7 Signs You're Doing Things To Sabotage Your Own Happiness (And How To Stop)

You're setting yourself up for failure.

Last updated on Jun 05, 2024

frustrated woman staring out the window F01 PHOTO / Shutterstock

Sometimes, we do things that unintentionally throw us off-course. But the worst part is that we don't usually realize until it's too late, and by then it's difficult to rectify the situation. This is known as self-sabotage.

Human self-sabotage is quite subtle, which is why it's hard to spot, at least at first. Luckily, there are certain signs to look for that indicate you are sabotaging yourself.

Here are 7 signs you're doing things to sabotage your own happiness

1. You're looking for a 'secret' explanation for your issues

stressed man thinking Mike Greer / Pexels

Sometimes, we may ask a friend or family member, "What's your secret?" after noticing weight loss or a change in their lifestyle. Though they may reply, "I have no secret. I just try to eat clean and workout consistently," we persist, wanting to know the truth.

While it's uncertain why people do this, looking for a "secret" solution to their problems, the truth is that there are no secrets. Looking for secrets is just a way to avoid responsibility.

Your friend is in great shape because they eat clean and work out. Your colleague wins promotions because they work hard and are eager to learn. You feel low energy because you ate fried food and slept no more than 5 hours.

How to stop: 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 way too attracted to new things

happy woman focused on new hobby Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

Many people 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 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."

But the truth is obvious. They just don't stick to anything long enough for it to matter.

How to stop: When you start something, be sure to finish it. Make the commitment to complete what you began.


3. You're lucky enough to have found your calling, but won't commit

non-committal woman looking at paper Anna Shvets / Pexels

Maybe you have found the career of your dreams, but you are unable to commit to it. And all you have now is an on-again-off-again relationship that is mostly off.

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 you must realize: most people cannot figure out what they want to do with their lives.

How to stop: If you're able to do so, you're incredibly lucky. Please recognize that. Start putting in the work instead of sabotaging yourself.

RELATED: If You Do These 12 Things, You're Addicted To Self-Sabotage


4. You ignore pain points in your life

man recognizing shortcomings Martin Péchy / Pexels

Let's say you are insecure about something in particular, like lacking a certain skill, and are largely unsatisfied with your life. But that doesn't mean you are lazy.

You may work out every day, study like a maniac, and be a truly great person. However, all of this doesn't help you because you aren't working on your pain points.

People spend their lives being productive the way the world tells them to be. But 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.

How to stop: If this is you, stop the self-sabotage. Figure out your pain point. Accept it. Put other things on hold and start working on what truly matters.

5. You try to ignore your problems

woman ignoring her problems Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

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?

Maybe you refuse to keep checks on your health, despite having a family history of certain conditions or diseases. Or perhaps you don't want to step on the scale for fear of seeing the number staring back at you.

How to stop: Unfortunately, your issues will only get bigger if you refuse to see them. Take a step back and stop. Enough with the ignorance. Choose awareness, because only when you're aware can you take action.

RELATED: 14 Tiny Rules For Living A Better Life Than 98% Of People


6. You're selfish

woman being selfish with friend Liza Summer / Pexels

Everyone thinks they're pretty good actors or liars. But the truth is, people can smell your lies from 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; in the long term, it's pure self-sabotage. Because you cannot be truly independent in this interdependent world. Sooner or later, you're going to need someone.

How to stop: If you're selfish, accept it. And, for your own selfish reasons, learn to be a bit more selfless.

7. You keep repeating the same mistakes

man thinking about his mistakes Alex Green / Pexels

It's frustrating to see others repeating their mistakes, but when you do it yourself and realize your actions, you still go ahead and do it anyway.

And it feels weird to say it out loud, but it's almost as if you like sabotaging yourself. And only when you've made the mistake several times do you begin to learn from it. It's as if the universe has to shove the lessons down your throat for you to digest them.

How to stop: To stop sabotaging yourself, you need to learn to predict and stop your mistakes earlier. Try to reverse it, be even more vigilant of your potential mistakes, learn from the mistakes you make, and learn from them to never repeat them.

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Akshad Singi, M.D. is a writer whose work has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, Medium, and more.