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To override self sabotaging behaviour, some people refer to this technique known as the 5 min rule which is a cognitive behavioural exercise that claims to trick your brain into doing the things that you want to avoid. As you might already guess, It’s obviously easier said than done, we know what we need to do to have an amazing life.

We know that we need to exercise, do mundane things like chores, shower, speak to someone new, take life changing decisions by moving to a new city, but why do self sabotaging behaviours seem almost impossible to break?

If you are anything like me and have been plagued with the monster that is self-sabotage you know that it can be sneaky with the way she shows up in our lives. What makes self sabotaging behaviour really dark is that you become your biggest enemy, you are almost at war with yourself.

You say you want something but you don’t allow yourself to have it, you do the complete opposite of what it is that you say you want. That is basically what it means to have to exhibit self-sabotaging behaviour.

Everything we want is outside of our comfort zone. It always seems hard until you do it, the hardest part is usually just starting.

I don’t know if it’s just me but have you ever struggled to go to the gym and then when you go you finally remember how good it makes you feel? Or how you’ve been putting off chores but then you finally decide to do one chore and before you know it you’ve cleaned your room in under 30 minutes! 

This post will cover

  1. Why we self sabotage?
  2. The shadow self vs The Higher self
  3. How self sabotage can rear its ugly head in ur life WITH examples
  4. How to put an end to it and reclaim your life

Why do we self sabotage?

There are 2 main causes of self sabotaging behaviour

1. We sabotage because we are tied to our self identity.

I have come to realise that self sabotaging is a mental thing, it’s a manifestation of not feeling good enough so we go back to the unhealthy habits that don’t make us feel good but feels very familiar to the subconscious. But to that I say it’s time to break up with your old self, put on your big girl panties, feel the fear and do it anyway!

The idea of self-image is well explained in the book Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. Your body acts based on what goes on in your mind, the force is so powerful that even when you sway towards what’s good for you, it brings you back to preconceived identity using the feedback loop.

As you can imagine, that can be quite frustrating for anyone who wants to change their life. You see that you have potential but for whatever reason, when you start on your journey towards greatness, the feedback loop informs your brain that you are going into unfamiliar territory and thus, it looks for sneaky little devilish ways to bring you back to your old self. 

Our self-identity affects how much money we have, how beautiful we feel we are, how confident we can be and even our overall happiness. We change the way we behave by stopping ourselves in our old familiar tracks and re-learn new patterns of thinking, new belief systems and new practices. We literally have to force ourselves to do things we don’t want to do so we can convince our brain that the pattern of behaviour is associated with who we are now.

2. Self Preservation

Change is scary and we would rather choose what is familiar than face uncertainty. When we experience something outside of our comfort zone that brings us positive feelings maybe even better than we expected, we tend to go back to a more familiar feeling that we have grown accustomed to even if feels painful.

Now the saying ‘old habits die hard’ couldn’t be more significant.

If you are desperate for elevation, you won’t need your training wheels anymore. Although, the subconscious mind will try to protect you by convincing you that you are not good enough yet.

You need to let go of your attachment to your past identity, I know it’s uncomfortable to try and imagine a life that is completely unfamiliar due to your own perceived identity which was formed from past experiences and social conditioning.

self sabotaging example

The Shadow SELF (Ego) vs The Real Self (Higher Self)

If you want to manifest your dream life you really have to let go of your own narrative and also know the difference between the shadow self and the real self. 

The shadow self is the one that is birthed from fear and its job is to keep you safe. The shadow self works with the subconscious mind to keep you in survival mode. That is why you can consciously want something and do the complete opposite because the subconscious mind is deeply integrated in our psyche

The real self knows the truth, knows what it wants and how to get it, it also knows to push you out of your comfort zone. The real self is confident that it will get what it desires.

You have to do the opposite of you what comes naturally to you, your shadow self will continue to seek self preservation until you trick your mind that the fear is irrational. 

The awareness of both the shadow self and real self is like living in a constant state of cognitive dissonance. You have to choose one as both can’t coexist at the same time.


Related: 100 Shadow Work Prompts: A Guide To Shadow Work Healing

Self sabotaging examples

These are the signs of self sabotaging behaviour

  • Wanting to have healthy relationships but you keep going back to the same people who caused you a great deal of pain.
  • Not wanting to be alone so you entertain just anyone, any company is better than none after all.
  • The desire to live an amazing life but you avoid doing things that could change your life like changing your wardrobe, drinking water or putting yourself in the position to meet new people because its much easier to complain about your life than to do something already.
  • Sabotaging your relationship by picking fights when everything is going well or looking for problems when there isn’t one.
  • Skipping your skin care routine and eating junk foods, yet still complain about your skin.
  • Having an idea to start a business but you feel like you have to have everything ‘perfect’ before starting, so you overthink the process, overwhelm yourself which results in procrastination.
  • In fact you find yourself complaining so much lately instead of taking action.
  • Choosing convenience over temporary discomfort.
  • Blame everyone around you for your problems and dwell in a constant state of victimhood.
  • Not getting back up when you fail.
  • Comparing yourself to someone else’s life and then basing your self worth on it.
  • Wanting money but having bad energy surrounding money.
  • Trying to get other people to like you by overextending and giving too much of yourself.
  • Expecting other people to make you happy by validating you.
  • Judging yourself harshly and recounting your mistakes.
  • Having too much on your to do list that you burn out or worse give up on the things that matter.
  • Taking responsibility for others.
  • Being afraid to use the word NO and silencing your voice so you end up taking on too much at once.
  • Not having respect for your time so you allow others to get away with wasting it.
  • You keep lying to yourself ignoring your truth. Your intuition will never lie to you. “Trust nothing but your intuition. Your intuition will tell you who to trust.”
  • Making excuses for why you can’t do something you really want, instead of figuring out how you can.
  • Not letting things go by ruminating or reacting over something that doesn’t deserve your time and energy.
  • Throwing yourself a pity party with invites to anyone who can attend.
  • Not making quick decisions.

self sabotaging behaviour

How to stop self sabotaging

1. Become aware of your patterns

Try to journal what your conscious mind wants and take baby steps towards that goal. Your conscious mind is who you actually want to be despite the fear you feel. 

Write down the differences between the things you want to do and the things you are choosing to do instead so you know how to recognise self sabotaging behaviour when it shows up. 

We can change those identities by taking action toward the type of person you want to be, consequently this will build your confidence and inspire you to do more things.

2. Observe the people you admire

Take an inventory of the people you admire and ask yourself what qualities you admire in them, chances are those same qualities you admire in other people are lying dormant in you. These qualities are what you value and without them, life will be lacklustre and stagnant. 

You would have to leave your comfort zone to have the life of your dreams, there’s no other way around it. The earlier you start to build the habit the better

If the life we want is on the other side of fear, what simple steps are you going to take to make sure you are one step closer to the woman of your dreams?

Your subconscious beliefs are worth challenging, what makes you any less than the people who are already living the life that you envisioned for yourself. The only difference is mindset and self-belief in their abilities as an already flawed human.

3. Make your desired habits easy

Start with ONE thing that you can do daily to change your life. It also doesn’t have to take a lot of time. 2 mins, 5 mins, 30 mins, it doesn’t matter as long as you take action, feel the fear and do it anyway, do not give up.

Let me just say that at first, it might feel weird, you might develop an imposter syndrome and feel like quitting, but do not stop the streak that you are on. It takes 21 days to build a habit. 10,000 hours to be considered a pro at what you do, if you stop now you lose and you’re back to square one.

You want to build a habit of doing things that make you feel good, this will condition your brain to keep doing more feel-good things. The more you do things you really want to be doing, you build your confidence muscle to do even more things that are good for you, thereby training yourself to be undefeated by the gripping power of fear.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

Marianne Williamson

4. Find a way to keep you accountable

I personally believe that we should move in silence. Sometimes telling people your next move can bring in other unsolicited opinions and it gives you a false sense of accomplishment. Also, the fact that everyone knows what you are up to adds pressure on you to succeed in the thing you’re about to start.

You don’t need to broadcast to everyone what you plan on doing but I suggest having a trusted friend to keep you accountable. This will be important before you build the confidence to keep it consistent.

Otherwise, you can delay gratification by creating a reward system that encourages you to keep doing the things you don’t want to do.

5. The power of visualisation

Envisioning the type of life you want, down to the nitty-gritty details helps you to believe in what’s possible.

Let’s say you want a life filled with happiness, what does that truly look like for you? What type of job would you be doing? What type of people would you surround yourself with? What type of activities would you be doing, What colour would you paint your home? What haircut would you have? What would you be having for breakfast?

You have to be blatantly specific in your visualisation, really see yourself doing the things you want, and tune into your emotions while visualising.

What you can imagine becomes real, only if you dare put in the action it takes to make it a reality. Visualisation also challenges the status quo of your old identity, it shifts your beliefs over time because you are constantly reintroducing this new self to your old self and eventually, the brain will have no choice but to fully embrace the new identity you are so hell-bent on.

We can often be the toxic person in our life

We have to realise that we are our own biggest obstacle – not our parents, boyfriend or society even. You have the power to change your life and you give yourself the power, not the girl that made fun of you in high school or the old version of yourself that you can’t seem to break up with or your boss telling you that you won’t amount to anything.

What stops you from having the life that you want is not others it’s you. When that is clear, you stop comparing with others because you don’t see them as competition, the only competition you have is you.

The only one stopping you from being happy and flourishing is you. To allow yourself to be happy, you must feel like you deserve it. It’s okay to slip up every now and again but your ability to bounce back from self sabotaging behaviour is what makes you a healthy person to yourself.

Repeat after me

I deserve to be happy

I deserve to be loved

I deserve to feel good

I deserve to be spoilt and pampered

I deserve to be wealthy 

I deserve to be healthy

I am worthy of my desires

I am worthy of being loved

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      Activate your
Feminine Magnetism

Tired of feeling stuck & clueless on how to tap into your feminine power? This ebook shows you exactly how.

I'm ready

hurry! Get yours now.
first 1000 sales get 
the shadow work book free.

Helping women reconnect with their glow up from within so they can live their best lives.