3 Ways to Overcome Self-Sabotage

Why procrastination is a good sign and how to use it to your advantage.

Written BY

Matt Sandrini

I help entrepreneurs focus & take action.

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March 23, 2020

3 Ways to Overcome Self-Sabotage and Stop Procrastinating on Your Dreams

Sometimes, you’re not even sure if you can trust yourself.

On the one hand, you really want to accomplish your life transformation, you’re excited. On the other hand, though, you always find a way to stop yourself, either by procrastinating or by behaving like you’re not good enough.

That’s exactly what happened to James, an entrepreneur from Boise.

A couple of weeks ago, we were speaking on the phone, and he was about to launch a new product. He seemed really, really excited.

I told him, “The moment we jump off this call, you’re not going to want to do it.”

I knew that he was going to look for more information. He was going to feel like he wasn’t ready. He was going to procrastinate as much as possible instead of taking the right action.

How did I know? He had done that in the past many, many times. And so did I.

Procrastination is a Good Sign

The fact that he had so much resistance for that product launch was actually a good sign. It meant that he cared about it. It meant that the launch was going to create so many opportunities, that he was going to have a lot of change to deal with.

Whenever we are about to work on something that is potentially life-changing, deep inside we know that if it goes well, it will be a big pain in the backside. Success will bring a lot of changes and new challenges to deal with.

Achieving big, exciting goals sound great in theory; but in practice, these achievements will change your lifestyle, reshape your business, shuffle up your challenges. That’s why we say that we want something, but then we behave in the opposite way. We self-sabotage, we procrastinate. We find something else to do, we look for more information, listen to any excuse or, even worse, tell ourselves that we’re not good enough.

Staying stuck with the same challenges you’re familiar makes you feel comfortable. It doesn’t matter how tough our challenges are: We already know how to handle the challenges that we deal with every day.

As the Instagram quote goes…

‘We’d rather be unhappy than uncertain.’

How true is that? Most of us are programmed to opt for something that’s familiar, even if it might cause us pain or discomfort. We struggle to step into a situation out of our comfort zone and might feel that we’re not realising our full potential.

On the surface, we might want to win, we may want to crush our goals, but deep inside we want to stay safe. Winning is exciting, but failing is safe.

That’s why we self-sabotage: We hate change. That being said, here are three steps to help you beat self-sabotage today.

1. Remember Why You Procrastinate

You may procrastinate, look for more information, or tell yourself that you’re not good enough. When that happens, remind yourself of what’s going on: you really care about this. Otherwise, you wouldn’t feel any resistance.

Sabotage is a good sign. When you do this, you’ll feel a lot more empowered and the guilt will go away.

2. Become Familiar With Your Own Self-Sabotage

Do you look for a lot of information? Maybe you consume all of the podcasts, blogs and books so that you don’t have to take actual action. Maybe you tell yourself you’re not good enough or it’s ‘Not the right time’.

Does the negative self-talk begin? Maybe that’s your route to self-sabotage. When you begin to recognise these signs, you can take action and remind yourself:

“This clearly matters to me!”

By recognising what matters to us we can be more deliberate in how we approach that subject.

3. Take Smaller Steps, Consistently

When we are excited about a goal, self-sabotage can manifest in the form of us taking a ton of action and having high expectations about our results. We go from zero to one-hundred in an instant.

For example, in fitness we go from never working out to wanting to go to the gym every day; in business, from nothing to wanting to publish (usually irrelevant) content every day. We make it as easy as possible to fail, and nearly impossible to win.

That’s a way to sabotage our efforts while maintaining a clean conscience at the same time: at least we tried. It’s not us, it just didn’t work out. We’re off the hook.

This is a particularly sneaky way to self-sabotage, because by taking away your responsibility, it takes away your ability-to-respond (see what I did there?).

Commit to actions that are small, and that you can be responsible for. When you take control, you don’t reinforce the narrative that you’re not good enough or that it’s not the right time. You can simply change the strategy.

Take smaller actions and create momentum, then build on it and take bigger and bigger steps. Get used to it in increments, and keep showing up.

Accept Feelings of Resistance

Next time you sabotage yourself, know that it’s a good sign. You’re working on the right things. In my experience, we as people just don’t like change. Analyse how you self sabotage and then take action, move on and win, crush your goals.

Further Reading
This is Why People Aren’t Reading Your Articles
As an owner of a viral publication, there are three vital mistakes I see writers making.
March 28, 2020
The Real Secret to Success is Showing Up
It’s not about how many shots you miss, it’s about how many times you try. The more you try, the better your chances are of succeeding.
March 24, 2020