3 Reasons Why You’re Sabotaging Yourself – and How to Stop


Self-sabotage. It’s something many of us are guilty of – but few of us know what to do about it. Self-sabotage can be the reason why you’re not succeeding – you could be going along great, eating well and exercising, and then bam! For some reason, you decide to eat all the cookies and flake out on the gym. Why? What causes this? What can be done about it? I’d like to give you some tools to understand these patterns better, so that you can move forward freely!

Why might you be sabotaging yourself? There are three key reasons I’ve identified, in working with our GW members and my coaching clients. Three things always seem to pop up, so I’d like to share them with you.

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Reason #1: Your current routine is too difficult to maintain.

If you’re not enjoying the food on your “diet” and your exercise routine is too stressful to maintain long term, you’re bound to rebel at some point. This is why it’s SO important to choose foods you like, and exercises you enjoy – otherwise, you’ll get good and sick of them sooner or later.

Solution: Choose healthy foods you’ll enjoy. Don’t be so strict that you feel deprived all the time! Make a list of all of our “Green” foods that sound delicious to you, and a list of at least five exercises you’d have fun doing. Enjoy the process, and you’ll want to stick with it for life!

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Reason #2: You have negative beliefs about yourself.

Many of us have quite a few can’t-do thoughts about ourselves. We think things like “What’s going to be different this time? I’ve tried this before, and failed.” How can we change when we’re beating ourselves up in our minds? Negative thinking is one of the most common forms of self-sabotage, but there’s hope. With a little awareness and dedication, you can definitely change this habit!

Solution: Try this exercise for a few days: As you go about your daily life, keep a notepad handy. Write down every negative thought about yourself that comes up. Don’t judge yourself, just be aware. With awareness comes change. Then, write down affirmations that counteract your negative thoughts. Keep bringing your focus back to your new positive thoughts, and you’ll see big changes before long!

meditation lady

Reason #3: There is a fear you’re not addressing.

I once worked with a weight loss group years ago – and I’ll never forget one of the women in my workshop. She wanted to lose weight, but there was a fear keeping her from her goal. How did we find this out? I asked the group to do an exercise. I asked them to imagine snapping their fingers, and then BOOM! They were at their ideal weight. I asked them if they could allow that, or if there was resistance. One woman said “Oh yeah, if I could snap my fingers and lose weight this instant, I would do it!” I could tell she was really ready to shed the weight. However, another woman seemed bothered.

This exercise brought up something she hadn’t been willing to face. She realized that she was in the closet as a lesbian, and that if she lost the weight, she’d be more confronted with having to face that reality. Somehow, in her mind, the extra weight was a protective shield, keeping her from facing her fear of being outcast from her family. There are all kinds of fears people have that can create a self-sabotaging dynamic.

Solution: I invite you to try this same exercise – snap your fingers and imagine that you’ve achieved your goal. Then, see what fears, if any, this brings up. If there are fears, that’s OK. Just allow yourself to be aware of them. Then, find a way to create peace and acceptance around those fears. Meditation, visualization, journaling, and affirmations are all great ways to transform those fears!

Tess Challis is the co-founder of Get Waisted and has worked through her own self-sabotage enough to spot it a mile away! Join our supportive community for weekly meetings and other tools to empower your goals. 


Posted on by Mary Clifton, MD


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