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Are You Self-Sabotaging?

by Dr. Kathleen Hall
Mindful Living Network, Mindful Living, Dr. Kathleen Hall, The Stress Institute,, MLN, Alter Your Life

As we all try to accomplish our life goals many of us will face obstacles, like lack of time or money. However, for most of us, the biggest hurdle that stands in our way is self-sabotage. If we don’t acknowledge our unhealthy habits and push forward with our life goals, we could become our own worse enemies.

We fail to reach our full potential with self-sabotaging habits. Most of these negative habits are things we do subconsciously. When we nitpick over little details instead of focusing on the larger picture it may be because subconsciously we’re afraid to fail. Or we may make harmful decisions deliberately. For instance, we may knowingly shy away from opportunities that may positively affect our career or postpone doing tasks that we know we should finish.

According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, there are five common ways in which people sabotage themselves. These self-sabotaging habits include brooding (obsessing) over every little thing, being afraid of feedback, denial, jealousy, and procrastination. The reasons behind our self-destructive behaviors vary. The underlying emotions that we most of us are hiding from include fear, self-doubt, pain, resentment, and anger.

Want to end your personal cycle of self-sabotage? Consider these four Mindful tips:

  1. Reflect. Ponder on all the things that you’re currently struggling with. It could be your job or your New Year’s resolutions. Determine if the reason you aren’t achieving your goals is because of your own self-destructive habits. Do you have negative inner monologues? Have you adopted negative coping mechanisms like ignoring unavoidable decisions? Be honest and own up to the self-destructive practices.
  2. Strategize. Once you realize how you’re hurting your own chances of success, you’ll need to come up with a plan for overcoming these destructive habits. Do you procrastinate too much? Consider creating lists to manage tasks or using time management techniques. Are feelings of jealously hurting your relationships? Take the time to appreciate your own accomplishments instead.
  3. Be kind to yourself. One of the common ways we commit self-sabotage is by being too hard on ourselves. Remind yourself every day that you’re going to make mistakes; it’s human nature and that’s okay. When you do make mistakes be willing to forgive yourself.
  4. Reward yourself. Accomplishments big or small should be rewarded. For instance, did reach your weight loss goal? Reward yourself with a small treat. Did you complete everything on your to-do list? Reward yourself with a little downtime. A small incentive can encourage you to keep achieving your goals.

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