Five Ways You May be Self-Sabotaging


5 Ways You May be Self-Sabotaging

 By Erica Rivers, MA, LPC, CPT

Every one of us engages in self-sabotaging behaviors from time to time but sometimes we can get stuck repeating those unhelpful patterns. It’s important to learn to recognize some of those unhelpful habits so that we can intentionally make productive changes.  Here’s a list of five ways that you may be contributing to your own demise.

1.     A lack of vision or mission – We need clear goals and a plan to achieve them. It helps us to live life on purpose. Rick Warren wrote, “Knowing your purpose motivates your life. Purpose always produces passion. Nothing energizes like a clear purpose (The Purpose Driven Life, p.33).” Having a vision, mission, and clear goals gives us direction and we can get up each day working toward those.  It sets our course.

2.     Frequent procrastination – When we often say, “I’ll start tomorrow,” it’s kind of like the sign at restaurants that says, “Free beer tomorrow.” We never get that free beverage. It’s always tomorrow. Procrastination keeps us from the satisfaction of productivity and a sense of achievement. Healthy habits or rituals that we take that first step on can get us moving toward creating momentum toward our goals.

3.     Making excuses – I read an employee handbook once (I think I may have been the only person ever who actually did that!!) but there was one phrase that stuck out to me and one phrase only, I might add. It used the phrase, “reasonable excuses” and I thought that was powerful because there are always good reasons why we don’t make things happen or why we drop the ball and yet, much of the time, they are not acceptable. When we get stuck in excuse making, we hinder our own progress. I’ve always been impressed when people quickly own their wrongs or their short-comings. “You failed to include… !” “Yes, I’m sorry.  My bad.” (No “reasonable excuse” given.)  Own it and change it as needed.

4.     Blaming others – This is a common one and is often associated with anger. If you are frequently angry, consider where you may be stuck in a victim mindset. Someone may have really wronged you… genuinely done you wrong however, when we stay stuck in blame and anger, it hurts our joy and productivity.

5.     A Negative outlook – When we are problem-focused and stuck in negativity, it really holds us back from getting where we need and want to go. It impedes progress and weighs us down. We want to be realistic and consider the negatives but it doesn’t help us to be stuck there. Rather, we need to be solution-focused and look for ways around the obstacles to success. Zig Ziglar said, “The more you complain about your problems, the more problems you will have to complain about (”  Find the positives, find a way around the obstacles and enjoy the journey.

 Of course, there are many more ways we self-sabotage but if you are aware of these trends, you can purposefully alter your thoughts and your behaviors in order to get different results. Pay attention to any indications of these five and then choose a better course. You are filled with potential and you can get to a healthier, happier spot when you stop hindering your own progress and start moving forward in a positive direction!

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