How To Stop The Cycle Of Self-Sabotaging

Imagine you have an important assignment due at work, but you're constantly telling yourself that you're not good enough and that you can't do it. This can lead to not trying and, therefore, to guaranteed failure. That happens to all of us once in a while but repeating negative behaviors like this is self-sabotage. Mind Tools describes self-sabotage as "the act of destroying or undermining something, often in a covert manner." It's most often a "direct or deliberate" attempt made by the person toward oneself. Over time, practicing such negative habits or acts can cause "psychological self-harm."

People have many reasons for self-sabotaging. According to Psychology Today, some of the main reasons people self-sabotage are because they're experiencing low self-worth, they need control over the situation, they feel like an impostor, they're jumping to the worst conclusion possible, they're scared of circumstances outside of what they know, and, simply, because they're bored and need to rouse a situation. Whatever reasons you have for self-sabotaging — and whether you do it intentionally or subconsciously — it's never good for your overall wellbeing.

Here's how you can stop self-sabotaging for good

People self-sabotage in various fields in their life, including in their relationships, careers, and self-improvement. Acts of self-sabotage can be different from one person to another, but one of the common ways people do it is by procrastinating (via Mind Tools). Knowing that something needs to get done but not doing it can lead to more stress and anxiety, and it's often accompanied by "negative self-talk" where you constantly tell yourself, "You can't do that!" — so most people don't even bother trying.

Before you lose hope, there are tips you can follow to prevent yourself from self-sabotaging. Verywell Mind recommends avoiding procrastination as putting things off can only make the situation worse or exploring the leading causes to discover if it's something you learned in childhood that's influencing this behavior. Verywell Mind suggests stopping trying to be a perfectionist or just focusing on the big picture as it can distract you from little acts of success that can be achieved along the way. You can work with your therapist on learning helpful tools.

In life, it's important to accept the fact that sometimes we will fail and sometimes we will succeed, and you shouldn't be so hard on yourself. According to Healthline, finding the triggers that set you off that route is important, whether it be fear or self-doubt. Try practicing mindfulness and nonjudgmental awareness or take a mental health day. Remember: it's crucial to be kind to yourself.