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Identify & Stop Patterns of Self-Sabotage

Self-sabotage can be a sneaky and destructive habit that undermines our goals and success. We all have moments of self-doubt and setbacks, but when we consistently engage in self-defeating behaviors, it can lead to negative feelings and outcomes. To help identify patterns of self-sabotage and stop this behavior, here are six tips:

Observe Your Thoughts and Behaviors

Pay attention to the patterns of thoughts and behaviors that hinder your progress. Notice what you're doing when you engage in self-sabotage and the feelings and thoughts that precede them. Once you recognize these patterns, you can work on implementing strategies to combat them.

Get Support

Talking to someone about self-sabotage can provide perspective, insight, and accountability. It is important to reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist who can help you identify these patterns of self-sabotage. In times of need, never hesitate to ask for help.

Set Realistic Goals

Often, self-sabotage can occur when we attempt to tackle goals that are too lofty or unrealistic. Instead, start with a small achievable goal. Starting with small goals will build your confidence and help you take the necessary steps to achieve your long-term goals.

Address Underlying Beliefs

Self-sabotage can stem from underlying negative core beliefs ingrained in the conscious or unconscious mind. Examine negative beliefs you may hold about yourself that could be contributing to self-sabotage. Don't believe things like “I'll never be good enough” or “I can't do anything right.” Instead, try to modify these beliefs to reflect a more positive outlook on your abilities.

Practice Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is essential when dealing with self-sabotage. Be kind and patient with yourself, and don't beat yourself up over setbacks or mistakes. Instead, focus on what you can learn and how you can move forward. Remember, every setback is an opportunity for growth.

Create an Action Plan

Develop an action plan, outlining steps you can take when you start to engage in self-sabotage behaviors. This could include activities that make you happy, such as going for a walk, journaling, or talking to a supportive friend. Remember to set aside some time every day to practice self-care. Taking care of yourself is the best way to prevent self-sabotage.

By following these six simple tips, you can identify patterns of self-sabotage and stop them in their tracks. Remember, self-sabotage is a process, but with time and effort, you can make meaningful changes that positively impact your life.

If you'd like some support breaking these patterns, an experienced therapist can help! Click the link below to schedule a free consultation


  • Ragonese, C. E., & Evans, D. R. (2019). Self-Sabotage: Strategies for Nurses to Increase Self-Care and Well-Being. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 9(4), 15-22. Read more

  • Rauch, R. (2020). How to Stop Self-Sabotaging Your Success. Psychology Today. Read more

  • Neff, K. D. (2020). The Power of Self-Compassion. Read more

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