10 Strategies To Stop Self-Sabotaging For Good

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woman self-sabotaging her life

There are many reasons why you unknowingly do self-sabotaging things.

If your world has become a minefield of negative self-talk, it’s most likely because your noisy inner critics are in the driver's seat.

You find yourself thinking:

  • "I’m not enough."
  • "I’m not worthy."
  • "I don’t deserve it."
  • "I shouldn’t..."
  • "I can't..."

These are sure indicators of self-sabotage, and this behavior may be effecting the most meaningful areas of your life — your love life, your relationships, your career, and your self-esteem.

RELATED: Why You Self-Sabotage Your Best Relationships — And How To Stop Doing It

Here are 10 strategies that stop self-sabotaging — for good.

1. Understand self-sabotage.

The saboteur is the inner critic and judge that causes self-doubt and creates noise in your mind. From the time you were young, your subconscious has been soaking up ideas and myths about success and failure.

As a result, you cognitively carry negative self-beliefs and self-talk around with you. They can begin as "innocent" comments someone said that get burrowed in your mind and become entangled in your identity.

Understanding and identifying what causes self-sabotaging behavior and the role saboteurs play in your life can open up your world to seeing life through a new lens.

Saboteurs create limiting self-beliefs and keep you stuck.

Since they are so familiar and often cloaked and sneaky, their voices can be mistaken for a tough-love voice of reason or a well-meaning family member, rather than the destructive character it actually is.

2. Name your inner judge.

Name your saboteur and become an observer extraordinaire — a.k.a., a neutral observer. Make sure it’s you and not your inner judge that's talking.

Everyone has inner judges. Their role was initially created to protect you and keep you safe between the ages of birth to around you late teens.

But when it doesn’t have a job to do, it gets bored and starts wreaking havoc on your life.

The self-justifying lie from the judge is that without it, you would turn into a lazy, unambitious, unmotivated sloth. It has a magical power to make you believe that its voice speaks in your best interest.

You judge is your private enemy number one that impacts your self-image, success, happiness, and overall inner peace.

Everyone has the judge, regardless of your upbringing, with these key roles:

  • Finds faults with yourself, others, and circumstances.
  • Causes disappointment, anger, regret, guilt, shame, and anxiety.
  • Badgers you for past mistakes or current shortcomings.
  • Exaggerates the negative and minimizes the positive.
  • Thinks, "What's wrong with me? What's wrong with you?"

The inner judge is the master saboteur and, with further discovery, will lead you to get to know the other characters that make up the more complete picture of self-sabotage.

These are the accomplice saboteurs, the other voices that stop you from being your best self.

3. Recognize self-sabotaging habits.

Once you start becoming aware of how your emotions trigger self-sabotage, you can start naming some of those habits and how they play into your life:

  • Procrastination — instead of tackling an important project and getting on it, you allow yourself to waste time, distract yourself, and leave the item to the last minute.
  • Negative self-talk and negative thinking — your inner dialogue is constantly critical.
  • Perfectionism.
  • Fearing intimacy and talking about your feelings.
  • Actively ruining your relationships, consciously or unconsciously.
  • Live in a world of low-self esteem.
  • Insecure in your relationships.
  • Abuse food, sex, and drugs to escape pain.
  • Get in your own way, even though you know what you're doing is problematic.

4. Notice your self-sabotaging triggers.

You have over 70,000 thoughts each day — 95 percent are repetitive. You tend to ignore most of them, but unfortunately, the judge happens to be very loud and somehow drowns out all many of the other positive voices.

Take a step back from your internal negative self-talk and notice your thoughts.

Often, your emotions precede your thoughts. Your body reacts first before the words and thoughts come to your mind. So, the first step is to notice and identify the feelings and emotions.

Noticing the triggers may start with noticing the emotion you're having. If sadness comes up with a stabbing feeling in your gut or a nauseous wave in your body, that could be a sign to pay attention as your inner judge or saboteur might be waking up.

You can trace your self-sabotaging trigger to how you're feeling. Once you identify that emotion, you can notice the thoughts that sparked that emotion.

Keeping a journal of each time that happens and the circumstance is a great starting place to notice the triggers.

Was it something someone said at work, something your child said, something your significant other said?

A great way to get started on this self-examination is to start bringing more conscious awareness to your thoughts.

5. Define your core values.

Take a deep look and understand who you are and what you stand for. If you’re struggling, chances are that you're not honoring your core values.

Getting clear on what’s most important to you in life — your core values — is the first step to self-confidence and leading an extraordinary life.

Values are standards or ideals that guide our actions and evaluate people, things, or situations. For example, one group of values might be beauty, honesty, and justice, while another group may be integrity, accountability, and diligence.

No two people have the same combo. Realizing your core values might differ from other people’s creates an awareness that, while we all have innate similarities, each one of us has different thoughts and perspectives.

Getting clear on our core values is like having a road map to get to where you're going and being able to recognize when your saboteur arises.

Having a clear purpose and living from your core values is the primary step to finding your voice. The clearer your purpose is, the stronger your voice is.

RELATED: ;12 Common Ways People Self-Sabotage Their Own Happiness

6. Find your voice.

Many people live their lives feeling invisible, unheard, and unseen. Some people are naturally able to let themselves be seen and heard. For others, it’s a much harder task.

To discover what you really want, in your relationships, career, and yourself, you have to find your voice. Your voice is your essence and it takes courage to allow yourself to be seen.

The wonderful outcome of having a clear voice is that not only are you empowered and feel so much more confident, you also attract, into your life, the resources and people that are aligned with your highest good.

The benefits of finding your voice include:

  • Feeling confident and worthy.
  • Understanding your inner critics and how they show up.
  • Deeply trusting in your potential.
  • Learning from failures.
  • Building resilience.
  • Creating personal and professional boundaries.
  • Cultivating mindful attention in all your activities.
  • Enhancing skills, solving problems, and gaining insight.
  • Tapping into your creativity and intuition.

7. Be authentically you.

Your inner judge will show up much louder when you're not being your authentic self.

When you're authentic, you can easily overcome the master judge, that feeling where you doubt your accomplishments and have a continuous fear of being exposed as a fraud.

If you believe you'll never be or know enough and fear being exposed as inexperienced or unknowledgeable, then you're suffering from imposter syndrome.

What does it mean to be authentic?

It's defined as "not false or copied; genuine; real." And, "representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified."

When you uncover your core values, find your voice, and live as your authentic self, you learn to break harmful patterns and begin to find more lasting fulfillment.

Being authentic helps you better understand your relationship with yourself. And in that process, you'll find more meaningful relationships, more satisfying work opportunities, be able to manage stress, and so much more.

8. De-activate triggers by reframing your thoughts.

To stop self-sabotage, you have to become the gatekeeper of the words, making sure it’s you and not your inner judge that's talking.

Training your mind starts with the words you choose. Your words mold and shape you, causing you to form your beliefs and from that, your actions arise.

If you want positive change, then you have to become a gatekeeper of the words you choose. Plant the best words with the best intentions and the best possible outcome in your thoughts every moment of the day.

This consciously creates your future.

Sounds easy, right? The truth is that it's this simple and hard all at the same time. Consider what you do when you want something but say, "I can't."

You're telling yourself and your subconscious that it's not possible.

Until you delve in and understand which negative inner critic is talking, the best technique to eliminate "I can’t," and say, "I can," is by thinking from a place of infinite possibilities and start talking about your dreams in the present tense.

This is consciously creating your future. This requires bravery, assertion, and clarity. To get what you want, you have to get clear about it, and then take the plunge.

Be brave, courageous, and try some creativity — make it playful.

9. Replace negative voices with positive ones.

Use a positive motivation versus a negative motivation to change your behavior. For example, "I want to find a relationship, so I can experience fun, companionship, and adventure."

If replacing negative thoughts with more powerful, positive ones elude you and taking on the role of neutral observer eludes you, this is the sign that you would benefit from a coach.

My mission is to help you untangle your inner saboteurs from your inner wisdom, and uncover the hindrances that keep you from fully awakening to your highest potential.

10. Take baby steps.

For most people, the biggest regret is that they didn’t make changes soon enough.

By learning how to let go of perfectionism, self-doubt, and fear, you can eliminate your limiting beliefs and destructive patterns that control you.

When you know your core values, you make informed choices and see opportunities that were previously hidden.

RELATED: 3 Subtle Ways You Self-Sabotage Your Own Life (And 9 Ways To Finally Put Yourself First)

Jacqueline Neuwirth is a Certified Life Coach, CPCC, and Master Neurolinguistic Programming Practitioner. She helps people find love, heal from toxic relationships, boost confidence, and improve relationships.