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How to Stop Self-Sabotage and Learn to Be Positive Again

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How to Stop Self-Sabotage and Learn to Be Positive Again

The following quote is one of the best descriptions of what self-sabotage is all about and provides a clue as to how to stop self-sabotage in its tracks.

“Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.” -Alyce Cornyn-Selby

If you are in the habit of self-sabotage, you are actively getting in the way of your own goals and dreams. The reasons one may do this can be complex, but there are ways to learn how to stop self-sabotage.

Why Do We Sabotage Ourselves?

Self-sabotage is when we do something that gets in the way of our intent or of our biggest dreams or goals in life. We want something, but somehow we never accomplish it.

Many of us are engaged in self-destructive behaviors that have become habits. We allow these behaviors and habits to undermine our right to success and happiness, often without even realizing it. These destructive thoughts and behaviors are part of our life, and we accept that.

Your brain is built to reinforce and regulate your life, but what many people don’t realize is that, just as your brain is built to regulate your physical self, it also tries to regulate your mental self.

Your subconscious mind is the gatekeeper to your comfort zone. The subconscious is wired to see self-sabotage as a way to protect you, prevent pain, and keep you safe. When we want to step out of our comfort zone or do anything that challenges us, our subconscious starts to work on stopping us.

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If we allow a self-sabotaging mindset to control us, over time our inner voice becomes an inner critical voice that holds us back from seizing new challenges and living life to our fullest potential. This is why it is so important to learn how to stop self-sabotage in its tracks.

How to Recognize Your Self-Sabotage Habits

The first step to breaking the cycle of self-sabotage is becoming aware of these behaviors. Once you know which self-destructive habits, thought patterns, and mindsets are holding you back, you can then start to take action to manage the negative influence they have on your life

In her book, The Healthy Mind Toolkit, Alice Boyes[1] helps the reader self-diagnose their sabotaging thinking and habits that are holding them back in life and in love. She also provides simple, practical tips for overcoming these patterns.

Alice Boyes identifies the three common self-sabotage behaviors that most people have:

1. Procrastination

Instead of completing goals in a timely manner, you allow yourself to take your time or find excuses to extend the timeline. You agree with your inner voice’s numerous reasons as to why you have to wait for the right time to start or even finish a project or achieve a goal. Nothing will be achieved, and you end up frustrated.

2. Negative Self-Talk / Negative Thinking

Your inner voice is constantly critical, and you keep blaming yourself for your past mistakes. Regretful thinking dominates your thoughts. Your self-belief and confidence are at an all-time low.

3. Perfectionism

You tell yourself you can’t take action until it is the right time or believe you need to perfect your skills before you move forward. Perfectionism is impossible to maintain in your life, and you will not move forward in any part of your life if you cling to this[2].

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traits of perfectionism in self-sabotage

    Once you understand what self-sabotage means for you, and you recognize your behaviors and thought patterns, you can take action to learn how to stop self-sabotage.

    How to Stop Self-Sabotage

    Here are 4 steps that you can take immediately to stop self-sabotaging your success and to start living a more positive life.

    1. Look at Your Self-Worth

    For many of us, our self-sabotage behaviors and beliefs are rooted in our feelings of self-worth. Figuring out what is causing you to self-sabotage will help you to focus on the specific changes to stop these behaviors.

    In her book, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It, Dr. Valerie Young provides an in-depth study of the Imposter Syndrome and the Five Personality Types[3].

    Our subconscious is where the Imposter Syndrome and self-sabotage plays. One of the five personality types of Imposter Syndrome is the Perfectionist. In her book, Dr, Valerie Young provides practical strategies on how to stop the Imposter Syndrome from ruining your life.

    If perfectionism or any self-sabotage behaviors are impacting your life, then reading Dr. Valerie Young’s book would be a great start for you to start working out which of the strategies she suggests to fix this problem.

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    2. Take Time For Reflection

    “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

    Taking time out to understand why you keep shooting yourself in the foot is important. Self-reflection enables you to think through your choices, decisions, and actions. It gives you space to dig deep within yourself to gain more insight into your underlying emotions and desires.

    Only through self-reflection will you gain the necessary insight, perspective, and understanding to begin the process of change and personal transformation.

    You can engage in this type of reflection through journaling, meditation, or talk therapy. Find what feels best for you and give it a try.

    3. Face Your Fears

    “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face….We must do that which we think we cannot.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

    The first step to overcoming procrastination is to take action to stop self-sabotage. We procrastinate mainly because we are afraid, and the best way to deal with our fear of failure is to face it. You won’t ever be able to live a positive, full, and happy life and feel good if you are always fearful.

    Ask yourself if you really want to engage in self-sabotaging behavior and stop your chance of living a full and happy life. Hopefully, the answer is no, and now you can write down all the negative feelings, fears, or random thoughts that come up as to why you shouldn’t achieve your goals or dreams in life. Keep going until there are no more negative thoughts left.

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    Then, look at every negative fear or thought you have written down and, beside each one, put an X next to the ones that are potentially life-threatening. Hopefully, there will be no X’s, and you will realize that you have nothing to fear.

    4. Listen to Your Inner Positive Voice

    “For me, it’s always been about preparation, and the more prepared I can be each week, the less pressure I feel and the more confident I am. As your confidence grows, it’s only natural that the pressure you feel diminishes.” -Aaron Rodgers

    Fear tends to be the main cause of what holds us back. We fear that our inner critic is right; we believe that we don’t deserve happiness, aren’t tough or bright enough, or we just don’t have it in us to be a success in life. These thoughts and self-limiting beliefs are not helpful, and your negative dialogue needs to become a very slight whisper that you can hardly hear.

    To live a positive and fulfilling life, your internal dialogue also needs to be positive. You can learn how to stop self-sabotage and negative thoughts by focusing on sending more positive and encouraging thoughts to your inner self.

    Affirmations, practicing gratitude, showing appreciation, and doing acts of kindness are very practical actions you can take to having a more positive mindset.

    Final Thoughts

    Once you identify why you are exhibiting self-sabotage behaviors, you can then take action to learn how to stop self-sabotage and rise above it. The four practical actions above are realistic steps that will enable you to take control so that you can live your life to your fullest, where you are not afraid or lacking in self-belief.

    Your inner self-critic no longer holds you back with its negative impact. It is your inner positive voice that encourages you and supports you to grab those opportunities and chase your dreams. That is what living a positive life is all about.

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    “Don’t wait until everything is just right…Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident, and more and more successful.” ­-Mark Victor Hansen

    More on How to Stop Self-Sabotage

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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    Kathryn Sandford

    Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

    Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career How to Stop Being Sad and Start Feeling Happy How to Persevere (and Get Ahead) When the Going Gets Tough How To Be an Optimistic Person When the Odds Are Against You 7 Things To Remember When You Feel Broken Inside

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    Last Updated on December 6, 2021

    Feeling Lost? 40 Quotes to Help You Find Meaning in Life

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    Feeling Lost? 40 Quotes to Help You Find Meaning in Life

    Sometimes, we carry with us ancient wisdom that has been whispered through generations where we find strength for what we need. Other times, we sense our happiness and sanity have been swept away, and we float rudderless in our space. We wonder if we’re heading in the right direction and feel doom rather than the transformation. In these moments, we may need some feeling lost quotes to help us find inspiration again.

    During the times when we feel lost, it’s too easy to forget the comfort of good times and wade through the fluff that separates us from the pack.

    I often work in leadership and have to test my limits and inspire those I’m leading. One of the quotes I keep in mind by T.S. Elliot is:

    “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

    Knowing how you will perform in a crisis, personally or professionally, can help you get through tough times. The people who tend to work best in a crisis or stay calm in stressful times are those who are honest and forthright.

    We often try to find sense in our lives with logic, reducing perceived risks by increasing control. The problem with control is you can hold on too tight, narrowing your options and missing the big picture.

    Trying to squeeze action out of undefined goals only increases the pressure. Being happy comes from a sense of self and freedom, not a narrow list you’ve locked yourself into.

    Sometimes, we need to observe our life in new ways and examine it with wisdom we doubt we have. Those big successes are done with small incremental actions done every day. Who will you choose to be in times of doubt?

    Whether you bookmark this page for future inspiration or show off powerful, inspiring quotes on your T-shirt, coffee mug, key chain, and screen saver, these 40 feelings lost quotes will help remind you of your true essence.

    We can reconnect with our priorities and take inspiration from both the ancients and modern visionaries with some of my favorite words below that inspire simplicity and truth.

    Feeling Lost Quotes

    1. “If you are working on something you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you” –Steve Jobs

    2. “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” –Gordon Eadie

    3. “One of the truest tests of integrity is a blunt refusal to be compromised.” –Chinua Achebe

    4. “The fears we don’t face become our limits.” –Amy Elizabeth

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    5. “Be who you needed when you were younger.” –Anonymous

    6. “We generate fears when we sit. We overcome them by action.” –Dr. Henry Link

    7. “The intangible represents the real power of the universe. It is the seed of the tangible.” –Bruce Lee

    8. “Storms make trees take deeper roots.” –Dolly Parton

    9. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” –Henry Ford

    10. “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” –Vincent Van Gogh

    11. “Stop acting so small, you are the universe in ecstatic motion.” –Rumi

    12. “A tree that is unbending is usually broken.” –Loa Tzu

    13. “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” –Plutarch

    14. “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” –Plato

    15. “Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” –Chinese proverb

    16. “To get lost is to learn the way.” –African Proverb

    17. “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” –Zig Ziglar

    18. “Do you know who you are? Don’t ask. Act. Action will delineate and define you.” –Thomas Jefferson

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    19. “Give thanks for what you are today and go on fighting for what part of you will be gone tomorrow.” –William Shakespeare

    20. “Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks up.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

    21. “One day you will ask me which is more important, my life or yours? I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life.” –Kahlil Gibran

    22. “You were born to be real, not to be perfect.” –Anonymous

    23. “After climbing a great hill, one only finds there are many more hills to climb.” –Nelson Mandela

    24. “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.” –Maya Angelou

    25. “I wash my hands of those who imagine chattering to be knowledge, silence to be ignorance and affection to be art.” –Kahlil Gibran

    26. “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” –Japenese Proverb

    27. “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

    28. “Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out.” — Katherine Dunham

    29. “One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day. Similarly, one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.” — Aristotle

    30. “There are two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

    31. “You got to go down a lot of wrong roads to find the right one.” — Bob Parson

    32. “Anger, resentment, and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others. It only changes yours.” — Shannon L. Alder

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    33. “To be lost is as legitimate a part of your process as being found.” — Alex Ebert

    34. “Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.” — Henry Rollins

    35. “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.” — Elbert Hubbard

    36. “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” — Vivian Greene

    37. “Nothing is more beautiful than the smile that has struggled through the tears.” — Demi Lovato

    38. “Leave your front door and your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.” — Shunryu Suzuki

    39. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” — Robert H. Schuller

    40. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” — C.S. Lewis

    Sometimes It’s Ok to Feel Lost

    After looking at these feeling lost quotes, it is easy for someone to be confused. But these inspirational quotes will guide you to hear a voice every time when the risk is high, and you have nowhere to run. It is always easy to choose the shortcut and ignore the voice of the subconscious to do the right thing!

    No matter how dire the circumstances might be, you need to make efforts and find ways to uplift your morale. Not making an effort is more painful than the risk of immersing your thoughts in negativity.

    When you are feeling lost, it is natural to be confused about the next step. However, you have to determine when the risk of staying in a sad state for a longer period is causing more harm than good.

    And don’t you worry, it’s okay sometimes to feel lost and not know where you are heading in your life. We go through various phases in life, and none of them stay permanent. Remember that “Life is a work-in-progress” and this too shall pass. Keeping hope is very important if you want to sail through the tides of life.

    Don’t Be too Hard on Yourself

    Everyone is fighting their fight in their ways, but none can say – “I know it all.” Life is a constant struggle, and everyone has to push through personally to overcome obstacles.

    Whether it is your professional life that’s making you feel lost or your personal life brought about this state of mind, remember that you alone can find the solution. Happiness is a state of mind, and you alone can control the emotions that can bring a change in your attitude when you are feeling lost.

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    No one can tell you what your purpose is in the world, and only you have to decide that on your own. The universe has given us life and one that teaches us various things through unique experiences. Some might be good, and some might be bad.

    So, don’t beat yourself up or be hard on yourself even if you have not yet figured it out. It’s okay! You don’t owe anyone an explanation about why it is taking so long or why haven’t you been able to figure it out yet. Go at your own pace, and you shall reach where you intend to. Nothing is permanent, and you will find your way out. It’s just a matter of time.

    Rather than complaining and belittling yourself, you can try brainstorming ideas to help you move on. Procrastinating and beating yourself up will only drown the motivation and bring nothing of value but just self-pity.

    Don’t forget if you set your heart to something, you can achieve it. Feeling lost is not a permanent state, and to uplift your emotions, you need to have faith.

    Final Thoughts

    Many of these feeling lost quotes have a common core. That is, to take a step back and view yourself in a new way.

    Take action and make inspiration a routine. To act creates learning, and that builds confidence, provides direction, and eliminates doubt.

    Imagine what you want it to be so that your vibration matches your desire. We can’t snap our fingers to instantly change feeling lost, but we can increase our situational awareness with our emotions and places where our lives have or may take an abrupt turn.

    We take inspiration from our daily lives in as many individually unique forms as we are different. Inspiration can strike instantly and sporadically or feel like a trickle that slowly grows into a majestic waterfall crashing through with creative energy. That trickle is what will keep you going in dark times.

    When you’re in a place where you feel lost and don’t recognize yourself, allow some inner compassion for the person you are right in that moment[1].

    You have the power to create your world, one step at a time, and these feeling lost quotes can help. You choose how you think. Tune in to how you feel and why.

    Remember you have the power to be, have, and do anything you desire. Tough times never last, but tough people do.

    See what I did there? Another quote to inspire original thought as it applies to you. It’s been said that if you want to test a man’s character, give him power and you will see his true colors. So keep your inspiration on tap for when you need a reminder of your purpose.

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