Recognizing that you are self-sabotaging is the first step towards overcoming it. The next step is learning what you can do to help. It can be difficult, but with the right attitude, advice, and support of the people around you, it can be done. It will be worth it as it will lead to greater confidence and success in your career as well as in your personal life.
Learn how you self-sabotage
There are various kinds of self-sabotage. Some people procrastinate, some overpromise, and others deliberately avoid work that would help them in the future. If you think you are self-sabotaging, try to identify how you are doing it.
This calls for some serious self-reflection. At an appropriate time, perhaps when you have finished a big project or before you go on vacation, look back at how you have gone about your work and see if there is a behavior pattern that makes it difficult for you to achieve your goals. Not every instance you may identify is a sure sign of self-sabotage, but a pattern could tip you off.
Identify what sets you off
Just as not all self-sabotage is the same, not all self-saboteurs purposefully hold themselves back all the time. There are certain triggers that shift a person into active, harmful behavior. Learn what sets you off.
Anger at a missed promotion or a perceived slight by a co-worker might make you take vindictive, self-harming action. Anxiety over job performance, for instance, might become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Feelings of worthlessness or lack of ability and fear about the future are also prime suspects.
You have to learn how to manage your emotions. You cannot indulge in bad behavior just to make you feel better. You have to manage your emotions objectively. By learning what sets you off and by managing your reaction to something that sets you off, you can control self-sabotaging behavior.
Articulate your goals
A sense of frustration and boredom can lead to self-sabotage. Looking at what’s behind those emotions and feelings can help you mitigate actions that could be self-defeating. They might exist because you are pursuing the wrong goals without realizing them. By clearly stating what you want out of life (a different career, living elsewhere, or having a family for example) you can start working toward that goal. It could just be that your energy is directed at something you do not actually want, so your subconscious finds a way of not achieving it.
Develop new behaviors
Forming new habits can help you get through bad times. You need to take time out of your workday to focus on yourself for a few minutes and to evaluate your emotional state. Set an alarm and go for a walk. If your self-sabotage is in reaction to people in your workplace, it might be useful to get there early (or stay late) so that you can manage your tasks without their interaction or distraction. Identifying what will help you and ways to reinforce that will ultimately lead you to avoid self-sabotage.
You do not need another barrier in the way of achieving your goals – especially when that barrier is something you have caused. By changing your behavior, you can stop sabotaging your success.