Overcoming Self-Sabotage: How to Stop Destructive Behaviors and Reach Your Goals

Behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems in daily life and interferes with long-standing goals. The most common self-sabotage behaviors include postponement, self-medication with drugs or alcohol, comfort eating, and forms of self-harm, such as cutting. Self-sabotage can lead to chronic struggles with food, liquor, drugs, gambling, and self-harm. This destructive behavior can also strip people of their motivation and make them feel anxious. The term self-sabotage is used when this destructive behavior is directed at oneself.

At first, you might not even realize that you're doing it. But when negative habits constantly undermine your efforts, they can be considered a form of psychological self-harm. Self-sabotage can be seen as a pattern of thoughts and behaviors in which you participate, often without even knowing it, that creates obstacles to achieving your goals. Self-sabotage is when we actively or passively take steps to prevent us from achieving our goals. This behavior can affect almost every aspect of our lives, whether it's a relationship, a professional goal, or a personal goal such as weight loss.

Although it's very common, it's an incredibly frustrating cycle of behavior that reduces our self-confidence and leaves us stagnant. There are many reasons why someone may choose self-sabotaging behavior, but many stem from a lack of faith in oneself. So how do you deal with fear? The first step is to identify your fears. As you review the list of self-sabotage behaviors below, think about the fears that give rise to those behaviors. Consider talking to a therapist or life coach if you have difficulty overcoming your fear and self-sabotaging behavior.

Once you have a clear understanding of what need your self-sabotage covers, the next step is to generate ideas for alternative behaviors that address the need, but in a way that doesn't harm you. If you're a manager, self-sabotaging behavior can have a negative impact on your team's chances of success, as well as your own. Regardless of your self-sabotaging behaviors, it's essential that you overcome them if you want to make the most of your life and career. If you overcome them without awareness or healing, they get trapped in your mind and body and manifest as self-sabotaging behaviors. Self-sabotage interrupts your progress toward achieving your goals and can prevent you from living a life you truly value. Judy Ho, author of Stop Self-Sabotage (201), describes self-sabotage as a biological response, once necessary for survival.

Every time you discover a trigger, try to produce one or two productive reactions to replace self-sabotage behavior. Self-sabotage refers to behaviors or thought patterns that slow you down and prevent you from doing what you want to do. It seems that speech therapy could be useful in rethinking self-sabotage behavior in the broader scheme of “will to sense”, rather than “will to power” or “will to pleasure”.Self-sabotage is not an inherent part of your character, nor does it define who you are or erase your strengths and talents; therefore, it is possible to replace self-sabotage with personal advancement. These deep-seated thoughts and feelings provoke negative self-talk, fueling your fears and self-sabotaging behaviors.

Let's say you want to give up the self-sabotaging behavior of watching the news as soon as you get home from work because it's a waste of time and leads you to not achieve more meaningful goals.

Overcoming Self Sabotage: Strategies for Breaking Free

The key to overcoming self sabotage is understanding why we do it in the first place. It's important to recognize that these behaviors are often rooted in fear or insecurity. Once we understand why we engage in these behaviors we can begin to take steps towards changing them. The first step is to identify our fears and triggers for self sabotage. We can then start generating ideas for alternative behaviors that address the need without harming ourselves.

It's also important to remember that self sabotage isn't an inherent part of our character; we can replace these behaviors with ones that help us reach our goals. Another strategy for overcoming self sabotage is developing positive coping skills such as mindfulness meditation or journaling. These activities can help us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so we can better manage them when they arise. Additionally, talking with a therapist or life coach can help us gain insight into our patterns of behavior so we can make lasting changes.


Self sabotage is an incredibly frustrating cycle of behavior that reduces our self confidence and prevents us from achieving our goals. It's important to recognize why we engage in these behaviors so we can start taking steps towards changing them.

By identifying our fears and triggers for self sabotage, developing positive coping skills such as mindfulness meditation or journaling, and talking with a therapist or life coach we can begin to break free from this destructive cycle.