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Friday, 01 Jan 2021

6 Ways to Avoid Self-Sabotage (And Achieve Your Potential)

By Dr Becky Spelman
6 Ways to Avoid Self-Sabotage | Private Therapy Clinic

Self-sabotage affects us on the most subtle layers through our behaviour. Rarely do you go out of your way to consciously ruin your chances of progressing in your career or developing meaningful relationships. There is always something deeper at play. When you engage in self-destructive behaviour, it’s the subconscious that is leading the charge, encouraging you to be outspoken, indulge when you know you shouldn’t and let your standards slip. Here are some the steps you can start taking today to get over your self-limiting behaviour

Understand Self-Sabotage

To address your self-sabotage, you need to be aware of its presence in your life. You can’t do any constructive until you acknowledge that the reason you’re falling short isn’t because of circumstance beyond your control, is due to set of limiting beliefs that are so ingrained within the psyche that they’re having an adverse effect on your behaviour.

Recognising Your Habit Pattern

If you think back on all the times you led yourself off the beaten track, what habits best characterise your failings? These are going to be highly individual, as habits relating to success and relationships will be vastly different from one another. But this is your starting point. Recognising your patterns is the first step in making positive behaviour changes.

Identifying Your Triggers

Next, you’ll need to establish what causes you to engage in your self-destructive behaviours. There is a point at which your behaviours are triggered like a computer program every time you encounter a given situation. Self-sabotage is incredibly predictable. Try carrying a notepad around with you and make entries when you’ve engaged in destructive behaviour.

Establish the Root Cause

Finding the root cause can be a little time-consuming to establish by yourself. It requires a period of dedicated introspection and hindsight. You can do it by yourself, but you’ll find this stage much easier with the assistance of a Therapist. A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approach will help you best in this situation.

Set Goals and Hold Yourself Accountable

Once you’ve established your patterns, you need to set yourself clear and achievable goals. The key here is to set yourself up for easy success rather than inevitable failure by expecting too much of yourself. The way of getting over your self-sabotage is by creating small victories for yourself little and often.

Make Small Incremental Changes

If you have several aspects relating to your own self-sabotaging tendencies, break them down into smaller challenges. Don’t try and do them all at once. It’s admirable to think this way, but as we’ve said above, asking too much is conducive to falling short, which can often feed into your narrative self-sabotage.

About the author:

Dr Becky Spelman is a leading UK Psychologist who’s had great success helping her clients manage and overcome a multitude of mental illnesses.

***If you’re struggling with self-sabotage and think you might benefit from speaking to someone about your situation, we offer a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with one of our specialists to help you find the best way to move forward. You can book yours here.


Psychology Today. (2019) Self-Sabotage.Retrieved on 11th January, 2020 from,

Mind Tools. (2019) Self-Sabotage.Retrieved on 11th January, 2020 from,

Talk Space. (2019) 4 Signs You’re Self-Sabotaging (+ How to Stop).Retrieved on 11th January, 2020 from,

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