How To Stop Self Sabotage In It’s Tracks

Ahhh, self sabotage. I’m very familiar with this particular rabbit hole. There are so many ways to engage in it, it’s mind-bending. Relationships, career, goals, are all potential targets of self-sabotaging tendencies.

Self-sabotage is a stagnation of sorts. It’s the result of telling ourselves, often unconsciously, “I’m not worth it,” or, “I can’t,” or, “Someone else might be able to achieve this, but not me.” There is no flow in sabotage, no fluidity of movement. It’s stuck, and it feels like being caught in quicksand.

While I’ve engaged in my fair share, a particularly painful memory of self-sabotage was an experience that occurred when I hadn’t been self-employed very long. Money was tight and I was doubting my ability to have my own business and my sanity in even considering it.

I attracted a new client who really liked me. Really, really liked me. She was finding her sessions with me very helpful and she was singing my praises. She came up with the idea to host a party, of sorts, in which I’d be the guest of honor, and her friends could meet me, ask questions, and do mini-sessions.

I hemmed and hawed. I asked her non-essential questions about the event. I muttered something about being an introvert and not being comfortable with groups. I told her I’d check my calendar and give her a call.

And I did not call her. I just didn’t.

She was very lovely, and continued her sessions, and didn’t bring it up again. She was much too kind to ask me what the heck my problem was.

At the time I had lots of rationalizations for not calling her. I WAS an introvert (I’m off that now, by the way); I didn’t want to be on display in that manner; it was too hard for people to understand what I did with only a mini-session; and on and on… you get the picture. It was all bs, and designed to make me feel validated in not taking her up on her awesome offer.

I was totally clueless about it at the time, but later came to see that it was a massive act of self-sabotage that led me to not follow up with her. I was seriously questioning my ability to be successful at my venture, and was exhibiting behaviors to create that reality for myself very neatly.

I’ve learned a lot about self-sabotage in the meantime, how to recognize it early, as well as how to offset it. Here are a few steps I’ve found very helpful for me to take when I recognize I’m slipping into that particular mindset or behavior.

Ask, about the goal that’s on the verge of being sabotaged, “Do I really want this?”

The answer to this can be surprising. I like to take my time. It can be difficult to separate what we really want from that internal, sabotaging influence.

If the answer is yes, ask, “what it is that’s keeping me from moving forward?”

Is it fear of exposing ourselves to the outside world? Is it some part of us that says we don’t deserve to be happy? Do we not believe we are really skilled enough to achieve the goal?

Self-sabotage is a behavior. Getting clear on the emotion that’s causing it is how we can get to the core, and stop the behavior in a more thorough way. This is much more effective then just using willpower.

If the answer is no, keep questioning.

Because self-sabotage is all about rationalizing steps we take that DON’T support our goals, a “no” could potentially be just another example of this. Plan to dig deep with questioning until you ascertain it’s a true no, versus another example of sabotage.

If the answer is truly no, figure out what you do want, and change your plans.

The key here is reminding ourselves that WE are the ones in charge. Not our emotions, not the parts of us that say we are not enough, not the voices we’ve internalized of people throughout our lives who said we couldn’t… We don’t have to wait to empower ourselves; we already are.

Share in the comments some ways that you deal with self-sabotage when it pops up!

Maria Moraca is a conscious integrated channeler. She and Zurac (her “entity dude”) work in tandem; Maria offers tools to achieve empowerment and Zurac offers insight and clarification to life path questions. Her website and blog are at


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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