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Getting Out of Your Own Way: Stop Self-Sabotaging

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

Dragonfly Transformation & Wellness

August 2022

Stop Self-Sabotaging
Stop Self-Sabotaging

What is Self-Sabotage?

Self-Sabotage: A Psychological Definition

Self-sabotage occurs when we destroy ourselves physically, mentally, or emotionally or deliberately hinder our own success and wellbeing by undermining personal goals and values (Brenner, 2019). It is “insidious, profound, and universal” and emanates from negative mindsets (Berg, 2015).

Self-sabotage is a common behavioral dysregulation that can be conscious or unconscious depending on the level of awareness. An example of conscious self-sabotage is deciding to eat cake, despite a goal to eat healthier.

Changing the way you eat and the habits related to eating can be tough, but there are tools to make it easier.

We often stack the deck against ourselves and don’t even realize it. Since a change of any kind can be challenging, it only makes sense to give yourself every possible advantage by removing, or planning for, the most likely obstacles.

​Use these tricks to stick with your goal:

1. Keep foods out of the house that don’t fit your program. You can’t eat it if it’s not in your house. Get it out before it creates a challenge. Go through your refrigerator and pantry and get rid of all the foods that you may find too tempting to say no to. 2. Drink lots of water. We often eat because we’re thirsty, especially items like fruit, which contain a lot of water. Water is also filling if you drink enough of it. A tall, cool, glass of water every couple of hours is healthy and filling. 3. Learn the power of the pause. When you have the urge to eat something off plan, don’t give in right away. Take a pause, sit and relax. Give it a few minutes. You’ll often find that the urge goes away. 4. Foster self-awareness. The ability to recognize triggering thoughts and behaviors is a powerful step toward transforming self-sabotage patterns. Self-awareness and introspection, whether through simply looking within or journaling, help identify thoughts that derail us. Get in the habit of asking yourself “Why do I do that?” Awareness leads to ways to transform them. Positive self-talk and affirmations go a long way to helping reform your thoughts once you’ve identified them. 5. Avoid cutting back too far. Those unwanted pounds probably took years to accumulate. Give yourself some time to get rid of them. Change may be necessary but don’t overdo it. Restricting your carbs too much for example can cause people to binge eat, or “cheat” on the weekends making you much more likely to sabotage your diet. It also creates a “diet’ mentality as it’s impossible to sustain this level of restriction long-term. 6. Weigh or measure food. A serving of pasta is less than you think. Food scales are inexpensive. So are measuring cups and spoons. Ensure that you understand how much you’re actually eating. You might be surprised how far off you are. 7. Avoid overdramatizing mistakes. A diet doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective. A mistake is just a temporary setback. Shake it off and accept that mistakes happen from time to time. Pick yourself back up and start forward again immediately. 8. Avoid eating out. Most fast food restaurants don’t have a good selection of healthy options. Even options like salads are deceptively fattening. Restaurants can be a healthy dining option, but it’s very easy to make a significant mistake. 9. Get moving. Exercise is useful in a few ways. It decreases your appetite. It helps to burn some calories. It makes it more painful to cheat on your diet. Knowing that you worked hard to burn 300 calories on the exercise bike will make you less likely to undo all that hard work by eating poorly. 10. Get support. Having a strong support system or accountability partner is critical to success. “Dieting in the dark” doesn’t work! With friends, family, or a coach in your corner you are better set to succeed.

You've Got This

We really can be our own worst enemy. Changing how you eat is challenging, but most of us make it much harder than it needs to be. Commit to using these tools to stack the odds in your favor.

And never forget, any past history of self-sabotage is just that…history. Move forward without any self-limiting beliefs about what you are capable of. Everyone is capable of change. Once you commit to overcoming the obstacles you are better prepared to succeed when they appear. ❤

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