• Damien Ryan

The Devastation of Self-Sabotage and How to Eliminate it.

Being a high performance, emotion-based coach, I see clients in self-sabotage mode all the time. In my point of view, it is the biggest dream killer of all. Firstly, because it stops you moving forward toward your goals and secondly because most of the time we don’t even realise that we’re doing, or, how we’re doing it.


Self-sabotage is a reaction. It’s a way that we react to our emotions and it’s really important that we understand that. When I’m talking to people about their sabotaging habits, they call it circumstance or a situation they find themselves in. It’s as if something that is happening to them, has control over them.


This is the first big point that we need to be aware of. We need to be aware that these negative habits, are a choice. Self-sabotage is a choice that you’re making on purpose, so you can emotionally distract yourself from feeling uncomfortable.


So let’s define what self-sabotage really is…


It’s simply, creating unnecessary problems for one’s self, interfering with your own goals. But why would we make a choice, to interfere with our goals? It sounds absurd. The reason we do this is because when we make goals, it’s usually in our thinking time. Our safe space. Using our prefrontal cortex, where your imagination and creativity is set free. It’s nice and warm and fluffy and comfortable there. But when it comes to crunch time, our primitive brain takes over and it’s then just fight or flight.


One of the ways that many people self-sabotage is by finding instant gratification. Instead of knuckling down and getting to work, we’ll find something to eat, we’ll call a friend, we’ll have a shower, we’ll feed the cat, we’ll go for a run. We’ll pretty much do anything to escape the emotion of getting uncomfortable, especially if your goals are big and new and makes you step into the unknown.


The worst thing about this, is that when you realise that you are sabotaging yourself, you beat yourself up about it. Tell yourself off. Tell yourself that the goal is too big, too scary, too hard. And then, beat yourself up for beating yourself up!


That leads us to another way that we sabotage ourselves and that’s by quitting. The goals aren't happening fast enough, so we quit. Let me suggest something; that will not make it go faster.


So the problem with self-sabotage, for many of us, is that we get into the habit of it. Which is what I call the downward spiral. More and more and more sabotaging. Making it harder and harder and harder to get out of. Then many of us stop setting those goals because we know that we have the habit of self-sabotage and so we just do it ahead of time by not even setting any goals because somehow, that makes us think we feel safe.


There’s three main things you can look at, in yourself, to see if you’re self-sabotaging. The first one is not having goals? That is the ultimate in self-sabotage, not planning your future. Most people don’t do plan ahead, because they don’t want to be disappointed by their own self-sabotage, so they just sabotage everything ahead of time by not setting goals.


The second thing is a lack of awareness. Not being aware of your life. Not noticing your own patterns of acting, feeling and thinking. So many people will tell me, “I don’t know why I’m acting like this” and I can guarantee, it comes down to what they’re thinking and feeling. Not being aware of your thoughts can devastate all actions towards your goals.


And the third way is if you’re continually thinking about your past. Focusing your energy on everything you used to, or already have accomplished, or worse, focusing on all the failures from your past and using them as a reason not to move forward.


In the end, all self-sabotage comes back to our belief systems about ourselves and what we believe we can achieve. It’s the thoughts we think and the language we use internally, that hold us back.


It’s not the motivation that needs work, it’s not the fact our goals are too big, it’s not that we need to wake up earlier or work harder or have our staff work harder, it’s merely awareness of what we’re telling ourselves.


Some thoughts that many of us have is, I’m not worthy. I’m not worthy of that goal. I’m not worthy of that result or I’m not capable of it. I’m not smart enough. I’m not good enough, I’m not fit enough, I’m not young enough. You have to deconstruct these thoughts. You have to, first of all, become aware of it. You must understand how it’s creating this self-sabotage and then you have to break it down and decide, on purpose, to do something different.


That “something different” is taking control of our emotional management. We need to become aware of what we’re feeling. We need to learn how to process emotion and we need to understand that about half of the time, those emotions are going to be uncomfortable and that does not mean something has gone wrong. In fact, it means we are human and it means we’re growing.


Think about this for a moment. If you believe that we humans, shouldn’t feel suffering, then you’re always going to self-sabotage. If you have a desire to always feel comfortable or even think that you shouldn’t feel discomfort at any time, then the immediate desire for comfort will always be on your mind.


We eat because we’d rather feel comfort over discomfort. We don’t take action towards our goals because we’d rather not experience the potential failure. We’d rather just go under the covers and hide from reality, because we know it’s warm. We’d rather self-sabotage the emotion away, even the preempted emotion that we think we might feel.


What would life be like for you if you gave up sabotaging yourself?


You’d have to completely give up self-sabotage, but can you imagine what you would be able to create in your life?


What do you believe about yourself right now, that is causing you to self-sabotage?


When you can answer some powerful questions like these, for yourself, you’ll be much more aware of what and where you’re self-sabotaging is coming from and have a higher chance of being able to change it.


Having the knowledge, that being uncomfortable is not a bad feeling, that it doesn’t mean something is wrong and acknowledging it and sitting in the feeling and reminding yourself that you are human, is one of the most potent forms of sabotage cleansing. It’s the secret to having a life that is free of your own sabotaging habits.


Consider a life where you don’t interfere with your own goals. Where every time you accomplish, or more so, don’t accomplish something, it’s just a lesson. Where you don’t give into thoughts that you’re not good enough or not worthy enough and you just keep moving forward. Where you just feel, exactly what you’re feeling, without judgement.


You’re human. A wonderful, emotionally, thoughtful, beautiful human.



**If you know that you're a habitual self-sabotager and you want help finding out what is holding you back most and get it eliminated, CLICK HERE and book in a FREE coaching session with me and you can get back on track with crushing your goals Immediately!

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