How to Overcome Self-sabotage

Welcome to our article on how to overcome self-sabotage. How to overcome self-sabotage image

Many people’s unhappiness is due to the fact that they are not where they want to be in their lives and this moment in time.  It is said that 99% of the population are not actually where they want to be.

Self-sabotage is one of the biggest reasons that people do not achieve their goals and aspirations.  Self-sabotage is this bizarre ‘demon’ that lives inside many of us. It sits there waiting and just as we are about to become successful it strikes (in any area of our lives : career, finances, relationships etc.)

Darryl Cross – Self Sabotage

But why would we destroy our own success ?

This is a strange situation. We might outwardly desire lots of things.  We may even go as far as setting a series of goals in order to attain success.  But inwardly our demon is pulling us away from – or blocking completely – success.

How do I know if I’m self-sabotaging?

An easy way to spot the demon is when you have a real desire to do something BUT you have this inner feeling telling you that you can’t do it or maybe that you shouldn’t be doing it.

Another strong sign of self-sabotage is procrastination (i.e. putting things off for no apparent reason).

Some real life examples of self-sabotage

Either consciously or unconsciously what has happened to us in the past can play a major role in why people self-sabotage.

Weight loss

Now you might really have a desire to lose weight and know that you should be going to the gym.  However, just as you are about to go to the gym you start looking for an excuse not to go, even though these excuses have no merit.

Maybe you lost weight previously, but then put the weight back on again; and the frustration of all the previous effort ‘going to waste’ has ‘stuck’ deep inside of your mind ?  This is self-sabotage sapping your motivation and that effectively creates an internal ‘tug of war’.


Many people are discontent in their current job and know they should ‘move on’. However, something deep down inside of them stops them from completing their CV and applying for other roles.

Maybe they have applied hundreds of times before and just not got anywhere, or have had a few job interviews that did not go well ?  These are reasons that people self-sabotage future job opportunities (i.e. by not bothering to apply, or missing the cut-off date), no matter how appropriate for the role they might be.


It is VERY common for people to self-sabotage a relationship that is going really well.

Why would they do that ?

Well, if someone had a relationship in the past that ended at a certain point, for example after 2-years (but it could be at any time). Then no doubt they would have been emotionally affected by the breakdown of the relationship. It can be a very painful experience.

Then, when they get into a new relationship and the relationship reaches that same ‘2-year barrier’ they unconsciously destroy the relationship before it gets to that point. Very often, they don’t even know that they are doing it.


The subconscious mind is there to protect us. It remembers the pain from the previous failed relationship and so this act of self-sabotage is (strangely) designed to ‘protect’ us from the emotional pain that ‘they think’ is about to hit them. By self-sabotaging (whatever form it takes), at least they feel in control of the break-up or there is ‘justification in their minds’ for the relationship ending.

So what is really happening with self-sabotage ?

The #1 reason we self-sabotage is due to fear. Things going wrong image

Outwardly, and on a conscious level, we might not want to admit to fear.  We might not even feel that we are fearful.  However, our subconscious mind is designed to keep us safe and it will do whatever’s necessary to keep us from fear and pain – both physical and emotional.

Please do not brush this off as nonsense. Our subconscious mind is very powerful and most of the time we are totally unaware of how our actions, or even lack of action, is affecting our lives.  We just see the result of these actions/lack of action and frequently blame it on ‘good luck’ or ‘bad luck’.

Of course, we are actually creating the circumstances for good luck and the circumstances for bad luck through our subconscious self-sabotage.

Conscious awareness

The good news is we can overcome our self-sabotaging acts.  However, we must recognize and acknowledge that it is happening in the first place.  It is crucial that we become ‘consciously aware’ of our own thoughts, emotions, and actions.

Being aware of self-sabotaging acts is actually a good thing. It is the #1 thing that needs to happen in order for you to do something about it. From this ‘conscious awareness’ we can get in touch with our emotions and fears. Then we can begin to understand how to influence our actions (or lack of action). Finally, we can take the necessary steps to prevent the self-sabotage from happening again.

During this process of self-awareness you may feel feelings of frustration, desperation, sadness, discouragement, and even anger. Self-sabotage can trap you and you will desperately want to change the situation. It might also crush your self-esteem because you’re feeling ‘out of control’ and that your ‘internal dialogue’ is actually working against you. Unfortunately, none of these feelings will actually help you. However, by just being aware of the situation you have taken a massive step forward.

If you are struggling to attain a certain goal and, no matter what it is you are trying, you just seem to be hitting brick walls, take time to look at the setbacks and rationally evaluate what is going on.

  • Have these setbacks been as a result of poor decision-making on your part ?
  • If so, has the poor decision-making been through lack of knowledge or experience ?
  • Or has there been indecision and errors ?
  • Have there been a high number of obstacles on any particular path ?

If you have said yes to any of the above, then there is a higher probability that you have self-sabotaged.

So what can you do to overcome self-sabotage ?

Ask the right questions Destroying own success image

To start off with, you need to get in touch with your subconscious mind.  To do this, you really need to take time in quiet reflection. Meditation can help. However, if meditation is not your thing then simply ask yourself the right questions.

In a calm state of mind, ask yourself the following questions before you go to sleep at night and trust that you will be given the answers when the time is right. Don’t struggle or search for the answers (that will just keep you awake all night !!). They will come…. when the time is right.

  • What am I afraid of with respect to [the problem/goal/situation] ?
  • What is it I fear about [the problem/goal/situation] ?
  • Are there any uncertainties that I have about [the problem/goal/situation] ?
  • What is it about [the problem/goal/situation] in my life that’s making me feel uncomfortable ?
  • Are there any rational reasons why I should be holding myself back in [the problem/goal/situation] area of my life ?

You might not get all the answers from your subconscious mind at once.  Therefore keep a journal, or a simple book, where you can note down the answers as and when they are given to you.  You may find that they actually are presented to you at strange, or inappropriate, times. Whenever you get the answers, however simple, do not just dismiss or ignore them as they could be the key to your future.

On a more conscious level, take time to write down the occasions when you feel you have self-sabotaged in the past.  Do not judge yourself or beat yourself up whilst doing this, just get the information out of your head and write it down. Make a point of using this information to help you avoid similar self-sabotaging situations in the future.

Sometimes you might not get the answers at all. This is where you are so ‘stuck’ – and you are sabotaging yourself so much – that you even hide the problem from yourself.

That’s okay, we can overcome this………..


This is where you relax and totally forget about the problem. In fact, don’t focus on it at all. Instead, imagine yourself having already achieved the desired outcome. Visualize the future image

  • What do you see when you’ve achieved the outcome ?
  • What do you hear ?
  • Where are you when the achievement is accomplished ?
  • Who are you talking to ?
  • What are you feeling inside when you’ve achieved it ?

Imagine yourself :

  • Winning
  • Smiling
  • Feeling really great about what you’ve achieved

And imagine yourself achieving the outcome with :

  • No pain
  • No suffering
  • No stress

In fact, the outcome is achieved really smoothly.

Go there right now. Don’t just read these words, take action. NOW. Even if you only do this for a few minutes, you will be closer to defeating those self-sabotaging monsters that are inside of you.

By doing this you will re-write the neuro-pathways of your mind with the imprint of positive outcomes…. Then you won’t fear to tread there in real life.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

Sometimes visualizing just won’t cut through problems that are rooted deeper inside of us. EFT, or tapping, is a very powerful way of releasing ’emotional blockages’ and problems which are likely to cause us to self-sabotage. We discuss EFT in greater detail in other areas of this site.

Briefly, however, it involves :

  • tapping on the karate chop point of our hand whilst vocalizing the problem
  • tapping on the meridian points of our body whilst vocalizing the potential reasons for our self-sabotage
  • adding in positive affirmations to override any negative neuro-patterns, as we continue to tap on our meridian points

The video below provides a brief example with respect to overcoming our self-sabotage with weight loss.

Even if weight loss is not your issue, it’s worth tapping along with the video, replacing “weight loss” for whatever your issue might be “finding the perfect partner”, or “securing the right job”.

EFT for Self-Sabotage

If it’s your first exposure to EFT, then you might just want to watch the video to start off with, to get an idea of how the system works (keep a look out for our EFT tab at the top of the page, where we will have a lot more articles on this excellent technique in the coming months).


Once you finally understand that you can take control of your success, you will be freed from all potential limitations. Insight and clarity about the outcomes you want to create, plus the awareness for potential setbacks, can help stop self-sabotage. Your focus and energy will then be directed towards positive goals that will support you, as opposed to focus and energy being directed towards frustration and overwhelm.

We hope that you found this article on How to Overcome Self-Sabotage helpful. Please feel free to comment on your experiences; and share this article using the social media links below.

Image Credits: Success Arrow(renjith krishnan) / Stressed Businessman(By imagerymajestic) / Figure Sitting With Question Mark(Master isolated images) / Woman Smiling(Stuart Miles) all at

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