Am I Sabotaging Myself? 3 Signs of Self-sabotage and How to Avoid It

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Your mind is your worst enemy, as they say. In this post, let’s talk about 3 signs of self-sabotage because maybe you really are.

Self-sabotage is a conscious or unconscious thought pattern or behavior that drives you away from your goal. 

In real life, self-sabotaging could look like avoiding doing what you need or want to do in many different ways. Sometimes, it can be obvious, but most of the time you don’t even realize it. That’s why it’s crucial to know the signs of self-sabotage.

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Why do we self-sabotage

It’s important first to learn the reasons why you’re self-sabotaging. There are many different feelings or emotions that could cause you to sabotage yourself and some of them are the following: 

  1. Fear
  2. Lack of self-esteem
  3. Feeling incompetence
  4. Self-hatred or self-limiting Beliefs
  5. Feeling overwhelmed

3 signs of self-sabotage you should watch out

Self-sabotaging is not always obvious. There are various ways you’re doing it and it could also be depending on your situation. Self-reflection is a great exercise to help you recognize your self-sabotaging behavior. Nonetheless, these are some self-sabotaging behavior you need to be aware of:

1. Procrastination

Procrastination is the most common sign of self-sabotage. According to Fuschia Sirois, a professor of psychology at the University of Sheffield in England, procrastination is “the voluntary, unnecessary delay of an important task, despite knowing you’ll be worse off for doing so.”

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Procrastination could be a manifestation of fear of failure. For instance, you’re too afraid to fail the task you need to do which brings you to sabotage yourself by doing it at the last minute and end up doing a poor job on it.

2. Putting yourself down

Negative self-talk is also one of the signs of self-sabotage. It is the inner voice you hear that limits you from believing in yourself. 

Some of the negative self-talk statements we hear to ourselves are:

  • “I’m too lazy.”
  • “I’m a failure.”
  • “I’m not going to get any better at this.”

These kinds of words shrink our self-esteem and will lead us to sabotage what we really need or want to do.

3. Overcommitting

Biting off more than you can chew is a sign of self-sabotage. Sometimes, overcommitting is an action manifesting the thought “I’m not doing enough.”

You feel like you need to do more. Most of the time, comparing yourself to others is the root of this self-sabotaging behavior.  

How to avoid self-sabotaging behavior

Now that you know the reasons and signs of self-sabotage, these are some tips to avoid them and start achieving your goal:

1. Be aware

Once you notice the signs of self-sabotage we just talked about, be aware that it is a self-sabotaging behavior and you need to avoid it. Awareness is the key here. Knowing your self-sabotaging behavior is the first step.

Ask these questions whenever you notice you’re sabotaging yourself:

  1. Is this thing I am doing right now contributing to my goal?
  2. What are the things that trigger me to avoid doing what I should do?
  3. What is one thing that I can do to move closer to my goal?

2. Identify your limiting beliefs

What story do you tell yourself about yourself? Does it sound like “I’m not good enough” or “I should avoid failure at all costs”? 

Those stories are the thoughts that keep holding you back. It could take some time to determine your limiting beliefs but once you do, reframe them.

Remember that your limiting beliefs aren’t true. They are just thoughts and we can always reject them and reframe them into an empowering belief.

3. Discover your personal core values

Knowing what is important to you will also help you avoid the signs of self-sabotage. Your values serve as a map to give you direction on where you should be going.

If you want to learn more about identifying your core values, I have a full blog post that will teach you an exercise to discover your values. You can read it here.

What is your self-sabotaging behavior?

You might realize that you’re doing some signs of self-sabotage mentioned in this post and that’s okay. This post is not to shame you or anyone but to help empower you and understand self-sabotaging behaviors. 

I hope this post also reminds you to be gentle to yourself. Always, take it one step at a time.

What is your self-sabotaging behavior? Do you have other tips on how you can avoid them? Share them in the comments below!

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