All of us are guilty of self-sabotaging behavior on occasion and most of us don’t even realize we’re doing it! That’s why it’s so insidious and destructive if you let it go unchecked. The main thing to remember is that self-sabotaging is all in your head and has nothing to do with the person you actually are. Case in point: A 2007 University of Toronto study found that people who achieve more than they thought they’d be able to are more prone to failure in the long run. The study reported, “People who thought of their capabilities as fixed were more likely to become anxious and disoriented when faced with dramatic success, causing their subsequent performance to plummet.”
The first step toward a cure is admitting you have a problem so take a good hard look at yourself and see if you recognize any of these 15 self-sabotaging behaviors.
1. Fear of Success
This is one we’re all familiar with and, as you saw above, research backs it up. Your fear really can be the biggest obstacle to your success.
2. Obsession with Perfection
Attention to detail is a very good thing. Focusing too much on minutia and refusing to move ahead until everything is just right is a very bad thing.
3. Helping Others to Avoid Helping Yourself
If you’re someone who everyone can count on for support and a helping hand through tough times, you’re a kind and loving person. However, make sure you aren’t using other people’s problems to avoid your own.
4. Negative Self-Talk
Negative self-talk is one of the most common self-sabotaging behaviors. Put a stop to that inner voice who says you aren’t pretty enough or smart enough or talented enough. She’s wrong!
5. Negative Out Loud Talk
How many times a day do you say things like, “I’m such a klutz”, “I’m such a ditz”, “You’re so much better at this than I am”. True or not, say it enough times and everyone else will start to believe you’re incompetent.
Procrastination is a killer. If you’ve got a big project with a deadline and you find yourself rearranging your office or going through all your old emails, stop!
7. The Bad Day Excuse
Before you lose yourself in a pint of ice cream or an entire pizza, remember that a bad day really isn’t an excuse to undermine your diet. You’ll just feel worse about yourself tomorrow.
8. Refusing to Ask for Help
No one likes to admit they need help but we all need a little boost sometimes. Why make life harder on yourself and risk making mistakes if you don’t have to?
The boring rut you’re familiar may feel safer than venturing into the unknown, but think of everything you’re missing out on simply by not trying.
10. Treating Others Badly
It’s scary to be vulnerable and let people in. Being mean and pushing people away to avoid getting hurt is effective but awfully lonely.
Denial is definitely not just a river in Egypt and it’s extremely difficult to recognize in yourself. If a situation doesn’t feel right, take a good hard look at what you aren’t seeing. It may be painful now but often it’s the only way to move forward.
12. Constant Comparisons
A little healthy competition is good. Constantly comparing yourself to others and feeling like you fall short is self-sabotaging.
13. Blame Game
It’s a totally human reflex to look for someone to blame when things go wrong but people will respect you more, and you’ll learn from them, if you can admit your mistakes.
You aren’t superwoman. Overcommitting your time or resources is just setting yourself up for failure.
15. Dwelling on Failure
Speaking of failure. It happens. Recognize it. Accept it. Learn from it. Move on.