How to Stop Self-Sabotaging: 5 Steps to Change Your Behavior

Aura Health Team
Written by
Aura Health Team
Aura Health is a community of hundreds of top coaches, therapists, and storytellers worldwide. We are here to provide the world’s most extensive, personalized collection of mental wellness content & services.
Aura Health Team
Written by
Aura Health Team
Aura Health is a community of hundreds of top coaches, therapists, and storytellers worldwide. We are here to provide the world’s most extensive, personalized collection of mental wellness content & services.
How to Stop Self-Sabotaging: 5 Steps to Change Your BehaviorHow to Stop Self-Sabotaging: 5 Steps to Change Your Behavior

Self-sabotaging behavior can be a frustrating and detrimental cycle to break. Whether it's constantly procrastinating, making poor decisions, or sabotaging relationships, it can feel like we're our own worst enemy. But fear not! In this article, we will explore the concept of self-sabotage, its causes, and most importantly, provide you with five practical steps to help you change your behavior and put an end to self-sabotaging tendencies.

What is self-sabotage?

Self-sabotage refers to the unconscious behaviors and thought patterns that undermine our own long-term goals and success. It's like shooting yourself in the foot, even though you know it's going to hurt. It can manifest in various areas of our lives, including work, relationships, health, and personal development.

When it comes to work, self-sabotage can take the form of procrastination, perfectionism, or fear of failure. You may find yourself constantly putting off important tasks, waiting until the last minute to complete them, or never feeling satisfied with your work because it's not "perfect." These behaviors can hold you back from reaching your full potential and achieving your career goals.

In relationships, self-sabotage can show up as a fear of intimacy or a tendency to push people away. You may find yourself sabotaging potentially healthy and fulfilling relationships because of past hurts or a fear of vulnerability. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction in your personal life.

Self-sabotage can also impact your health. It can manifest as unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise, or neglecting self-care. You may find yourself engaging in self-destructive behaviors, such as overeating, smoking, or excessive drinking, despite knowing the negative consequences they have on your well-being.

When it comes to personal development, self-sabotage can be seen in the form of self-doubt and negative self-talk. You may constantly criticize yourself, doubt your abilities, or believe that you're not worthy of success. These self-limiting beliefs can prevent you from taking risks, trying new things, and reaching your full potential.

By understanding what self-sabotage is and how it affects you, you can take the necessary steps to break free from these self-defeating patterns and create a life that is aligned with your goals and values.

What causes self-sabotaging behavior?

There isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to this question as self-sabotage can stem from a multitude of factors. It might be rooted in fear of failure, fear of success, low self-esteem, or even deeply ingrained belief systems that limit our potential. Understanding the underlying causes of our self-sabotage can help us address them effectively and create lasting change.

Identifying self-sabotage

Identifying self-sabotaging behaviors can be challenging, as they often operate beneath our conscious awareness. However, there are certain red flags that can indicate self-sabotage. These include patterns of procrastination, negative self-talk, self-destructive habits, self-doubt, and consistent failure to achieve desired outcomes. Reflect on your own behaviors and thought patterns to uncover any self-sabotaging tendencies.

Symptoms of self-sabotage

Self-sabotage can have a profound impact on our emotional well-being and overall satisfaction in life. Common symptoms of self-sabotage include feelings of frustration, disappointment, helplessness, and even self-loathing. By recognizing these symptoms, you can start taking proactive steps towards change.

The psychological impact of self-sabotage

The psychological impact of self-sabotage can be far-reaching. It can reinforce negative beliefs about ourselves, decrease self-confidence, and reinforce a cycle of self-defeat. Recognizing the psychological toll that self-sabotage takes on us is crucial for initiating positive change.

How to stop sabotaging yourself

Now, let's dive into the five practical steps you can take to stop self-sabotaging and start creating positive change in your life:

  1. Raise self-awareness: The first step to changing any behavior is becoming aware of it. Pay attention to your thoughts, emotions, and actions, especially when you find yourself engaging in self-sabotaging behavior. Acknowledge and identify the underlying triggers.
  2. Challenge negative beliefs: Negative beliefs about ourselves can fuel self-sabotaging behavior. Challenge these beliefs by examining the evidence that supports them and finding alternative, positive perspectives. Replace self-critical thoughts with empowering affirmations.
  3. Set realistic goals: Break down your larger goals into smaller, achievable steps. Setting realistic and attainable goals helps build momentum and decreases the likelihood of self-sabotage. Celebrate each small victory along the way.
  4. Cultivate self-compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Accept that setbacks and mistakes are a natural part of the learning process. Practice self-compassion in moments of failure or disappointment, and remember to be forgiving towards yourself.
  5. Seek support: Don't be afraid to reach out for support. Share your goals and challenges with a trusted friend, mentor, or therapist. Having someone who understands your journey and can provide guidance and accountability can be invaluable in overcoming self-sabotage.

By following these steps and implementing them into your daily life, you can begin to break free from self-sabotaging patterns and create positive change that aligns with your long-term goals.

Remember, change takes time and effort, but with commitment and self-compassion, you can overcome self-sabotage and live a more fulfilling life.

How to stop self-sabotaging at work

Self-sabotaging behaviors can be particularly detrimental in the workplace, affecting our professional growth and success. Here are some additional tips specifically tailored to help you stop self-sabotaging at work:

  • Develop a growth mindset: Embrace challenges and view them as opportunities for learning and growth. Adopting a growth mindset can help you overcome self-doubt and fear of failure, allowing you to take necessary risks and reach your full potential.
  • Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Overworking and neglecting self-care can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. Prioritize self-care activities and allow yourself time to recharge outside of work.
  • Ask for feedback: Seek feedback from supervisors and colleagues. Constructive feedback can provide valuable insights into areas of improvement and help you make necessary adjustments to your work habits or skillset.
  • Break tasks into manageable chunks: Large projects can be overwhelming and may trigger self-sabotaging behaviors. Break tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks, and tackle them one at a time. This will increase your sense of accomplishment and motivation.

By implementing these strategies, you can create a more positive and productive work environment and achieve greater success in your career.

How to stop self-sabotaging relationships

Self-sabotage can also negatively impact our relationships, both romantic and platonic. Here are some strategies to help you stop self-sabotaging in your relationships:

  • Practice effective communication: Open and honest communication is essential for healthy relationships. Express your thoughts, needs, and concerns in a clear and respectful manner. Avoid falling into patterns of passive-aggressive behavior or self-sabotaging communication styles.
  • Challenge relationship fears and insecurities: Reflect on any fears or insecurities that may be sabotaging your relationships. Seek to understand their root causes and work on building self-esteem and trust in yourself and others.
  • Set boundaries: Establish healthy emotional and physical boundaries in your relationships. Boundaries help maintain a sense of self and protect your well-being. Communicate your boundaries clearly and respectfully to your partner or friends.
  • Practice self-care: Prioritize self-care activities to nurture your emotional well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy, relaxation, and fulfillment. Taking care of yourself allows you to show up as your best self in relationships.

Remember that healthy relationships require effort and self-awareness. By implementing these strategies, you can foster more fulfilling and mutually supportive connections.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, self-sabotaging behaviors can be challenging to overcome, but with the right tools and mindset, positive change is possible. By understanding the root causes of our self-sabotage and following the five practical steps outlined in this article, you can break free from self-limiting patterns and embrace a more fulfilling and successful life.

On your journey to overcoming self-sabotage, consider utilizing the Aura Health App, a valuable resource that offers guided meditations, tools for self-reflection, and support in cultivating healthy habits. By incorporating these practices into your daily routine, you can further enhance your self-awareness and create positive change in your life.

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October 23, 2023
Mental Health
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