4 Simple Steps to Overcome Self-Sabotaging Behavior

What is self-sabotaging behavior exactly?

You can think of it as any behavior, thought, emotion or action that hinders a person from achieving a goal or desire. You may also think of it as a safety mechanism that protects someone against disappointment.

Have you been wondering how to get out of the self-sabotaging funk?

Well, we have four tips that can help you stop self-sabotaging your life away!

1. Identify the Self-Sabotaging Behavior

In order to identify your self-sabotaging behaviors, you need to first schedule some time to review your daily decisions, actions, and resulting consequences. From there, see if you can pinpoint specific triggers that may be causing your self-sabotaging behavior to appear.

People, objects, or even specific times, events, or locations can be triggers. Once you identify your triggers, you need to decide if they are avoidable or if you can find ways to work around them. If at all possible, it would be best to remove those triggers. Being more prepared to take conscious control of your thoughts, feelings, and actions would be the result of removing those triggers.

You'll also want to identify any limiting beliefs that you may have. Once you identify those beliefs, work diligently to replace them with positive and empowering beliefs.

You can do this simply by questioning the validity of your beliefs.

Try asking these questions:

  • What is it that I believe in this situation?

  • What is it that I believe about myself and my own abilities?

  • How did my belief about this, trigger this self-sabotage pattern?

  • How is this belief ridiculous and impractical?

  • What would others say about this belief?

  • What is another more helpful perspective I could take of this situation?

These questions are a good starting point and will get you focused in the right direction.

2. Recreate Your Self Sabotage Pattern

You can do this by outlining all the triggers and the associating behaviors that manifest as a result of these triggers.

Be clear about how this behavior shows up in your life before moving onto the next step. The more you understand about your behaviors and what triggers them, the more prepared you will be to face them head on and insert a healthy replacement behavior.

3. Identify a Healthy Replacement Behavior

In order to eliminate an old pattern of behavior, you must find a way to replace it with a new pattern that is more practical and helpful.

This will require you to do some soul searching. Take some time to identify a new, different and appropriate way of responding that would help you to achieve your goals and objectives by asking these questions:

  • How could I respond in a more appropriate and proactive way that would help me get what I want?

  • How is this a better way to respond?

  • What are some reasons for making this change?

  • What are the long-term benefits of changing how I respond in this situation?

  • What are the key advantages of this new behavior?

4. Practice the New Behavior until a Habit is Formed

Practice implementing your new behavior as often as possible over the next four weeks until a new habit is formed. You can practice by envisioning your response to the situation in head. Take note of every detail, then feel the positive energy circling throughout your body as you overcome this self-sabotage pattern. Now that your imagination has been activated, you need to put yourself in situations that will naturally trigger your old patterns of behavior. You are now primed with a new response mechanism that you will continue to practice over the next four weeks until a new habit is eventually formed.


*Hat Tip: Adam Sicinsky


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Health and happiness,

Alicia Williamson RN, BSN, MSNW, CHC


Kylie Glastetter BA, MS, EP-C, CHC


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