How to Stop Sabotaging Yourself

Self-sabotage can look like many things. Telling yourself you will never get that promotion you actually deserve, will never fit into that dress you once wore, don’t deserve happiness, or any other example. 

Self-sabotage can come in different forms and be big or everyday little things. So the real question is to find the root of why we are actually self-sabotaging ourselves and how to stop this awful pattern of behavior. 

What is Self Sabotage? 

What exactly is this behavior, and what are the signs you’re doing it? Well, it’s an attitude or behavior that doesn’t align with your core beliefs and gets in the way of achieving goals. 

Now and again, we all get in the way of ourselves by making the wrong decision or neglecting the things that are important. The difference between that and actual self-sabotage is that sabotage is a constant pattern of behavior that creates ongoing issues that prevent you from moving forward. 

Constant perfectionism, self-doubt, procrastination, avoidance, conflict, and negative self-talk are all symptoms of self-sabotage. All are driven by anxiety, fear of failure, or self-doubt. 

Examples of Self Sabotage

You may be doing this without even realizing it in the smallest of ways! Examples may be:

  • avoiding uncomfortable situations
  • staying within your comfort zone
  • avoiding change
  • creating low standards and goals that you know you can achieve and not fail at
  • creating conflict with those you love and who surround you
  • controlling others
  • seeking approval at all times
  • making constant excuses for your behavior
  • comparing yourself to others
  • isolation
  • continued risky behaviors such as gambling or overspending and taking actions that do not match your core values and goals. 

You may be affecting your romantic relationships, careers, education, or relationships with friends and family. 

1. Self-Reflection

When it comes to how to stop this destructive behavior, start with some self-reflection. Sit in self-isolation for a while and really think to yourself about what your goals and dreams are. It may be worthwhile to break out a journal for this in order to record your thoughts and feelings.

As you move through your days, take time to pause to reflect on the behaviors you’ve been making and why you chose to make certain decisions. What are you eating, why have you not answered that email, why have you chosen to decline that invite, and so on. Have trouble with being alone? Try learning the tips you need here. 

2. Keep It Small

Look at each of these things and think about if they’re actually holding you back or not. Some things don’t need to be changed right away. Looking at the big picture and trying to change your entire lifestyle can be daunting and will often stop you in your tracks before you start. 

3. Set Goals

Set small, meaningful goals for yourself that are attainable and give them an action plan. No goal is actually a goal without a plan. Think about your life goals and dreams. Break those down into tiny goals to get to that big goal. 

Do something positive every day to get you to whatever you’re looking to achieve. It may be talking to someone new, going out alone for coffee, making different food choices, going for a walk, or similar. 

4. Give Yourself Love

You are your worst enemy when it comes to this. Give yourself the love you deserve. Replace those sabotaging thoughts of fear and loathing with thoughts of hope and love. Remember: you are worthy, and you deserve all of the wonderful things that come your way. 

Practicing mindfulness is a great way to achieve this. Sit with yourself and your thoughts. Find ways to ground yourself in the world. Try meditation, going for walks, and getting in nature. 

Be present in all moments of your life and avoid thinking of the past. Only thinking about the now and what decisions and actions you make in your everyday life will lead you into a better future. 


Sometimes we all need a little bit of help and may not be able to do things on our own. There are plenty of professionals that will be able to see this through with you. They may be able to view your situation from an outside perspective to get to the root of why you are self-sabotaging and may also be able to provide you with a booster of self-knowledge and care. If you’re struggling with self-sabotage during recovery, reach out to Hollywood Hills Recovery for help. 

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