who needs enemiesSelf-sabotaging behavior is any thing you do that holds you back, keeps you from being your best self.

Self-sabotaging behavior is rarely 100% negative; there is usually a short term payoff. Trouble is, by definition, the long term consequences far outweigh the short term benefits. So why do we indulge? Because the one benefit is upfront, in our face, immediate, real. The consequences are down the road, almost like they belong to someone else. Our present self gets the benefit, some future self gets to pay the price.

Since self-sabotaging behavior often springs from negative self-defeating thoughts and emotions, self awareness is key. A helpful exercise is to list any self-sabotaging behavior and create a four box diagram. The top two boxes represent the pros and cons of self sabotaging behavior’ the bottom two boxes represent the pros and cons of NOT doing the behavior. Fill in as many pay offs and negatives as you can. Take your time, the benefit is directly related to the effort. When you are finished, review and contemplate. Then put it aside for at least 24 hours and review it again, adding any additional pros and cons which may have come to mind.

The key is to recognize the triggers: the situations, emotions, thoughts, people, stimuli, feelings that prompt self-destructive behavior. Knowing your personal triggers for negative behavior allows you to “head them off at the pass” preferably by substituting a positive behavior that address much or all of the same need: organized evening sports vs. happy hour; fresh fruit in lieu of processed snacks, a good walk or bike ride instead of plopping down on the couch. Find friends, make social engagements (running groups, karate or yoga class, book reading circle, bridge club) that will support you in a new, healthy life.

Release your brakes, be on your own side, believe in your greatness, and he fullness of life is waiting for you.

Closing quotes:

“Resistance by definition is self-sabotage.”  — Steven Pressfield; 1943–, “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles”

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

“Self sabotaging thoughts, behaviors, and feelings create a block in the road to success even when there is no rational or logical explanation as to why you cannot achieve your goals.”  — Dr. Daniel G. Amen,  “Don’t Shoot Yourself In The Foot”