7 Key Signs That You Are Doing Self-Sabotage

In life, do you feel like things don’t go the way you want them to? Do your goals seem unreachable and you feel like you suffer constant failure? Does this sound recognizable to you? Maybe there happened some unexpected circumstances like you lost your current job, your relationship didn’t work out, you had a fight with a beloved friend,… or maybe you just feel like you are walking in an endless circle of bad luck with no successful finish point in sight. The first three are examples of things that you often do not really control. Because you just can’t control things or people outside of yourself. The only thing that you do have control over, is how you react to it. As you can choose whether you continue to feel bad or whether you stay positive. On the other hand, the example of the endless circle of bad luck can be a sign of a struggle deeper within yourself. Sometimes there is that additional ‘overlooked’ difficulty that can ensure you that you do not seem to reach your goals or happiness despite many attempts. And that difficulty can be caused by self-sabotaging. And this self-sabotage might be the real reason why you are still walking on the endless road of no success.


What is self-sabotage?

Self-sabotage can be seen as self-defeating behavior or blocking your own way in life. It’s when you unconsciously become the real reason why your goals just don’t seem to work out.

For example:

  • You really want to become an amazing photographer, but you keep on procrastinating to practice the new skills that you need to improve. You blame lack of time, being tired, not having the right tools or you feel like it’s never good enough anyway,… Ultimately, you feel like you are not making any progress at all. And besides that, you begin doubting yourself, you get insecure and you feel like you will never succeed. And while those bad feelings increase, your procrastination behavior is only getting worse
  • You are trying to lose some weight but you are constantly craving unhealthy snacks. And eventually, you give in to those desires, “every time”, and then you give yourself lots of reasons why this ONE time, its ok. And after eating those snacks you immediately start to feel bad and guilty. Emotions that can make the cravings even worse. Because food-cravings are mostly caused because of an emotional trigger. And as you start to feel bad and guilty, you just increase those triggers.

This doesn’t always mean that you don’t want it enough. The reason for self-sabotage can come out of various reasons. Reasons like: self-worth, familiarity, insecurity, boredom, perfectionism,… are a few of those. In another blog post, I will go a little deeper into the WHY we do it. But in this blog post, I really want to focus first on you becoming aware of your behavior and if you do or do not react out of self-sabotage. Because without the awareness of you doing it, you can’t really figure out the WHY.

A girl who thinks


7 Key Signs That You Are Self-Sabotaging

1# When things are getting too serious, you jump out.

Whether it’s in a relationship, a career opportunity or a new challenging adventure, whenever things are getting too serious, you get nervous and then suddenly everything goes wrong.  Quarrels begin, mistakes happen, bad luck moments,… And then you think like: ‘What happened? Why does it always go wrong whenever things are moving forward?’. Well, maybe you never thought about it, but there may be a chance that you are the problem. I’m not telling you that you ARE, but it COULD be you.  There is a chance that you are unconsciously looking for a way to flee. Away from the risks of getting hurt or disappointment. And then this ‘flee’ behavior can be a sign of self-sabotaging.

How can you recognize it?:
Ask yourself these questions:

  •  Do you feel like you are the one picking more fights when it’s getting more serious in your relationships?
  •  Do you feel like you are suddenly so busy with everything that you don’t have any time for this new opportunity, relationship or challenge?
  •  Do you feel like your getting lots of doubts about everything from the moment things finally go right?
  • Are you suddenly getting more frustrated without any good reason?
  • Are you getting more chaotic because of the nerves those good opportunities bring?
  • Are thoughts popping in your head like ‘I feel like everything is going TOO well, this never happens, not with me”, ‘This can’t be.”, “I feel like something bad is going to happen!”

If you answered all these questions with a ‘YES’ then you are probably doing some self-sabotage. The reason for this is a lot of the times because of an anxiety. Such as being scared of getting hurt, disappointment or failure. These can cause a reaction of self-sabotage.  You are unconsciously blocking your path to success and happiness.

How can you stop?:
First of all, it’s very important that you become aware of the nervous tensions. If you feel like everything goes so perfectly but there is still a nagging feeling in your stomach, then this can be the cause of your self-destructive reaction. In those moments when you are aware of that feeling, you should ask yourself where this feeling is coming from. What are you really afraid of or nervous about? What is the worst thing that could happen? What is the best thing that could happen? And is the worst really worth missing out on the best?


2# It’s all about saying instead of doing

Do you notice yourself dreaming about the most amazing things? Are you one of those people who is constantly talking about every goal that you will pursue in your life and who didn’t make lots of progress yet? Then maybe it’s time to talk yourself out of this behavior. The most common reason for this behavior is anxiety. The anxiety of failure or not being good enough. But do you really want to be the ‘TALKER’ in life or do you want to be the ‘DOER’? You can be both, you know. It’s all a matter of your own choice.

How can you recognize it:

  • When people start to notice it and they aren’t taking you seriously anymore
  • When you feel like you want so much but aren’t making any progress
  • When you are constantly in a high of dreams instead of taking action

How can you stop this:
Feel your fears and do it anyway. Don’t let anxiety stop you from taking action. See your anxiety as a challenge. A challenge to learn to step out of your comfort zone.


3# If your Inner-Critic controls you

Is there always that voice in your head that is talking you down? Then your inner-critic might be the problem. Don’t let your inner-critic they control over you. Take back the control over your own mind. Because the inner-critic can be a cause of self-sabotage. It can incite you to self-destructive behavior.

How can you recognize it: 

  • When there is a constant walk-in of negative thoughts in your mind
  • If you have thoughts like: “I don’t deserve this”, everytime life goes well
  • If you are constantly in an inner fight with yourself

How can you stop this:
A few great exercises for this are using positive affirmations, practicing gratitude and learning about the effects of positive psychology. Besides that just don’t give in to those negative thoughts. You are in total control of your own mind, at least if you choose to!


4# Procrastination

Are you someone who is always procrastinating everything? Procrastination is a very common behavior in self-sabotage. When you are constantly procrastinating when it comes to moving forward towards your goals, then this really isn’t because of laziness. (At least not always) You are probably avoiding something else. A fear. That fear can be failure, change, making mistakes,… Definitely, when you are a perfectionist, this can be quite a problem. Because perfectionistic people are often more scared of making mistakes than they are scared of not moving forward.

How can you recognize it:

  • When you are constantly searching for ways to avoid the confrontation of taking action.
  • If you feel like you are always TOO busy but you are actually putting small and unimportant tasks before your dreams and goals.

How can you stop:

Become aware of your procrastinating behavior and start making your goals a priority on your list. Create a good plan on how you can achieve your goal. Make the steps as small as you want to but just start taking them.


5# If you have a reason for everything

If you feel like you are constantly searching for a reason why things don’t work out, then you might be doing self-sabotage. Because in the end, it’s not because of someone or something else that things don’t work out. Your environment, other people or a tricky situation can only make it more difficult for you but eventually it’s up to you if you make it work. Just stick with your plan and go for it no matter what!

How can you recognize it:

  • If you are never taking responsibility for anything that happened in your life
  • If you are constantly complaining about everything and everyone else for your misery
  • If you are always victimizing yourself

How can you stop:

Start seeing your responsibility in the outcomes of your life. If you are not willing to take responsibility, you will never get to that point where you want to be in life. Life is all about growing, messing up, learning and becoming better. Whatever happens in your life, the good or the bad, you can control how you deal with it. So stop searching for a reason outside of yourself as you will never be able to control your environment or the people in it. Search within yourself what you can do to make the situation better or to see it in a more positive way.


6# If you are unconsciously keeping yourself TOO busy

I mentioned this one already a bit in #1. If you find your self always being too busy to focus on the most important things: your goals, relationship,… then maybe you should reevaluate your agenda. Is it really because you need to do all those things? Or are you just unconsciously keeping yourself busy so you can avoid any confrontation, challenge or fear?

How to recognize it:

  • If you always have a full agenda from the moment you need to take an important action in your life

How to stop it:
Just as with procrastination, make yourself a good plan. Prioritize your goals first. And just face your fears! 


7# Overindulgence

If you feel like you have a habit of getting overindulgence in some sort of way when you are getting stressed, then this can be a sign of self-sabotage. This can be things like overeating, drinking too much alcohol, doing drugs, binge-watching tv, spending lots of money,…

How to recognize it:

  • If you feel like you have any sort of addiction whenever stress pops up
  • If you are craving in an unhealthy way

How to stop it:
Become aware of this behavior and search for the underlying emotion. Why do you feel like you need those things? (Overeating, alcohol, drugs,…) Try to find a healthy replacement that can help you with releasing the stress. Also, try to avoid contact with any distractions that might get you into that addiction again. At least for a while. (If it’s drugs or too much alcohol, you should avoid it any time and always of course)

Love & Joy 

Girl watching the sunset

7 thoughts on “7 Key Signs That You Are Doing Self-Sabotage

  1. Oh yes, nummer 2! 😉 In my head I want a lot of things, but then my body just doesn’t do it, or it cannot do it because of pains here and there…. That frustrates me a lot. I talked to someone about it last week and he also said that my body is saying no because it doesn’t want to feel what happens when I start to do what I want to do, in sence of meditation, Wim Hof method and fully into a yoga practice…. But on the other hand I’m really very curious to see what happens! I hope I will do the things I want very soon now, ’cause I think this conversation did open my eyes 🙂


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