Coaching and NLP l Confidence l Motivation“Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen”

The human mind is irrational, which adds to the spice of life. But sometimes its irrationality crosses the line into perversion. We make self-destructive decisions when really we know better, and end up feeling unhappy and like a failure.

We don’t consciously set out to sabotage ourselves, but we do. Afterwards, we are left with the question: Why did I do that?!

Many of our emotional drivers remain unconscious, which is why often use conscious justification to explain why we had to:

• Quit our job just as our boss was about to promote us
• Binge eat just as we approach our weight loss goal
• End a perfectly good relationship as it’s about to move onto the next stage

On a gut level, that is unconsciously, we equate familiarity with safety and well-being, even though it may result in the opposite. So, how can we stop sabotaging our own happiness and life goals?


Instead of justifying why you did or didn’t do this or that, simply become more conscious and aware of yourself. This visualization exercise will help: imagine watching yourself go through your daily routine, from the moment you wake up in the morning to when you go to bed at night. See what you see, hear what you hear and allow yourself to feel what it feels like to watch yourself like this. Notice any thoughts and behaviors that resulted in self-sabotage in a particular area. Now ask yourself: what would be a more useful thing to do in that situation?

In doing this you will become more objective and resourceful.


An all or nothing attitude has been proven to cause more failure than success. The world is not in black and white, and success isn’t either, there are lots of very desirable shades of grey. So when you imagine yourself succeeding, it’s important you take all these shades into account. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, are you going to let a number on the scales dictate your success, when in fact the most important things for you could be to feel lighter and more energized, fit into certain clothes, be physically and mentally stronger, look tighter in all the right places, get compliments from people… don’t get stuck in one sad shade, when there are at least 50 exciting ones to enjoy!


Perfectionism is a happiness killer. If it isn’t perfect, then what’s the point? Recent research shows that people trying to lose weight will more likely overeat if they feel like they have fallen off the wagon even slightly. Then they feel even worse for having binged, which makes it even harder to get back on the proverbial wagon. The truth is that the sooner you get back on track the sooner you will continue to get results. So, if you have a little setback consciously stop yourself from throwing it all away and think about what you can do next so that you feel good again.


Most of us would say we are not selfish, but the truth is that often self-sabotage ruins things for other people too, and is therefore, whether intended or not, selfish behavior. The lover who cheats and sabotages a relationship hurts another person, and the “dieter” who constantly sabotages their weight loss efforts could be affecting their family’s health, and trust too, in the process. So it’s worth getting into the habit of thinking about how our actions impact those around us rather than just give into our own selfish emotional impulses.


Imagine if Cinderella had decided she really couldn’t go to the ball, even when she had the opportunity, or if the ugly duckling had concluded it wasn’t good enough to fly with the swans… Setting yourself free means you unchain yourself from past experiences not worth holding on to, and you allow yourself to be more open and explore life more, to take every experience as a chance to stack up on more health and happiness, as opposed to something you feel obliged to go through.Conditioning or postponing your happiness is like building a prison cell around yourself, and Mandela would be mad if you did that!

Overriding our unconscious urges towards the familiar means becoming more conscious, using our brain for a change, and approaching life with a more useful attitude.

Like this article? Let me know by making a comment below!

Anna x

Speak Your Mind