Issue 157 – The Top 7 Signs of Self-Sabotage

The Top 7 Signs of Self-Sabotage
(and What to Do About Them)

By Dr. Robert Anthony

Are you having trouble reaching all of your goals? Are you going after what you want, but feel like something or someone is blocking the way? Are you “not” doing some of the things you know you should be doing?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, you may be a victim of self-sabotage. What can you do about it? Read on and see.

Sign #1: Focusing on what is not working, not right or missing from your life.

Problem: Notice how often you speak and think about what is not working or missing from your life. This only attracts more of what you don’t want.

Action: Ask yourself a new question: “What’s going right?” or “What IS working?” Begin to notice all of the things, no matter how small, that are working well. Keep an evidence journal and each day write down everything that is working and you will attract more of what is working!

Sign #2: Fear of the future.

Problem: Do you worry a lot about the future and what is going to happen or might happen? Are you focusing on your fears so much that you are paralyzed because of what you fear might occur in the future?

Action: It is time to put your focus on the present because the present moment is the only thing we have control over. We can’t control or predict the future or other people’s behaviors no matter how much time we spend in thinking about it. All of our control is in the present moment – right here, right now.

If you are still worried about the future, ask yourself this question “What is the worst thing that could happen?” Then say. “Okay, if it does, I will deal with it.” More importantly, look back on your life and realize that the scenarios we create in our heads about the future rarely occur. Then take a moment to put things into perspective by writing down the things you cannot change, the things you want to change, and accept that the Universe or whatever you call it will take of the rest. It always does!

Sign #3: Placing little or no value on yourself or your accomplishments.

Problem: Do you forget all your accomplishments and lack pride in who you are and what you have accomplished? If you obsess about your past mistakes or your lack of success or lack of achievement, then you’ll be stuck in noticing how much you lack as a person. If you often criticize yourself or can’t accept compliments, it’s a definite sign that you have fallen into this self-sabotaging behavior.

Action: Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of your life, you can choose to notice what you do that is good and the things you can be proud of, no matter how small they may seem. When you hear your mind chattering about what you haven’t done right or well, turn down the volume and turn up the volume to hear the voice that knows the TRUTH about your capabilities and how you add value to the world.

Each day acknowledge yourself for at least 5 things that you did well. Notice your small successes and accept the compliments others give you. Take the one thing out of your list of 5 that you feel the most satisfaction about YOU and focus on that before you go to sleep at night.

Keep Reading for Self-Sabotage Signs 4-7 (and what to do about them)…

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Sign #4: Comparing yourself to others.

Problem: Do you constantly compare yourself to others and then feel badly because you aren’t as happy, popular, attractive, rich or successful as they are? The problem with comparison is that it doesn’t motivate us to do more or be better, instead it makes us feel we’ll never be good enough and there is something wrong with us right now.

Action: When you find yourself starting to compare yourself to others, reverse your thinking. Instead of noticing what is different about you as compared to the other person, notice how similar you are with the other person. Create a list of adjectives that describe you – at least 25 positive words about your greatness. Whenever you notice yourself in the comparison mode, think of some of the positive adjectives that describe YOU.

Sign #5: Getting what you want and then losing it.

Problem: Do you believe that you deserve to have what you want? If you do, then when you get what you want, why do you often lose it or mess it up? What’s really happening here? Could it be that at a deep inner level you think you aren’t good enough to have it?

Action: List all the things you have accomplished that are no longer in your life. Simply notice these things, but don’t place any judgment on the fact they disappeared. Why do you think you keep repeating this behavior? What’s the payoff? What are you getting out of it? You are getting some benefit or payoff or you wouldn’t keep doing it.

What is the limiting belief that you have that tells you inside that you can’t have what you want? Be quiet, be still and listen to it. Write down how you felt when you had what you wanted. Write down how you feel now, without it. Now write down a new “bridge belief” – a very, very small belief about deserving to have and keep what you want that feels a little bit better than what you now feel. Each week, create a new bridge belief, no matter how small, that you can really believe. By using these bridges as stepping-stones, you’ll shift your limiting beliefs slowly. Soon you will be on the other side of the bridge because you will have a new belief inside of you.

Sign #6: You chase away relationships.

Problem: Do you always feel something is missing in your relationships or find fault with the other person? Perhaps you are afraid of intimacy. Underneath this is usually a fear of abandonment or exposure that causes you to distance yourself from others.

Action: Create a list of the qualities you value in a relationship and the qualities you want to attract in your partners. Express what you want and don’t want to the other person and allow them to express the same to you. Create time to acknowledge the other person on a regular basis. Notice when you feel afraid. Don’t try to push the feelings away. Know that the feelings are there and that is fine. Then, in that moment, focus on what feels good about the relationship.

Sign #7: Feeling that you have no purpose.

Problem: Do you feel you have no purpose in life? Whether you choose to believe it or not, we all have some purpose for being on this planet – and it’s time to notice yours.

Action: If you don’t know your purpose – just guess! That’s right. Take a guess. You will be surprised what will come up. Guessing is a great place to start. Then write down all the things that are important to you – the things you would like to create or experience while you are on this planet. Then write out what you want to contribute to others while you are here. Take this information and create a statement of purpose for yourself that you can read each and every day.

Then stop worrying about not knowing your purpose and start creating what you desire NOW. It doesn’t matter what you want in the future. Your purpose could change in the future, but you need to get started creating something you want in your life NOW. Don’t wait another day. Just get started NOW. This action will ultimately put you in alignment and bring you closer to your overall purpose.


“Kristen, I love listening to your interviews. I have only been listening to them for about 2 months now, and my life is already totally different. Your questions are insightful and I take notes from the talks and type them up. I have an entire list of quotes I’ve compiled and have created a “thought for the day” I post at work. Thanks for making the world a better place.” – Susie W.

Quick Tip

Often self-sabotage comes because we have, what I call a “MUST Conflict” – let me explain – a must conflict is when one of our MUSTS (and we all have them – for some it is a MUST to be able to spend quality time in their relationships, some have a MUST that they feel a sense of freedom in their life etc.) And when we believe that having a specific success in our life will cause us to sacrifice one of our MUSTS – we will self-sabotage. So here’s what you do…

First: Identify the MUST that feels threatened by asking this: “If I achieve [fill in the blank with your desire] what will I have to sacrifice that is very important to me?

Second: Once you have identified the “MUST conflict” brainstorm ways to satisfy your MUST and have the experience of the desire. There is always a way once you start the conversation within you.


18 Responses to “Issue 157 – The Top 7 Signs of Self-Sabotage”

  1. bandi says:

    i have been follo0wing yr articles from the last five years. they are excellent. i read the latest one. It is excellent and thought provoking. thanks for yr article
    bandi purushotham
    Sr journalist

  2. Sara says:

    Thank you so much for this! I am 2mo away from getting my credentials for my
    coaching practice. I feel stuck alot of the time and am realizing that i may
    be afraid of success. It sounds absurd, but from what fellow coaches are
    telling me, it’s a common issue. What you have shared will most certainly
    help keep me on track and soon I’ll be shooting for the moon!!!

    Much appreciation always,


    • Kristen says:

      Hi Sara! That’s fantastic – I am excited for your practice. And here’s my suggestion – love your discomfort and fear because that means you are going to the next level – in fact, redefine it as EXCITEMENT!


  3. Tracey Cooper-Durrani says:

    Big “Ah-ha” moment for me with the “Must conflict”. I did not have a great childhood and so as a single mother of 2, I feel I “MUST” be the best parent I can be and never let my kids down. I sacrifice my time and needs for them constantly!
    Thanks great article!

  4. Miranda says:

    Not only eye-opening items, but I love that you provide some ideas on how to overcome. Can’t wait to try them out!

  5. pat says:

    Kristen, I almost NEVER leave comments or feedback on the email newsletters I receive because so many of them promise so much and rarely deliver, turning very quickly into a sell-sell-sell affiliate marketing programme. I understand the business side to the whole thing but when insightful value is not delivered along the way, the only option is to unsubscribe. You, on the other hand, have content that really resonates with me and feels very authentic. Thank you very much! Keep up the wonderful work you do. pat

  6. Virginia says:

    The 7 problems and accompanying techniques to absolve them are so sensible and real.
    And yes, those nasty MUST phrases do stymie us. Prioritizing often reduces the emotional attachment. Also ask yourself “who does this MUST really belong to – me or someone else?”

  7. ian says:

    Really enjoyed this. Thankyou

  8. Ailsa says:

    This post came with perfect timing! Changing the way you think and act has a really measurable effect and this post was a timely reminder to switch my thinking to positive.
    Thanks a million

  9. francisco says:

    Thank you, its an inspiration

  10. Joseph says:

    I am very grateful for your quick tip about MUST conflicts. I can see where this has been a hidden problem for me. Thank you for your suggestions on how to discover the conflict and how to work with it.

  11. franklin ubay says:

    Thanks for your concern about human behaivioral pattern that tells how we response to certain situation, though at times unnoticed by us. Do continue to share with us your insights that educate us…

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