6 Surprising Ways You Self-Sabotage


You may have heard the saying, “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” Unfortunately, most of us are well-practiced in the art of avoiding discomfort – so much so that we can sabotage ourselves in order to avoid it. It can be the discomfort of failing, succeeding, or having to perform tasks that make us feel insecure.

Have you had the experience of letting yourself down? I have. It’s a strange feeling to know that you ruined the very thing you were trying so hard to accomplish.

Are you sabotaging your success?

Consider these points:

1. Distractions. The tasks that need to be done in order to be successful in the long run may feel less appealing than activities that give instant gratification: binge-watching your favorite show, scrolling social media, or loading your Prime Wardrobe cart with things you don’t really need. We’re experts at distracting ourselves, and the urge to seek out distractions increases with the unpleasantness of the task looming over our heads.

Solution: Allow yourself to have positive distractions, but control when, and how long, you engage in them. You might give yourself 30 minutes of distraction time after three hours of work. Or, you might limit distractions to the evening after your work is done for the day. If you really struggle to manage distractions, consider using a time tracker like this one to see where you are misspending your time during the day.

2. Procrastination. Distractions are one way of procrastinating, but there are countless ways to procrastinate. The general theme is that you’re doing something other than what you should be doing.

Solution: Focus on just getting started, which is often the most challenging part of working. Use a timer like this one that I use and see how much you can accomplish in 30 minutes. Be clear on what needs to be done and why. Understanding the value and benefit of completing an unpleasant task can help you to overcome the overwhelm.

3. Indecisiveness. Indecisiveness is a success killer. When you can’t make up your mind, progress comes to a stop. If you wait until you have all the wisdom and information necessary to make a perfect choice, you’ll be waiting a long time.

Solution: Be clear on what needs to be done to accomplish your objective. Give yourself a time limit. You might give yourself 10 minutes or a day to make a specific decision. Then just pull the trigger and move forward.

4. Negative thoughts. For some of us, no matter how much success we achieve we will always battle negative thoughts. Negativity can be steady mental background noise or it can rise and fall, becoming more prominent when we are feeling uncertain about our actions or decisions.

Solution: You don’t have to engage with every thought that crosses your mind. Take control of your mind and recognize that some thoughts are not useful to you. You can choose to ignore them. Practice cheering yourself on rather than criticizing your actions. If you are absolutely terrible at offering yourself kind words, try borrowing them from someone else.

5. Spending time on low-priority tasks. The most important tasks are not always the most enjoyable, and they are rarely easy or quick to resolve. Sometimes we tackle the less important, but easy, tasks because they allow us to feel like we’re making progress.

Solution: Have a list of tasks to do each day ordered from most important to least. I use a planner system like this and I choose no more than 3 top priority tasks for each day. Start at the top of your list with your high-priority items and work your way down to less important tasks.

6. Quitting. This is the ultimate way to sabotage your success. You can’t achieve anything if you quit before you’re successful. Many people have a habit of quitting right before achieving success.

Solution: Avoid caving into the fear that crops up when you’re about to find out if you were successful or not. Ignore your negative thoughts and remember that you have value to offer and no one benefits if you quit just because you don’t feel 100% confident in yourself. The most successful people in the world have failed many more times than you. Imagine if they had quit.

Self-sabotage is a great problem to have because you don’t need to try to change anyone else. The person responsible for your successes and failures is staring at you in the mirror each day. It’s easier to change yourself than it is to change someone else.

Keep these 6 tips in mind as you move through your day and focus on enjoying your successes instead of worrying over your failures!

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