“That’s too difficult, I can’t do that!”, “There’s no point in trying because I will fail anyway.” If you find yourself saying these things quite often, then you are someone whose personal mission is to destroy your own confidence in yourself. This isn’t unusual, though, because there are many of us who are just too cruel to themselves.

While it is true that we all engage in negative self-talk at times, you shouldn’t let yourself fall into this habit as it may eventually lead to the so-called “self-sabotage”. When this happens, you will find it hard to reach your dreams and achieve your goals.

It is very alarming that people usually aren’t aware that they are already “self-sabotaging”. They often attribute their lack of success to being inadequate. As a result, the negative message they feed themselves become stronger, and they fall into the dangerous cycle of self-sabotage.

So how do you know you are self-sabotaging?

The easiest sign of self-sabotage is when you suddenly stop trying to reach your goals for no reason at all. You may have the desire, ability and skills to get or do what you want, but there is just something that seems to be preventing you from moving forward. When there is something you should do that you really feel you are incapable of doing, you are sabotaging yourself.

Perhaps the first thing you should do to stop this kind of behavior is to know when you are doing it to yourself. Here are some signs to watch out for:

Procrastination: this is when you know you are supposed to work on something, but you keep putting it off. You are also procrastinating if you tend to start projects and not finish them. Also, there must be something wrong if you can’t find the urge and motivation to proceed even though many great opportunities await you.

Unfulfilled aspirations: there are things you really want to do or achieve, but you choose not to do anything about it.

Anxiety: you are sabotaging yourself if you fret over petty things that don’t really matter. You also worry that your failure will cause others to disregard and disrespect you. It bothers you also that your success may push your friends away.

Anger: you are very aggressive, especially in communicating with other people. This attitude of yours causes troubles in your relationships with others, but you are not doing anything to change it.
It doesn’t matter what self-sabotaging behavior you have, it is imperative that you make the necessary changes if you want your career to go the right direction. By continuously engaging in negative self-talk, you are allowing your self esteem and confidence erode. As a result, you lose interested even in trying to be successful.

But you don’t have to be like this forever. If you want to save yourself from self-sabotaging, you must first recognize the negative messages you are giving yourself.

Escaping the Dangerous Cycle of Self-Sabotage

1. Know the negative messages you are sending to yourself. Writing down the negative thoughts that you have about yourself will help you realize how mean you are being to yourself. Monitoring all your negative thoughts will also help you realize what you need to change in terms of how you perceive yourself.

2. Challenge your negative thinking. You should make a conscious effort to change how you think about yourself. Whenever the negative thoughts occur, start thinking of the good things happening in your life. Ask yourself also if your fears or doubts are reasonable and have basis. Don’t forget to try to remember also the achievements you have in your life and even in your career.

3. Rebuild your self-confidence. Once you have identified and challenge your self-sabotaging behaviors, you may start developing behaviors that will boost your self esteem. For sure, you will have a lot of assumptions, which you must learn how to put into proper perspective. Always bear in mind your goals and dreams, and believe that you have what it takes to achieve them.

It would be very helpful also if you have someone to look up to. Sometimes all we need is inspiration and a living proof that all our dreams can become reality. This is also the reason why having a mentor plays a huge role in a person’s career management and success. Your mentor should be your guide as you pursue your dreams with great confidence.

Author's Bio: 

Cecile Peterkin is a certified career and retirement coach, and a registered member of the Career Professionals of Canada and the International Coach Federation. She is also the Founder and Senior Career Strategist at Cosmic Coaching Centre, provider of career and life management services for middle managers and mid-career professionals across Canada, United States and Europe.