How to Stop Self Sabotage

by Doreen Rainey

"How do I stop myself from self-sabotaging all the great things that are happening for me now?"

This was the question one of my clients asked on our group coaching call yesterday.

In our RADICAL Self Revolution program, focusing on personal development, she has been experiencing a new way of thinking and behaving and as a result, has been able to see her goals begin to materialize - including getting a new job she absolutely adores and taking charge of her health. But in all of her successes, she was seriously concerned that she was going to do something to mess it up.

Have you ever had those same concerns? Have you felt that you self-sabotage yourself? Have you ever taken proactive steps toward realizing a dream or gold and then all of a sudden, you find yourself doing or saying some things that completely hinder your progress?

  • Perhaps you've spent time putting a new resume together but find excuses not to send them out.
  • Maybe you've decided to start getting up earlier to start your day with exercise or meditation, and you then begin to stay up later than usual making it hard to wake up on time.
  • Maybe you've signed up for a class or training, and then don't attend sessions or do the work.
  • Have you wanted to curb your spending and then justify a new outfit, a night on the town or burying presents?

Behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems and interferes with long-standing goals. It's that simple. When you do something that hinders, prevents or stops you from getting what you say you want - you have just self-sabotaged yourself.

Self-sabotaging behaviors come in all forms. They show up as procrastination, overeating or under eating in the face of weight problems, overspending, picking fights, not showing up for important events, or self-medication with drugs or alcohol. It shows up when you waste time, resources or energy on those activities that have nothing to do with where you want to go in life.

Sometimes the outcomes of our self-sabotage are felt immediately - you gain weight, you overdraw you account, your miss the deadline or you end up not speaking to a friend or family member. Other times, the results come somewhere in the future - when you realize you're not where you want to be, you're not doing the things you want to do and you're not spending time with the people you want to spend time with.

So what's a professional self-sabotager to do? Here are three tips.

1. Awareness

Some are in denial about the extent of their self-sabotage. Take some time and think about goals you've had in the past and haven't achieved. Think about those times when you were "so close" to getting what you wanted and then it didn't happen.

Ask yourself: What role did I play in the outcome? Write down what you did, or didn't do, that prevented you from that goal? Be honest. It isn't always self-sabotage, but the only way to be sure is to carefully examine past situations.

2. Find the Pattern

Many times, our self-sabotage has a M.O. (mode of operation). It typically shows up for the same reasons - fear, anxiety, guilt, anger - and in the same way (what you actually DO to stop yourself from making progress).

Ask yourself: What's my M.O.? What are the top 2-3 behaviors that show and stop me?

3. Go on the Offensive

Now that you know what you do - prepare to conquer those behaviors. Look at the goals you have now to see where there is a chance for self-sabotage. Plan you action steps to counteract any behaviors that will keep you from moving forward. When you're about to commit self-sabotage - STOP, BREATHE and THINK of the consequences.

Ask yourself: What will it cost me if I keep up this pattern of self-sabotage?

If self-sabotage has been playing a role in your life and preventing you from reaching your goals, you may want to consider a RADICAL Breakthrough Strategy Session. During this hour of one-on-one coaching, we'll take a deep exploration all three of these areas and create your personal strategy for changing your behavior.

RADICAL Success Coach Doreen Rainey helps her clients Get RADICAL - by defining success for themselves and getting the guts to go after it. Get her FREE RADICAL Success Starter Kit at
© 2013 Doreen Rainey

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