6 Ways to Stop the Self-Sabotaging Cycle

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Who is that one person in your life that is constantly putting you down and telling you that you aren’t worthy of anything great? When you have an idea to try something new they counter it with how bad you’ll be at it since it’s something you’ve never done. Does it seem at every moment when you try and lift yourself up they just tear you down? This hurtful individual is closer than you think,  because it’s you. 

Your biggest source of stress when trying to achieve something fulfilling can be yourself. All the thoughts of self-doubt begin to emerge from your subconscious causing you to question if it’s even worth it. 

But here are 6 ways to free yourself from the cycle of self-sabotage and pursue any idea you have. 

The cause of self-sabotage behavior?

Sometimes sabotaging yourself is a way to comfort that feeling of uncertainty when something you’ve never done before. The anxiousness can take over our thoughts making it difficult to see if the outcome of our decision is the best option for us. 

Many of us weren’t taught how to manage or process stress, and this is why some people will turn to dangerous coping mechanisms such as substance abuse to suppress that looming feeling of constant worry. 


The creation of an insecure adult starts in childhood. When a child grows up in a household where they feel belittled, they soon start to believe that they are not worthy of being listened to or respected.

The feeling of neglect and abandonment from childhood often creates a negative mindset in adulthood where someone has low self-esteem or self-belief that they can achieve anything. 


Your subconscious mind can sometimes get in the way when you’re trying to pursue something different. The main purpose of the subconscious is to protect your well being, and keep it from doing anything that could trigger a heightened hormonal release, like cortisol, the stress hormone. 

While you’re trying something new, you tend to release cortisol, and this is when the subconscious will start to lead the mind into stopping whatever it is causing this stress. The only way to truly counter this feeling is to persevere and push through all the voices telling you to stop.

Sings of self-sabotage.

  1. Self criticism

Nit picking all your shortcomings does nothing but put you down. Excessively  focusing on what you aren’t good at will fuel you with unnecessary negativity.

 Understand that you are not supposed to perfect at everything and accept the areas you are weak in. 

Don’t allow past failure to stop you from trying to achieve greatness for your future self. Your beginning doesn’t have to be great for you to become great. Just believe and achieve. 

  1. Negativity

Negativity and self sabotage go hand in hand. There isn’t a way to ruin potential success with positivity, negativity is the emotion fuel that drives self sabotage off the cliff to its demise.

The lack of self belief is what creates the negative thoughts. And not believing you are great enough to be anything is something one happily accepts. 

The negativity creates thoughts of  hopelessness, which can lead someone into believing they have no chance in improving. This causes them to give you their efforts and never try again.

  1. Procrastination

Sometimes the easiest thing to do is nothing, but this is not always the best thing to do. Putting off an important task due to feeling overwhelmed doesn’t eliminate the problem, just postpone it. 

Those that self sabotage their opportunities find that the main issues they faced was simply just  doing it. The thought of them doing it made them feel so anxious that they didn’t see a point in actually trying to do it themselves.

Procrastination is just another way for someone to avoid trying something that they believe they’ll fail at. By not doing it they don’t run into the risk of failing at it. 

  1. Disorganization 

They say a messy space represents a messy mind, and this is very accurate for those with self sabotaging behavior. It seems if one aspect of your life is chaotic everything else will follow suit. 

Being disorganized it’s just about having a messy space, this can also affect your decision making and planning. When your mind is scattered you are unable to focus your energy on important tasks and dates.

  1. Overindulgence

Anything that is done in excess is never healthy. When your mind keeps telling you to overeat, overdrink or bing-watch, this it it’s attempt of self-preservation . 

This is the mind’s attempt to escape from the stress and anxiety it feels by overindulging in activities that release dopamine. 

These habits can be very unhealthy and keep you in a state of complacency. Not being aware of how much your life is in need of change can put you in a very dangerous situation. 

  1. Distracted

Just like being disorganized, when the mind is under too much stress it’s unable to focus on what’s important. Being incapable to direct your attention on important matters can derail the motivation to fix the issue.

Avoiding what’s important is a way to stop feeling overwhelmed with stress. Not having a more proactive coping strategy when dealing with stress will only make it even more difficult to reach your goals and try new things.  

1. Set realistic goals with a plan of action.

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Everyone has goals and wishes that they want to come true, but dreaming about them won’t make them come true. The first step to beginning the journey of self-fulfillment is understanding what exactly it is you want to change about yourself. If for example, you want to make new friends, the first step would be to go out and find a location for social engagement like a bar or maybe volunteering.

Instead of listening to the little voice in your head that tries to tell you that you shouldn’t, do it anyway. There is no guarantee that the outcome you expected will happen but you must try to do it regardless of how terrifying the idea may be.

2. Be your biggest fan.

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Relying solely on others to support you and uplift you during times of change will oftentimes leave you disappointed. The feeling of making someone you care about proud can be very motivating but depending too much on someone else to validate can make you feel hurt when they don’t express their admiration for you the way you want them to. 

This is why your own thoughts and opinions about yourself should be the most important. No one understands all the struggles you’ve had to face trying to improve who you are but you. Supporting yourself will help you build a stronger relationship with yourself. Being able to be proud of yourself creates an amazing feeling of pride and self-worthiness that can only be made when you understand yourself.

Having a solid support system that showers you with love and start is such a blessing but it’s also good to remember that no one should be pushing you to succeed more than your own self.   

3. Celebrate the small wins.

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Don’t forget to appreciate the small achievements you make on the way. Taking time to fully grasp your progress will make you feel even more motivated to keep going to achieve your goals. Even the most minor victories are discovered to be recognized, and not doing so can ignite the self-sabotage mindset you were trying to extinguish.  

By rewarding yourself when you have successfully done something you start to establish the changing habit with positivity. This will make the grueling task of doing something different more enjoyable since you are able to remember how uplifting it was when you did it the first time.  

4. Work on your weakness.

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A lot of self-doubt comes from the awareness that you might be lacking severely in a certain area. Being bad at something is very common, we aren’t born knowing how to do everything, so that’s why you must tend to your weaker traits. Not being able to do something well the first time doesn’t mean it’s not for you, it actually means you should do it more often so you can someday become better at it. 

And yes there will be people who are going to be better than you but that shouldn’t be your concern. If you are ever going to improve in what you are doing you must go at the pace that suits you. 

The most common people who constantly self-sabotage are perfectionists.  Applying Unrealistic expectations on yourself can be very damaging to your overall health. Understand that perfection does not exist and instead of aiming to be perfect, aim to be the best you can possibly be. 

5. Acknowledge the uncertainty of change. 

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There is something unsettling about change. It’s unfamiliar, unpredictable, and uncontrolled. When someone feels this type of discomfort, they begin to feel anxious, and their mind years toward self-preservation. 

It has been scientifically proven that when a person is faced with uncertainty it is registered like an error that needs to be corrected so the mind can feel comfortable again. This is why so many people are stagnant in their lives, the feeling of “what happens next” is too much to even consider.

The feeling of change will never be a comfortable feeling but accepting that the outcome of what comes after the change will be greater than what you are currently experiencing.

“The moment where the pain of where you are becomes greater than the fear of the unknown.” 

-Debi Silber

6. Let go of fear and be fearless.

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We all feel fear, it is a common emotion that has kept humans safe for thousands of years. But now, we need to realize ourselves from it in order to progress. 

Firstly, being aware of the fear in your life is a great first step to overcoming them. Writing these down allows you to make them seem more tangible unlike keeping them suppressed in your mind.

Also, try and envision your “fearless” self to help you become more inspired to take those first steps. Thinking ahead and focusing on the outcome is what will push you into doing whatever it is you are scared of.

When it comes to becoming fearless you must be ready to look a little bit crazy. Honestly, being a fearless person isn’t as common as it should be. You might find yourself being judged by strangers and even people close to you. But this is the burden you will most likely have to face when you are trying to become the best version of yourself.  

Final Thoughts: How to stop Self-Sabotaging.

As you read above there are several different ways to stop the cycle of self-sabotage, but just remember this process may be difficult but the outcome will be worth it.

 The process of trying to improve who you are isn’t something that needs to be rushed. You will need to go at your own pace and be accepting when you make mistakes.

This might feel like a battle with yourself because in a way it is. The new you is going to constantly be challenging the older you to stop its harmful ways. 

Be patient with yourself but more importantly love yourself.

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