We can do weird shit to ourselves sometimes (or a lot of the time). As we go after the things that are important to us, we have a tendency to get in our own way and stop ourselves from getting what we want. This, my friend, is called self-sabotage.
Self-sabotage rears its fugly head in a bunch of different ways. Sometimes, you might be aware you’re doing it, but other times, it’s like something else has total control over how you’re acting and behaving.
Here are some obvious signs that you could be self-sabotaging, plus some suggestions on how you can nip that shit in the bud.
Procrastination: because why do the important shit when there’s a whole lot of unnecessary stuff to do instead?
When procrastination calls, it looks a bit like this:
- You know what you have to do, and you know that if you do it, you’ll feel bloody good about it. But your mind is saying, “I CBF DOING THIS.” And instead, it starts focusing on stuff that doesn’t matter or get you any closer to achieving what you actually want.
Knowing your procrastination go-to’s will help you to become aware when you’re smack bang in the middle of procrastination mode. Maybe it’s scrolling through your socials, watching tv or repotting the plants (again).
Just know that your procrastination ain’t getting you any closer to getting done what you set out to do – which is probably gonna make you feel guilty, overwhelmed and like you’re a shit human.
While it may feel productive in the moment, pushing your priorities back will only add to your stress in the long term, and that’s something you have complete control over.
If you’re a self-confessed procrastinator, start observing your behaviour and ask yourself where you really want your focus to be. And is that on your fave celeb’s Instagram profile? Or is it on your new kickass creative project?
Captain obvious, right?
Let’s be honest: speaking critically of and to yourself is something we’ve all done. But just know that when your inner critic is being kind of an asshole, you don’t have to listen to it.
You know that Native American proverb about how the wolf you feed is the one that rules you? Well, that’s your inner critic in a nutshell. Feed those negative thoughts and drench them with attention, and they will rule you.
Managing your attention-seeking inner voice isn’t about shutting it down and drowning it out. The negative nancy inside of you is there for a reason, and she’s just as much a part of you as your kinder, more supportive self.
If you want both versions of you (the kind and the critical) to get along, then you’ll need to accept them just as they are – and give love and attention to the one that matters most.
Adopting unhealthy habits to deal with stress
As much as we hate to admit it, we’re all only human. Making mistakes and shit choices is just a part of the deal. We all have our less than productive go-to’s, and during times of stress, these vices tend to take the reigns.
A self-sabotaging habit is something that brings us comfort when we’re feeling overwhelmed or afraid. We tend to like them because they’re familiar, like a cuddly block of chocolate or a friendly glass of vino.
Unhealthy habits are different for everyone, but common ones include:
- Taking drugs (prescription, medicinal or illegal)
- Drinking a lot of alcohol
- Comfort eating like there’s no tomorrow
- Being a couch potato
- Watching TV all-day
- Absorbing too much negative news
- Spending hours scrolling through social media
- Exercising excessively
- Taking your frustrations out on the people around you
Try becoming aware of your unhealthy habit next time it takes over. Getting a hold of it may take some time, but if it helps to stop you from dragging yourself or others down, then it’ll be the best damn thing you ever did.
Saying no to new opportunities
How many of you have turned down new opportunities out of fear? Taking the leap – especially without a safety net – is scary. Trust me, I know.
It’s a lot easier to stay in an unhappy job, home, relationship etc than it is to risk getting the hell out of your comfort zone and doing something exciting, crazy and totally fucking life-changing.
Following your dreams means saying yes to new opportunities, even when they scare you. Sure, fear alerts you to danger, and yes, sometimes you should listen to it (use your best judgement).
But sometimes, fear is simply holding you back from the mind-blowing experiences that could change your life.
Stop self-sabotaging and start living!
Self-sabotage can impact us at any time, and I am no exception. Whenever my sabotaging self appears, I notice her arrival and start looking at my behaviour.
Like, do I need to wipe the kitchen bench down for the fifth time in the last 30 minutes?? Ahhh, no. Is recording the next real, raw, relatable podcast where my energy and focus needs to be? Yes! So that’s where my attention will go next to stop the self-sabotage from playing out.
By cutting out self-sabotagey behaviour, we can all work towards living a more positive and fulfilling life.