7 Bad Signs You're A Chronic Self-Sabotager

Shooting yourself in the foot — sabotage — can be extremely common, yet it’s difficult to spot.

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After sex, the female praying mantis decapitates the male praying mantis.

Knowing full well what might happen to him, the male still engages in this dangerous love affair. It’s quite funny, and perhaps why it’s my favorite example of self-sabotage.

Of course, human self-sabotage is not as deadly as in the case of a male praying mantis. But at the same time, human self-sabotage is quite subtle — and hence, difficult to spot.


Here are 7 bad signs you're a chronic self-sabotager:

1. You’re looking for the “secret”

A friend recently asked me, “You’ve lost quite some weight in the last few months. What’s your secret?” “Well,” I said, “I have no secret. I just try to eat clean and workout consistently.”


“Aw come on! You can tell me.” “Alright,” I said, “I’ll tell you. Here’s what you should do. Every morning, take some lemon, and squeeze it into a glass of warm water.” His ears popped up as a dog’s ears do. “And then, pour it into a plant of your choice. The Gods will be happy and melt your fat right off.”

I don’t know why people do this. They look for this “secret” solution to their problems. When in reality, the truth is, that there are no secrets. Looking for secrets is just a way to avoid responsibility.

  • That friend of yours is ripped because he eats clean and works out like a freak.
  • Your colleague wins promotions because he works hard and is eager to learn.
  • You feel like sh*t all day because you eat fried food and sleep no more than 5 hours.

Stop looking for secrets. You already know what the solution to your problems is. Take responsibility. And just do it.

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2. You’re a magpie attracted to shiny objects

Many people I know have shiny object syndrome. They take up new hobbies or careers, and are super excited to learn something new — and this translates to the initial results they get.

However, this doesn't last that long. The minute even the slightest bit of mundanity sets it, they call it quits. They need a new shiny object. And like a broken record, the story repeats itself.

Such people fail to go deep enough into anything they do. And that’s why they don’t get great at anything. They claim that they haven’t found their “passion” or that what they're trying is “boring”. However, the truth is obvious. They just don’t stick to anything long enough for it to matter.

3. You have on-off relationships that are mostly off

I have a friend. He’s found his calling; his career soulmate. However, he’s unable to commit to it. What a pity. All he has right now is an on-again-off-again relationship — that is mostly off. A few nights of passion. That’s it. A few nights of passion always die a premature death.


This could be you. Deep down, you know what you’re supposed to do with your life. But you’re unable to put in the work. And this is what I want you to realize: most people cannot figure out what they want to do with their lives. If you’re able to do so, you’re incredibly lucky. Please recognize that. Start putting in the work.

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4. You ignore pain points in your life

I have another friend in my college. He grew up in a small town in India, and cannot speak English fluently. And this is the thorn in his side. He’s insecure because of it, and largely unsatisfied with his life.

Don’t get me wrong though. He’s not lazy.


He works out every day — and has a nice physique. Studies like a maniac. And is a truly great person. But all of this still doesn’t help him as much as it should. Why? Because he’s not working on his pain point.

When we talked, I told him he’d be happier and better off if he practiced English only for 30 minutes a day, and jerked off the rest of the day. He can afford to put fitness and studies on hold for a few months — but he cannot keep ignoring his main issue in life for even a day. Was I wrong with the advice? I don’t think I was.

People spend their lives being productive the way the world tells them to be. However, they fail to realize what they actually need to work on. In fact, everything else productive becomes a distraction from what they really should be doing. If this is you, stop.

Figure out your pain point. Accept it. Put other things on hold, and start working on what truly matters.


5. You’re a human, not an ostrich

Why do some people act like ostriches? Do they think that if they bury their heads in the ground, their enemies (problems) would just disappear?

  • My mother refuses — adamantly — to get a mammogram, even after her elder sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • My friend’s brother refuses to step on the weighing scale — as if that will melt the fat off.

Your issues will only get bigger if you refuse to see them. Please. Stop with this self-sabotage. Enough with the ignorance. Choose awareness. Because only when you’re aware can you take action.

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6. You don't understand that the world is interdependent

Everyone thinks that they’re pretty good actors or liars. But the truth is, people can smell your bullshit from seventeen miles away.


Selfish people try to hide their selfishness. And they think they do a good job at it. However, they fail to realize that they cannot hide who they truly are.

And of course, selfishness makes sense in the short term. However, in the long term, it’s pure sabotage. Because you cannot be truly independent in this interdependent world. Sooner or later, you’re going to need someone.

Hence, if you’re selfish — accept it. And for your own selfish reasons, learn to be a bit more selfless.


7. You're a broken record

It actually pisses me off how many times I keep repeating the same mistakes like a broken record. I often know beforehand that I’m making a mistake — but I still go ahead and do it. Weird. I know.

And it feels stupid to say it out loud, but it’s almost as if I like doing this. I like the self-sabotage. And only when I’ve made the mistake several times do I begin to learn from it. It’s as if the universe has to shove the lessons down my throat — only then will I digest them.

But not anymore. I’m learning to predict and stop my mistakes earlier in the course. If we have this method of self-sabotage in common, let’s try to reverse it. Let’s be even more vigilant of our potential mistakes, learn from the mistakes we make, and learn from them to never repeat them.

A Quick Recap: 7 Signs of Self-Sabotage

  • You’re looking for a “secret” explanation for your problem and even bigger “secret” solutions for them
  • You’re way too attracted to new things — and quit the minute things become mundane.
  • You’re lucky enough to have found your calling but aren’t putting in the work.
  • You ignore the biggest pain point of your life even if you’re productive in other areas.
  • You try to ignore your problems.
  • You’re selfish.
  • You keep repeating the same mistakes again and again.

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Akshad Singi, M.D. has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, and more.