How to Minimize Self-Sabotage

How to Minimize Self-Sabotage

When we decide to embark on a new goal for ourselves, we’re often filled with intense passion and excitement just at the thought of the potential outcome. We start out strong by following a plan that’s been created for us and we put everything we have into making sure it’s carried out to completion.

However, life happens and can often derail us at the most inconvenient time. It usually starts out slowly; missing a workout or two or forgetting to make a healthy lunch the night before. While this scenario is very common, it’s usually a point when self-doubt starts to creep in.

At first you may shake it off, but after missing yet another workout or another opportunity for a healthy meal, we begin to wonder if we were ever even supposed to follow a new plan, set new goals, and expect ourselves to make positive changes.

This way of thinking leads to self-sabotage, a nasty habit that keeps many of us stuck in the same place without even realizing it. Self-sabotage wants us to stay in the same place because it’s scared of the un-known. Over time, we’ve unknowingly trained ourselves to talk us out of trying or experiencing new things because of our fear of the outcome.

While change won’t happen overnight, I believe there are a few tips you can use to help put the brakes of self-sabotage and encourage a more positive way of thinking.

  1. Identify your triggers

First, knowing what sets you up for potential failure will be important for future growth. Triggers usually include stress, unnecessary distractions, family/relationship struggles, or a general lack of confidence. These are the things that usually provoke that little voice inside your head to start speaking negatively about your goals and how you feel about yourself. While we all have them from time to time, being mindful of how often we are letting these triggers effect our progress should be addressed as soon as we are aware their occurrence.

  1. Re-train your inner voice

Once our triggers are identified, we can then move on to re-training our inner voice and shifting our train of thought as soon as we notice ourselves having those moments of doubt. To do this, start working on replacing the negative self-talk with positive phrases or mantra’s instead. For example, if you’re stressed at work due to an upcoming deadline, a common negative self-talk might go, “How will I ever get this completed in time? I’m only one person. Why does this always happen to me?” Instead of focusing on what you can’t do or change, think about your strength’s and what you can presently do; “I’ve pulled through and met deadlines before. I am more capable then I believe. Perhaps I could reach out for assistance.” When we start shifting our way of thinking, over time, we start believing what we are capable of doing.

  1. Hold yourself accountable

Lastly, and the most important, hold yourself accountable! It’s easy to slip back into old patterns and mindsets when we don’t have an external source for accountability. Being stressed over an upcoming test or upset you didn’t lose the amount of weight you were hoping to, are all legitimate reasons to be frustrated and upset. Get it off of your chest and acknowledge it with either a friend, a significant other or by journaling. By neglecting to check-in with ourselves, we’re subsequently allowing self-sabotage behaviors to persist.

At the end of the day, we are always our own worst critic. Making a lasting change requires time and patience, as well as healthy support system. Overcoming self-sabotage will be an important goal for many. Once we start believing be are capable and worthy of living an extraordinary life, that’s when the magic happens.


Ashley Hutson is a Certified Health Coach and Nutrition and Wellness Consultant who holds a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology. Ashley is currently a Health Coach for Teacup Wellness.

Photo used with permission.

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