Here Are 3 Things You Need To Do To Stop Self-Sabotage From Defeating You

5 min readFeb 18, 2021

How Do I know If I’m Self-Sabotaging Myself?

Why am I stuck in this mindset that is dragging me down? How does this destructive programming get created in the first place? Is it possible to stop self-sabotage from defeating you?

It starts from the thousands of messages we have heard repeated over and over as we grew up. These messages are what shaped our programming. These messages lead many of us to develop a sense of inadequacy. Making us feel “not good enough.” This learned mindset puts an immense amount of pressure on us to act a certain way.

After years of focusing externally, we’ve learned to look outside of ourselves for the cause of our problems. We get caught up believing that what others think of us and what happens to us dictates how we feel and believe about our life.

Self-sabotage is when we think thoughts or behave in ways that will move us further from our desires. It’s that inner-voice whispering in our ear telling us that we can’t do this. It doesn’t sound nice, but it’s our subconscious’ attempt at protecting us from pain and fear in reality. Of course, the result is negative. It’s preventing us from achieving our dreams.

Over time, self-sabotage zaps our motivation and drive. When we fail time and again to achieve our goals, we become frustrated, defeated, and soon stop trying. If you believe you will not ever fulfill your wishes, why bother making an effort?

Thank goodness it’s possible to overcome almost any form of self-sabotage. Behavioral therapies can aid in interrupting patterns of thought and action while strengthening our intentions and self-regulation.

The most common self-sabotaging behaviors include procrastination, perfectionism, relationships, work, finances, time, and change. For example, a perfectionist who wants to complete a project flawlessly may dismiss incremental improvements when making small steps to accomplish the goal.

Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.” ~Alyce Cornyn-Selby

How Do I Stop Self-Sabotage?

  1. Understand, Identify, Recognize

We’re all guilty of self-sabotage in some way, shape, or form. The first step to changing our self-talk is understanding where it originates. It’s often subtle, so before we can change it, we need to identify it.

What about our self-talk is sabotaging us? Learn how to recognize it by looking at our thoughts and actions as an outsider. What is it that’s holding us back? It could manifest in perfectionism or procrastination. Once we recognize this, we can identify why it’s happening.

Often, our most destructive habits come from our feeling of self-worth. If we don’t feel as though we deserve success, we will continue to feel inadequate. Even if we set stretched goals for ourselves, it’s merely overcompensating. We’ll find a way to twist fate and self-sabotage.

  1. Self-Reflection

You probably look in a mirror and are as familiar with your appearance as almost any other sight. But how often do we look inward to become more familiar with our inner self? Self-reflection is a process by which we grow our understanding of who we are, our values, and why we think and act the way we do.

Let’s pretend that we are an onion. As we self-reflect, we will find layer after layer of new findings and information. Peel back the cover on the issues that have been leading us down the path of self-sabotage. Reflect on our actions, choices, and decisions. It’s essential to learn from failure and success equally. We have to adjust the course and take the right approach.

  1. That Quiet Voice

At the root of self-sabotage is fear. Many people experience occasional bouts of anxiety, such as giving a high-stakes presentation or feeling our “nerves” when going on a first date. But when pressure is persistent and impairs our life or growth, it causes distress. Sometimes we go so far as to avoid the situation. The fear is disproportionate to the actual danger the event poses.

We’re terrified that the critical self-talk voice is right. We start to believe that we aren’t enough or that we don’t deserve success and happiness. To quiet those voices, we have to turn up the volume on the soft voice. It’s our quiet voice that is positive. Let those encouraging, positive thoughts override the negative, self-sabotaging self-talk. When we recognize how we limit ourselves, we can build positive behavior with a confident and affirmative voice.

We need to ascend beyond our petty resistance, our negative self-judgment and self-sabotage, our own “I’m not worthy” mindset.” ~ Steven Pressfield

  1. Effect Change

If we want to stop self-sabotaging, then we must change our negative behaviors and patterns. Every action we take moves us closer or further away from what we want and who we want to be. Our thoughts have consequences, especially when our self-sabotaging self-talk is influencing our behavior. To overcome it, we must find new patterns to replace the old, unhealthy ones.

Work on it one step at one time. It’s more likely to stick if you focus on a single item. These small, meaningful changes are going to build to significant transformations. When we recognize how we sabotage our success, we can effect change to ensure our success.


We often feel off-kilter when dealing with the unknown. The unsure footing is going to upset the applecart. On the one hand, there is logic. Our conscious mind tells us to eat well, and it tells us to get to bed. It suggests that we should not buy anything because we need to save money.

On the other hand, we have a subconscious mind. It’s the part of us that encourages us to spend online. It wants us to grab that chocolate and binge when we’re stressed out.

In this context, our subconscious mind is being fueled by a critical voice within ourselves that desires only to sabotage us and hold us back.

Now, we could respond to that negatively, or we can choose to move forward with confidence. Thoughtful plans, concrete goals, and intentions are necessary. We can do this daily and beyond. The important part is recognizing that we can stop self-sabotage and overcome it with tangible action.

I am Shirley Noah, an internationally known stress expert and entrepreneur. I would love to connect further with you to help you improve your health and wellbeing. If you are interested in learning more about your self-talk please take a look at my popular E-course, Optimize Your Self-Talk




Founder of In Good Health Coach: simple methods for healthy living and overcoming stress once and for all.