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Stopping Self-Sabotage: How to Get Out of Your Own Way

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

There’s a lot of truth to the quote, “We have met the enemy, and she is us.” We get in our own way far more than life, other people, or bad luck sabotage our success. We really are our own worst enemy. You’d be amazed by how much easier your life would be if you weren’t continually sabotaging your success – in little – or even big ways. You know what I am talking about. You feel it in your bones.

It boggles the mind why we stand in our own way, but we do. Accepting that we do this to ourselves is, thankfully, half the battle to overcoming it.

Try these techniques to stop sabotaging yourself:

  1. Let go of the past. We all do things we wish we hadn’t. We have experiences we wish we could erase. But what has happened in the past does not need to define your entire journey. The past is just really juicy educational material, which can actually transform your future, put to proper use. Bless your past that has made you who you are, and create a future you desire by owning all of who you are.

  2. Avoid talking to yourself unless you’re going to say something nice. You spend too much time saying negative things to yourself. You know you do. Eventually, you begin to believe your inner critic and judge. Such negative input gives you a distorted opinion of yourself and your capabilities. Ensure that your self-talk is supportive and positive – at least three times as much as that creepy inner critic’s dialog.

  3. Notice your habits that sabotage your success. Think about what you want to be successful at and notice your habits that are blocking you. For example, if you want be more productive, but you escape into social media every time you’re stressed, that habit is sabotaging your success.

  4. Make a list of all the habits that sabotage your success. Write down all the ways in which those habits inhibit your success. What is the cost of each of those habits? Being aware of the damage these habits cause can make it easier to change them.

  5. Define your fear. All self-sabotage is rooted in fear. What exactly are you afraid of? Are you afraid of embarrassing yourself? Are you afraid of finding out that you’re not capable? Are you afraid of success? Are you afraid of how people will view you?

  6. Understand the basic fear that is causing you to sabotage yourself. Unless you can either befriend that fear, with compassion for the frightened part of you, or remove it by being more passionate about what is on the other side of the fear, you’ll continue to get in your own way.

  7. Know your ceiling. Notice how far you can go before you begin sabotaging yourself. For example, perhaps you’re stuck at a particular income level. What income level do you get stuck at? If you’re trying to lose weight, at what point do you begin sabotaging yourself? We all have a ceiling for each part of our lives. Understand yours and seek to understand why. (This can be very deep work, best done with the support and assistance of a coach or therapist.)

  8. Identify and change your beliefs. What are the beliefs that stand in your way? For example, do you believe that you’re naturally a chubby person that can never get below a certain weight? Do you believe that you can never be a successful writer because you failed high school English?

  9. Look at all of your beliefs related to the part of your life you want to be more successful in. Which of those beliefs are getting in your way?

  10. Notice the people that get in your way. Sometimes, we allow (and even invite!) people into our lives that don’t really care about what matters to us, or don’t support us because of their own fears. Even if they aren’t blocking you, you’ll find that few people are actively devoted to helping you live up to your full potential – because that’s really your job.

  11. Avoid believing that it’s acceptable to allow someone (or some situation) to get in your way. If they choose to be an obstacle, consider removing them from your life.

The good news is that easier to control yourself than it is to control others or circumstances outside of yourself. Since you are the source of your challenges, you also have the power to eliminate them. Never underestimate your true power – either to stand in your own way, or to make a way possible!

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