This may be the most important post you read all year.
First, I want to make sure you can relate …
Have you ever been in pursuit of a goal and were making moves, feelin’ great…
And then all of the sudden, as you continued to get closer and closer to your goal …
You shot yourself right in the foot?
Stopped yourself dead in your tracks with an act of self sabotage that left you scratching your head.
You felt so good! You were so damn close! You couldn’t possibly make sense of why in the world you sabotaged yourself.
Well … as someone who likes to get to the root cause of behavioral tendencies, I can shed some light on why you did that (and potentially why you continue to do it) …
Forewarning … this may get uncomfortable.
But, it may also be the awareness you need to make a monumental pivot.
Why do you self sabotage?
Here are the 6 most common reasons why you self sabotage …
1. Cognitive dissonance
When our actions don’t align with our thoughts and beliefs, it’s known as cognitive dissonance.
It can also occur when we hold conflicting beliefs.
Either way, it causes stress and discomfort and our brains will do anything to ease that pain.
In regards to self sabotage, if you believe you are unworthy of success or happiness …
And then you start making progress towards your goals, that comes with a level of success and happiness … well … insert: cognitive dissonance.
If you operate with the belief that you are not capable of success … then you will not allow yourself to succeed.
I told you this might get uncomfortable.
2. Sense of control
Mel and I were taking a walk yesterday and discussing a client who was experiencing self sabotage tendencies.
She asked my opinion and my answer was “because sometimes people want to keep control of their excuses and failures.”
What does that mean, exactly?
Quite simply, it can feel more manageable to be in control of your failures than having them spiral and catch you off guard.
It’s like the person who holds onto the excuse of not having time but does nothing to change their schedule or priorities.
They are in control of their excuse and it feels better to be in control then run the risk of losing control.
3. Imposter syndrome
We get comfortable with roles and labels. If you’ve never been fit, the idea of having a new label or being noticed is scary.
You may feel like a fraud.
To protect yourself, you may not give it your all for fear of being noticed.
Or, you may go all-in but sabotage yourself the minute you start to gain recognition because it’s counter to the identity you’ve become accustomed to.
4. Blame diversion
What if all your excuses were taken away from you? That’s a vulnerable spot to be in.
No one to blame but yourself … yikes.
Sometimes it feels better to keep those excuses cozy and handy to divert from the real issue.
“I wasn’t successful because I have kids.”
“Obviously I couldn’t reach my goals, I work 60 hours per week.”
“Who has the time to work out for hours and hours?”
If we hold on tight to our excuses, we never have to face ourselves in the mirror.
Change is scary and uncomfortable.
Our brains are built for survival and from an evolutionary standpoint … things that were unpredictable could literally kill us.
So we often seek comfort and predictability. Even if comfort and predictability make us miserable.
This is why people in toxic relationships often have a pattern of toxic relationships … it’s what they know. It’s comfortable and predictable.
That’s how crazy our brains are … they would rather be able to predict being treated like shit than enter the unknown.
6. Chaos creation
Last but not least … we need problems.
Mark Manson describes this way better than I ever could in his book “Everything is Fucked.”
The basic gist is that a utopian society would never exist because we need problems to provide purpose.
If you solved every single problem you face right now, you’d find and create new problems.
Sometimes we self sabotage simply to incite chaos.
Fear of failure is at the root of self sabotage
At the root of each of these manifestations of self sabotage is one commonality …
FEAR of FAILURE.
We fix the root, we cure the disease.
Self sabotage is part of human nature.
Understand how it’s showing up in your life and the underlying cause …
Then, get to work!
It’s no easy process … but it’s necessary for long term success.
If you need guidance and support … this is our wheelhouse at POP.