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January 3, 2021

Three Most Common Ways We Self-Sabotage and What You Can Do Today to Stop it

Self-sabotage is basically being in a race then, right before crossing the finish line, stopping, bending down, and tieing our shoelaces together, tripping and face planting just a few steps from the goal. Yep…that sounds about right.


Self-sabotage is really just an attempt to avoid difficult situations, rejection, or disappointment. There are plenty of reasons we self-sabotage, from fear of success to fear of judgment. The one common denominator is usually=fear.


In this article, I will go over the three most common ways I have seen my client’s self-sabotage and what you can do to stop those patterns today!


Walk the Talk- Walking the talk is the story you tell yourself and limiting (consciously or unconsciously) yourself according to that story. It is the story you or someone has led you to believe. All the “I can’t,” and “I’m not ____ enough.” False limitations. The truth is we have the resources to succeed or can create the resources to succeed. Not every millionaire started with a cushy bank account to fund their vision. We get so caught up in the story, we believe it and live it. We bring those limits to life.


What we can do:


Change the narrative:

“Every cell is eavesdropping on your internal dialogue”- Deepak Chopra.


There is a lot of power in language. The way we speak, the words we choose to use influences our emotions, thoughts, and impact on the people we speak with. We can use the mind’s language to change our internal sensors to achieve our desired outcome consistently. Your body is literally listening and absorbing everything you tell yourself. That is why whenever you say something about yourself (good or bad), you can literally feel it in your body. In the same way that our language can motivate us (affect our emotions, affect our physiology), it can demotivate us.


Begin by making small changes like first noticing the words you use when you speak to yourself. Change the “I’m such a loser” or “I’m an idiot” to “I made a mistake there,” then take a look at what can be improved. This also allows us to take responsibility vs. assigning blame. Responsibility creates a space for improvement and holds less judgment, where blame is condemning and judgmental.


Practicing using affirmative words and remove negative self-talk. Record positive affirmations in your own voice and listen to them while exercising, driving, or meditating. This gives your unconscious mind an alternative to what it has been fed all these years.

We all have lazy moments or days, but sometimes we purposely avoid doing tasks or looking for distractions. We can get caught up in social media for hours at a time and even put off appointments or cancel last minute. Procrastination and anxiety often go hand in hand.




While procrastination is common with those who suffer from anxiety, the reasons behind it may surprise you. Procrastination helps us avoid situations, people, events, and opportunities because often, there is a fear of failure or a fear of success with anxiety. We fear success because we feel we can’t deliver or feel unworthy of that success. Something or someone from our past has convinced us that we are not deserving of success, so unconsciously, or sometimes consciously, we self-sabotage that success.


If we fear failure, we try to avoid the feelings of defeat, being told “I told you so,” feeling like a failure or less than because it was not completed or wasn’t completed good enough. We tend to compare ourselves to others who have “succeeded” and think we are not enough.


Avoidance allows us to blame an outside influence/factor (traffic, this person’s fault, etc.) instead of taking responsibility for things within our realm of control.


What we can do:


Identify and acknowledge the fear. Where is the fear coming from? How and when did it begin? What is it affecting in my life? Who is it affecting? This is an opportunity for growth. Here are a few simple ways to help with procrastination:


1- Get organized by creating a to-do list with the top priorities listed. Having a daily planner has helped me create a plan for my day, and if not, everything gets done that is ok. I know my priority list is completed, and some of my to-do’s, which gives me a feeling of accomplishment.


2- Create a plan by breaking a project/task up into small pieces. Anyone with anxiety is easily overwhelmed but breaking something down into manageable parts and creates a deadline for each part. Have an overall deadline for the entire project/task and allow a little cushion room for revisions or any additional work that needs to be done.


3- Eliminate distractions by deleting social media apps from your phone during working hours. We’re so conditioned to clicking on an app and having instant access, who wants to actually wait 45-60 seconds for an app to download every time we want to use it. And that, my friends, is the point. Save that app for the end of the day or weekends and recondition yourself to not falling down the social media rabbit hole.

Last but certainly not least comes perfectionism. Success and failure are a package deal. That is hard for a perfectionist to accept. Expecting always to do things right or not doing them at all for fear of failing to do it up to certain standards. This can be anything from tasks/projects to avoiding intimate relationships. How many times have we ditched a whole workout routine because we missed a day or two? Or messed up on a diet, and then we felt like we needed to start all over instead of just starting from where we were. If we cannot be perfect with the entire process, then it’s the “throw the baby out with the bathwater” mentality. Enter self-sabotage. The perfect way out of whatever we are trying to avoid.


What we can do:


First, remember failure is only feedback. Perfectionism is a great opportunity to practice self-compassion. For every problem or obstacle, there is a solution. You have all the resources you need or have a way to obtain the resources. Be flexible in your approach, not your goal.


Second, set yourself up for success with positive reminders, affirmations, mantras, and journaling. Practice gratitude every day and find something positive in yourself and the situation. Plan something positive for yourself as a reward and positive reinforcement for a job well done, no matter how big or small.


Third, phone a friend. Get someone close to you to help hold you accountable. If you can’t find anyone hire a coach. Holding clients accountable to meet the desired goal is what we love and live for. Having someone to help hold you accountable, help keep you on track, someone that can monitor your progress, and gives you that guidance, especially when you have a desired goal in mind, will give you a higher chance of achieving your desired outcome.


Final Thought:

We all do it in some way, shape, or form, for whatever reason we can justify. The important lesson is recognizing it and noticing the patterns of when, where, how, and why. Begin breaking those cycles with small steps. Journal the patterns to keep track. Also, journal the wins and the challenges. What emotions come up for you? What did you do with those emotions? Where in your body are you storing them. Remember to pay attention to the story you tell yourself and change the narrative if it keeps you stuck.


Healing is not a destination but rather a journey of self-love, exploration, patience, trust, and surrender.


Be in peace, family.


Part of this article has been featured in the INLP Center article post:

For more information or to contact Deyna, please visit our website:

#snhcoaching #sagenharmony #coachdeyna

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