Are you sabotaging your own success? A Psychologist Reveals 3 Proven Stopping Methods.

Estimated read time 5 min read

Here’s a crazy thought: You can be hindering yourself from reaching your goals without even realizing it.

Psychologists refer to this as “self-sabotage,” and it can manifest itself in a variety of subtle ways, such as preventing you from obtaining a promotion or impeding your efforts to take your business to the next level.

“Self-sabotage is when we get in our own way, despite our best intentions,” Dr. Judy Ho, clinical and forensic neuropsychologist and author of Stop Self-Sabotage, explains. “And a lot of times, these processes are kind of subconscious to people.”

But there is some good news. Now that you know what self-sabotage is, you’ll be better equipped to detect where it’s wreaking havoc in your life and how to put a stop to it.

Dr. Ho mentioned numerous indications of self-sabotage in a recent discussion on the Write About Now Podcast.

You are a procrastinator.
We all procrastinate, putting off until tomorrow what we could do today. There are numerous causes for this, including fear of failure, perfectionism, despair, and TikTok. However, you may be unaware that procrastinating is a type of self-sabotage.

“Procrastination wears on our self-esteem and belief that we can accomplish what we set out to do over time,” says Dr. Ho.

She claims that some people are so adamant about their procrastination that they would justify it to her, claiming that by procrastinating, they put pressure on themselves to produce better results.

“But at some point, you run out of time, and even if you have the most unique ideas, you just can’t execute them,” Dr. Ho explains.

You strive to do everything on your own.
Our culture values independence and not relying on others for assistance. However, you cannot do everything on your own.

According to Dr. Ho, while cultivating independence has its benefits, it may also be a trap that prevents you from attaining some of your relationships and career goals.

“Human connection is a universal requirement.” “We are social beings; without it, we cannot thrive mentally or physically,” she explains. “When people tell me, ‘I’m a loner.'” They usually say that to prevent being hurt or disappointed in some way, but denying oneself of that common human desire is also a type of self-sabotage.”

You are afraid of success.
We all aspire to achieve a certain level of success, but we also take steps to avoid it.

This appears to be paradoxical. Why would we do something like this? Dr. Ho believes evolution is partially to blame. “Your body and mind are constantly working to keep you safe. “This is an important part of survival,” she explains. You may be afraid of a promotion in the same way that our forefathers were afraid of a sabertooth tiger.

“So you blow up your mind with all these fears and all the bad things that can happen and catastrophize rather than allowing yourself to enjoy the fruits of your labor or think about the positives.”

Psychologists refer to this as the “approach-avoidance phenomenon,” which states that as you come closer to achieving a goal, you begin to notice all of the disadvantages of achieving that goal and take steps to avoid it.

How to Prevent Self-Sabotage

“Everything starts with your thoughts,” explains Dr. Ho. She advises paying attention to your thoughts about yourself or your position, as well as the language you use to express them.

Assume you have been laid off from your work. There are two possible responses to this.

Number one: “You can have self-deprecating thoughts like, ‘They found me out for the loser that I am.'” ‘I’ll never be able to find another work,’ Dr. Ho adds. “If you have these kinds of thoughts, it will lead to certain negative feelings.”

Alternatively, you may hear the same news and say, “Well, that’s a bummer, but what can I do to make the best of this situation?”

In other words, what you believe will be your experience, so “evaluate your thoughts to understand which patterns you’re most susceptible to, and then from there do things to try to change your thoughts,” adds Dr. Ho.

Accept values-based living.

Have you ever felt that you desperately want to achieve a goal, but when you do, it’s somewhat disappointing? According to Dr. Ho, this is because the goal is not in line with your core values.

She describes values as “the ideas, philosophies, and ways that you want to live your life to make them meaningful — how you wanna be talked about when you’re not in the room.”

Understanding your values can help you endure and overcome the anxieties and concerns that self-sabotage throws at you.

Change your thinking habits.

When we self-sabotage, we frequently function on an infinite loop, repeatedly repeating the same ideas and behaviors.

Dr. Ho suggests completing mental contrasting and implementation intentions (MCII) exercises to stop the loop. She goes into greater detail in her book, but they are essentially a type of visualization in which you see not just the wonderful results of your goals — but also the traps and roadblocks you may face.

Why would you subject yourself to such agony?

You prepare yourself by imagining the worst-case scenario. “Once you identify those barriers, it’s really helpful because you can then create essentially a plan of attack ahead of time,” Dr. Ho says. “It’s very effective because it gives them a sense of control.” You don’t punish yourself.”

In other words, you cease sabotaging yourself.

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