You were given a new project at work. Hooray! Finally, your chance to prove yourself and show your team you’re capable of taking on new challenges.
You open a new spreadsheet, sip your coffee, tighten your scrunchie, and then… you remember Miley Cyrus released a new single last Friday. You gotta check that out before you begin.
An hour later, you’ve learned everything about the making of Midnight Sky, but nothing about your new work task.
Or this: you’re doing great on your healthy-eating plan. You’ve crushed it all week – skipped the sugar, ditched the junk, stayed within your macros and calorie goals. You’ve done so well that you decide you can take a few days off.
Three days later, you’re right back to where you started.
What is Self-Sabotage?
The situations above are both examples of self-sabotage – the seemingly innocuous distractions and vices that add up over time and can compromise all your hard work.
Sometimes, self-sabotage looks like procrastination. It can also take the form of apathy, disengagement, or indecision. It can also mean “stirring the pot” or picking an unnecessary fight with someone. More seriously, it can be alcohol or drug abuse.
Savvy Psychologist on Spotify
In Episode 138, “6 Reasons Why We Self-Sabotage,” Dr. Hendricksen gives examples of how we can become victims of our own bad habits – often unknowingly.
Also, more importantly, she explains the science behind why people do this.
The main reasons we shoot ourselves in the foot are fear of failure, cognitive dissonance (being used to failing and wanting to stay at the bottom where it’s comfy), low self-opinion, and sheer boredom.
I’m not a psychologist (and: disclaimer, this post is not a substitute for a mental health service), so I’ll defer to Dr. Hendriksen for more on that front. Listen to the episode for yourself (it’s only a few minutes long) to find out more.
Awareness is Key
One thing I can say, though, is an awareness of my tendency to self-sabotage has helped me become much more successful in all areas of life.
Over time, I’ve blocked out those nagging urges and honed the ability to accept and enjoy success – in the gym, at work, and in my relationships.
So the next time you’re spending too much time on a gossip column, taking an extended gym hiatus, or picking a fight with your spouse, ask yourself: is there a genuine need behind this behavior, or could this actually be self-sabotage?
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