4 Ways To Overcome Self-Sabotaging Behaviours In The Workplace 

No one wants to admit they self-sabotage, however many of us do! Whether it’s the result of imposter syndrome or the sense that you just don’t deserve to succeed, self-sabotage can be a huge hindrance to your success at work. 

Whether self-sabotaging is something you do or others have merely pointed it out, awareness is the first step towards changing your behaviour for the better. In this article, we will be sharing four ways you can stop self-sabotaging for good and enjoy more success in the workplace. 

What is Self-sabotage?

But firstly, let’s take a look at self-sabotage, what it is and what it means. The term self-sabotage refers to the act of stopping or blocking something so that it doesn’t work or happen as intended. This is often because people fear failure. In fact, 31% of adults fear failure and for many this is driving self-sabotaging behaviours in the workplace. 

Self-sabotage in the workplace can be a hindrance to your success, preventing you from achieving your professional goals and/ or realising your full potential as an individual. And sadly, it can have a significant effect on your personal life too, affecting everything from your relationships to your mental health. 

What causes Self-sabotage

Now that you know what it means to self-sabotage, what exactly is the cause of such behaviour? Well, research shows that self-destructive behaviours like these are a biological response to protect us from disappointment. 

Take the example of the workplace. Often, we set goals for ourselves that help outline what we hope to achieve at work. However, when the time comes to meet these goals, those of us who self-sabotage will find the fear of failure sets in and this, in turn, triggers avoidant behaviours. 

Often, you will find that your values don’t line up with your behaviours. For example, you might want that promotion at work but instead you find yourself taking sick days, avoiding meetings, and turning in low-quality work. 

If you tend to self-sabotage, this article is for you. Let’s take a look at four ways you can stop self-sabotaging so that you can succeed with confidence in the workplace. 

journal your patterns

Whether you’re aware that you tend to self-sabotage or it’s a behaviour others have pointed out to you, it’s unlikely you know exactly what triggers it. This is why it can be helpful to keep a journal. 

By taking the time to write out your goals and journal about them, you may start to notice yourself complaining about the same things over again. This could signify a pattern or thought process that sees you avoiding challenging situations or shying away from achieving your goals. 

There may be many reasons why you revert to self-sabotaging behaviours. For example, you may have experienced childhood trauma or issues with self-confidence. Therefore, you might find yourself resorting to survival strategies that affect your success and forward motion in the workplace. 

create a plan to address negative behaviours

Once you have taken the time to identify patterns in your behaviour and triggers for your self-sabotaging, it is important to create a plan. This will help you take proactive steps towards positive change. 

Let’s take an example. Say you experience stress whenever your boss sends you an email scheduling a meeting. Instead of thinking through all the reasons you can’t go, you should commit to scheduling the appointment in your calendar anyway. 

Addressing your self-sabotaging behaviours in this way can be very effective. Taking action is critical in overcoming self-sabotaging behaviours as it ensures you keep moving towards your goals rather than reverting back to your old behaviours. The more you take proactive steps, the less fear you will experience and the more you will grow in self-confidence.

take care of your mental health

Self-sabotaging behaviours can often be the result of an anxiety disorder or a coping mechanism to help you deal with past trauma. Once you start exploring the reasons behind these behaviours, you may find your mental ill-health has been holding you back from achieving your goals. 

Taking care of your mental health is essential. Whether you need to take a day off, practice mindfulness, be gentle with yourself, or take a break from your phone, giving yourself the time and space you need to take care of your mental health is vital. When your mental health is in a better place, you will likely find your self-sabotaging behaviours reduce. 

Some people find they need professional help to overcome their mental health struggles. This is perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of. As The Centers for Health and Healing share, “Mental health treatment is a multi-step process that involves evaluating, diagnosing, and treating a mental disorder.” 

Seeking mental health treatment will ensure you receive the professional support needed to deal with past traumas, current struggles, and any self-sabotaging behaviours for good. 

speak up

For many people, being open and honest about their insecurities is the last thing they want to do. And this is particularly true for those who self-sabotage. After all, the last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself, your weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

However, speaking up and being honest with people about your fears is one of the most effective ways you can overcome your self-sabotaging tendencies. By communicating with others, whether that’s your friends and family or a trusted work colleague, you can help build accountability and support when and where it’s needed most. This will make all the difference in your journey towards overcoming your self-sabotaging behaviours for good. 

👉 Discover our top tips for effective communication 

Final Words 

So, there you have it – four ways to stop self-sabotaging, and instead become more successful in the workplace. Overcoming your tendency to self-sabotage will ensure nothing gets in the way of you achieving your professional goals – not even yourself! 

Author: Sophie Bishop – Freelance Medical Journalist

Photo credit: Johan Godínez on Unsplash

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