live our lives. They can be so subtle that we fail to recognize them.

Here are some common self-sabotaging habits you need to be aware of:

Negative thoughts

Thinking negatively is the most common way of self-sabotaging. Thoughts make up our reality so whatever occupies your mind constantly is what your life will turn out to be.

If you think positively and focus on positive outcomes, you will have positive results and vice versa for negative thoughts.

Negative self-talk

What you say to yourself can have either a positive influence on your life or a negative influence on your life. If you are constantly criticizing yourself and telling yourself you are not good enough, or exaggerating your mistakes, then you are most likely self-sabotaging yourself.

Negative people

A quote attributed most often to the motivational speaker Jim Rohn says “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. For this reason you need to conduct a friends audit.

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Are your friends having a positive influence on you?

Could you be self-sabotaging yourself by the company you keep?


Procrastination is when you delay or postpone tasks to a later time. If you have set goals and projects but you keep delaying taking action, you are definitely self-sabotaging and ruining your life.


Being a perfectionist makes you overthink a situation instead of taking action.

Perfectionism can look like a good thing but it cripples your progress in that you spend a lot of time sweating the small stuff instead of achieving the goals you have set.

People pleasing

Being too nice and pleasing people unnecessarily so they can like you is a sure way to sabotage yourself.

Eventually, people catch on, on your low self-esteem and begin to take advantage of your niceness.

How to Stop Self Sabotaging?


To manage the self-sabotage behaviors, you need to understand what they are and where they are coming from.

Most of us picked up these habits from our childhood and our surrounding environments.

Therefore in order to solve the problem you need to understand it from the root cause and admit to yourself that you have these habits.

Once you are aware, you can begin to find solutions and take action to fix them.

Recognize that your negative actions and behaviors come from a place of low self-worth. Understand your limitations and look for opportunities where you can focus on your personal growth.

Control your thoughts

Controlling your thoughts will help you overcome self-sabotaging behaviors.

For example, if you are in the habit of imagining worst case scenarios, you will later realize that you begin to manifest these scenarios.

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Therefore, focus on positive thoughts. Negative thoughts will also leave you unmotivated and unable to carry out your plans.

When you hear that inner critic telling you that you shouldn’t do something, you can become afraid that it might be right.

You then start to believe that you don’t deserve happiness or that you are a failure.

Talk to yourself kindly

You need to be aware of the kind of words you say to yourself. Learn to notice when you are being critical of yourself and stop it immediately.

This is not an easy exercise so you need to be patient with yourself. Every time you get a critical thought about yourself, replace it with something more positive and helpful.

For example, if you want to criticize yourself, think about it first, would you say the same thing to a good friend? You will also find it helpful to write at least 3 things you like about yourself as an exercise to increase your self-love.

Be realistic

Perfectionism is a self-sabotaging habit because it makes you set unattainable standards. As a perfectionist, you will find that you often experience high levels of stress, mental burnout and emotional exhaustion.

Therefore, you need to create more realistic goals and expectations for yourself. By being more realistic, you will eliminate the excess energy that would go towards attempting the impossible and have a more balanced lifestyle.

Develop self-esteem

Developing a good measure of self-esteem will help you to overcome the unhealthy habit of people pleasing.

Always remember to be yourself to do you. Comparing yourself to other people is a sure-fire way to start feeling less than them and as a result attempt to please them in order to fit in.

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Try to focus on your own goals and achievements, rather than measuring them against someone else’s.

Surround Yourself with Positive People

When we are immersed in a life of self-sabotage, we tend to surround ourselves with people who are equally in the same habit, as they say, “misery loves company.”

In order to break this habit, you need to surround yourself with happy and healthy people.  Happiness and positivity influence success. When you hang around people that are positive, they will inspire you and you will inspire them right back.

Set Goals and Plans

When you have set goals and plans and you are very clear on when you are headed, you are less likely to procrastinate.

This is because you will know what you want and why you want it. By setting goals and breaking them down into months, weeks and days, you keep your mind focused on your goal deadlines.

By applying the above suggestions, you will realize that you can finally get rid of your self-sabotaging behaviors and attain success.