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4 Ways to Stop Self-Sabotage

Okay, y’all. Today we have to talk about how to stop self-sabotage.


It’s actually kind of funny that I am writing this post right now because I just had a very long conversation with my personal behavior coach about the ways that I was sabotaging some of my own behavior changes.


If you’ve tried self-help techniques and they haven’t worked…that could be because they weren’t as evidence-based as you needed them to be. So today I will talk about 4 evidence-based techniques and tactics to identify and stop self-sabotage before it derails your goals.

1. Stop Self-Sabotage by Identifying Your Upper Limit


Let’s get started. I’m going to do a little drawing for you.


I want you to think about your behavior as a thermometer. Now, this is important because when you start to adjust your thermometer, your brain doesn’t like that, and it starts to rebel.


It’s easy to think about this in the realm of money. Let’s say that the max that you’ve ever had in your bank account is $5,000 and the lowest is -$250. This is the range that your brain is used to dealing with. This is the thermometer for that particular aspect of your life.


When you get close to having $5,000 in your bank account, you might start spending money like crazy. You might be doing this completely subconsciously, but that’s why this tip has to do with awareness and identifying what your upper limit is.



So let’s use another example. Let’s say that you are working out and you always self-sabotage and stop working out. How long were you able to work out before you started self-sabotaging? What is your upper limit? What is the top of your thermometer?


By identifying the limit of your comfort,

you’ll know when it’s approaching and

you can start keeping an eye out for self-sabotage.



2. Stop Self-Sabotage by Identifying Your Warning Signs

Let’s say you know that your upper limit is that $5,000 you have in your bank account. How are you going to know when you’re close to getting there? In some cases, that might be when your bank account hits $4,000, or maybe it’s when you work out so many days in a row.


What I want you to think about is the first thing you normally start doing or saying to yourself when self-sabotaging. Maybe you say, This one purchase doesn’t matter. Or, It’s going so well, I can let this one day slide.


Think about your red alert signs and write them down
so that you’re better able to identify and anticipate them.

3. Stop Self-Sabotage by Identifying the Danger

There are many things that our brain considers to be dangerous about getting to a goal. Those same things might even feel positive or empowering at first. One reason we self-sabotage is that our brain thinks it is protecting us from danger.



Let’s say, for example, that you want to lose weight. What is potentially dangerous about successfully losing that weight? Maybe you think people will pay more attention to you. It could be you think some of your friends will have negative opinions about that changed body. Maybe you think that something will go wrong and you’ll disappoint yourself and gain the weight back.


Identify what’s dangerous so you can get it out

in the open and be aware of what you’re afraid of.


Finally, you’ll notice that most of these tips focus on mindfulness and awareness, and that’s intentional on my part. When it comes to self-sabotage, it’s not necessarily about doing something differently or taking a different approach. It’s about being aware and conscious of what’s going on so that when self-sabotage starts to happen, you can pivot.

4. Practice Mindfulness.

One tool that can help make that mental pivot is mindfulness. Mindfulness isn’t just about sitting on your bed every day in a meditation zone, breathing deeply in and out. Fundamentally, mindfulness is about acknowledging what’s going on in your mind and body and having a heightened sense of awareness. That might look like becoming more aware of your emotions or letting your thoughts pass by without judgment.


If you start thinking, I can’t do this, I’m going to self-sabotage and avoid disappointment, a meditation practice is a great way to reduce those thoughts. Even just setting aside moments throughout the day to pause and check in with your thoughts can stop self-sabotage.


Mindfulness is about acknowledging

what’s going on in your mind and body.


If your goal seems unmanageable, you could be self-sabotaging because your brain thinks it’s too big and scary to deal with. If you haven’t read my post or watched my video on how to break down your goal into actionable steps, that is where I would go next.


And by the way, self-sabotage is something that I deal with too. If you want to see more of my day-to-day life, be sure to follow me on Instagram. I post tons of stories to show what it looks like to pursue, resist, struggle, and still achieve your goals.

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Hi, I'm Karin

I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.


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