How To Stop The Cycle Of Self-Sabotage

The feeling that something is wrong with you because you’re stuck in a cycle of self-sabotage can be so strong it takes over your life. The good news is, the cycle doesn’t have to continue if you identify what’s causing it and take steps to change how you act. How To Stop The Cycle Of Self-Sabotage: Here are 10+ ways to stop the negative behaviors that lead to cycles of self-sabotage: 

Recognize the problem

It starts with recognizing when bad habits are getting in your way or becoming an obsession. For example, maybe you’re always putting off work until later while telling yourself “it’ll be easier tomorrow.” Maybe you’re too hard on yourself when things don’t go well even though there are other factors involved. Awareness is the first step on the way to changing any habit.

Make a plan

Once you know what your problem behaviors are, it’s time to make a plan to change them. This can be something as simple as writing down your goals and how you will achieve them or creating a more detailed schedule of when and how you’ll complete certain tasks. The important thing is that you have a specific strategy to help you meet your goals. 

Stay accountable

You’ve decided to change and that’s great, but it won’t mean much without action. You can stay on track with your plan by making yourself accountable. Tell a friend or family member about what you’re doing and ask them to check in on your progress now and then. If you make excuses, they’ll call you out on them and hold you accountable for finishing what you said you would do.

Avoid temptations

Part of staying accountable is being aware of the things that can tempt you into self-sabotaging behavior. If you know that working from home makes it hard for you to stay focused, then don’t work from home! If going out with friends always leads to drinking too much, then make plans that don’t involve alcohol. It’s not always easy to avoid temptation, but knowing what they are is the first step. 

Set realistic goals

It’s admirable to have high goals, but if you’re always setting yourself up for disappointment by expecting too much of yourself, you’re just going to end up feeling worse. Be realistic about what you can achieve and give yourself time to meet your goals. There’s no need to set yourself up for failure by constantly raising the bar. 

Take a break

When you feel like you can’t take it anymore and are about to give up, take a break. Step away from the problem, whether that means taking a walk, meditating, or just relaxing in front of the TV. Sometimes all we need is a little time away from whatever is causing us stress to come back with fresh eyes and a clear head. 

Seek help

There is no shame in asking for help. It takes a lot of courage to admit that you need assistance and reaches out. If you’re having trouble breaking a self-sabotaging habit on your own, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor who will be able to offer the guidance and support you need to get back on track. They may also have insights into what’s causing your problem behaviors which can make it easier to fix them long term. 

Accept yourself unreservedly

The world tells us not to be enough: we aren’t attractive enough, smart enough, talented enough. It can take years of hard work (and sometimes luck) to achieve success and feel good about ourselves. But what if we stopped waiting to feel good about ourselves until we “made it” and simply accepted ourselves unreservedly, right now? This doesn’t mean that you stop striving for success or that you’re happy with everything about yourself, but it’s a start. It’s the recognition that you are worthy of love and respect no matter what. 

Take care of yourself

This may seem like common sense, but it’s something many of us forget to do. If you’re not taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally, it’s going to be much harder to achieve your goals. Make sure you’re eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and spending time doing things you enjoy. When you take care of yourself, you’re not just giving yourself a boost in the present, but it’s something that reduces your risk for burnout and depression.

Evaluate your motivations

Every time you say, “I want to” or “I need to,” question it. Why do you want what you’re saying? Is the underlying motivation one that is in line with where you are in life right now? What happens when you get what you want? Is there another way to achieve the same thing without using the language of “need” and “want”? If the motivation isn’t supporting you, then let go of it. It’s holding back your progress. 

Change your attitude

Believing that change isn’t possible can lead to self-sabotage by causing us not to even try. Make sure that every time a negative (“I can’t”) thought pops into your head, you challenge it with a positive one (“I can”). This takes practice, but eventually, your new attitude will start to become second nature. 

Set boundaries

If you’re constantly putting others first and neglecting your own needs, you’re going to end up feeling resentful and drained. It’s important to set boundaries with the people in your life so that you have time for yourself as well. This doesn’t mean being selfish or cold, but simply communicating what you need and sticking to it. 

Stop comparing yourself to others

Comparing yourself to others is a surefire way to feel bad about yourself and sabotage your progress. We are all different and that’s okay! There’s no need to compete or put others down. The sooner you accept that everyone is unique, the sooner you can start focusing on your path and value. 

Focus on progress (not perfection)

Perfectionism can be very alluring because it offers us the promise of feeling good enough. If only we could get this one thing right, then everything would be alright. But it’s never that easy to achieve perfection, so instead of falling into this trap over and over again, just focus on making progress in whatever way you can. Perfection may never happen, but what will come from measuring your progress towards a goal? 

Make failure non-negotiable

When failure isn’t an option for us, we tend to avoid trying altogether because the fear of failure becomes too great. But if we can change our mindset and see failure as a natural part of the learning process, we’re more likely to try again after we’ve failed. Failure isn’t the end, it’s just a step in the wrong direction. 

Permit yourself to mess up

Nobody’s perfect and that includes you. So, permit yourself to mess up every once in a while without judgment. This doesn’t mean that you’re suddenly allowed to be lazy or careless, but it does mean that you’re allowed to make mistakes. Just learn from them and move on. 

Embrace change

The only thing that’s constant in life is change. So instead of fighting it, embrace it! This doesn’t mean that everything will be easy from here on out, but it does mean that you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever comes your way. Change is always scary, but it’s also exciting!

Take care of your mental health

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, so make sure you’re taking care of it. This means getting regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and spending time indoors and outdoors. You should also be practicing self-care by indulging in activities

Visualize your success

A visualization is a powerful tool that can help you achieve your goals. When you visualize yourself achieving your goal, it sends a signal to your brain that this is something you want. And the more you focus on the result, the easier it will be to achieve it. 

Practice self-compassion

Last but not least, practice self-compassion. This means being kind to yourself and forgiving yourself for your mistakes. Accepting that you’re not perfect is the first step on the road to self-compassion. So be gentle with yourself and don’t beat yourself up over your failures. Just learn from them and move on.


Remember, it’s important to stop the cycle of self-sabotage. It only leads to more stress and anxiety in your life, and you don’t deserve that! Start taking care of yourself and others will take care of themselves too. The people who truly love you will not want to see you suffer. You are worthy of love and happiness!

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