I know what you thinking: “You must be kidding me if you said I’m sabotaging my own success. No, it’s not me… it’s the economy, my spouse, my parents, the system… everything is against me.”
I’m sorry to break the news to you… the tough news: it’s not your parents, your spouse, the economy or the system that is holding you back. It’s you… your mindset.
Having the right state of mind is a key factor to being successful in life. The way you think about success or failure can help you move ahead or keep you stagnant.
Many times our thoughts are what hold us back from succeeding at something. We second-guess ourselves. We have doubts. We have negative thoughts or opinions.
We tell ourselves that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, talented enough, or whatever fits the situation. This is all self-sabotaging behavior.
Self-sabotage is often an unconscious thought or behavior that is in direct conflict with our desire to succeed.
Here are some ways you sabotage your success and how you can turn them around:
1. Anticipating failure:
You may be accustomed to situations failing or not turning out as you hoped. Do you find yourself thinking you can’t win no matter how much you try?
You think you are not destined to find a good partner because all your previous relationships had ended in disaster.
You could be afraid to try something new because you don’t want to risk failing. Why start a new business, when the two previous ones you started ended up in bankruptcy?
But it’s important to remember that everyone has this fear of failure at some point on the journey to success. This is often just a fear of change.
Instead of thinking about the worst that can happen, why not turn it around? And think: what’s the best thing that can happen?
Don’t dwell on what could go wrong. Instead of thinking about the past failures of your businesses, think about the great things you can accomplish with your current business and the great heights you can reach with it.
2. Bad habits:
Unhealthy behaviors such as excessive drinking, uncontrolled anger, or overeating or procrastination can sabotage your success. I don’t think one can say much about this.
Identify your unhealthy habits that are preventing you from moving forward and work on changing them.
The good news is that any bad habit you have can be changed. You have to work on it with appropriate habit-changing techniques. Learn to the habits of success.
3. Internalized negative thoughts:
If you grew up with a parent who always saw the negative side of everything, worried about what could go wrong, or how they looked to others, you may have taken on a similar attitude without even knowing it.
Or you had a 3rd grade teacher who kept putting you down and telling you that you’re not smart enough. You bought it into it, i.e. internalized it, and began to tell yourself that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, or technically savvy enough.
You are simply sabotaging your success with such thinking.
Start getting rid of internalized negative thoughts by focusing on positive stories about yourself. Tell yourself you are good enough, you can learn whatever you need to know, and you are smart enough. You can do it.
Back those stories up with facts of “a time when” you proved you were good enough, smart enough, solved some problem, or overcame some hurdle, no matter how small that hurdle might be.
4. Giving up when things get tough:
This is a big one for many people, especially in the world of doing business. It’s so easy to start a blog but, when you don’t see success quickly, you give up.
It breaks my heart when I see young people work so hard to get into college, and just when they have two semesters left to graduate, they quit… drop out.
To overcome this sabotaging behavior, practice visualization techniques by which you picture and project your desired goal onto your subconscious.
Seeing that diploma, and how the good job and income that it brings will change your life and that of your family, can give you the hope and strength to keep going when things get tough.
Then set smart, bite-size, realistic goals that you can stick to, so that you don’t get overwhelmed.
5. Inability to say “no”
Your time is your most valuable asset. It’s non-renewable. Don’t be afraid to tell others you can’t do something or that you aren’t available at this time.
Being able to say no frees up your time for what is important to your success.
If you still have difficulty saying no, you should read James Altucher and Claudia Azula Altucher’s best-seller, The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance and Happiness.
After reading that book, you’ll learn how to give yourself permission to say no to anything that is hurting you, or standards that no longer serve you.
You can say no to people who drain you of your creativity and expression, whether they are family members, friends, or colleagues.
Or say no to beliefs that are not true to the real you.
When you do, you’ll be freed to say a powerful “Yes” to the things that lead to your success.
Counteracting self-sabotage takes practice, vigilance, and constant control over your thoughts and actions. If necessary, write down any self-sabotaging thoughts or behaviors when you become aware of doing them. Then work on changing them.