Subconscious Reprogramming

11 Signs of Self Sabotaging Behavior

written by: Adreanna Santos     |     September 4, 2023

Black and white image of woman with a text overlay that says Signs of Self Sabotaging Behavior

What are the signs of self sabotaging behavior?

Let's dive into a topic that's close to so many of our hearts: the sneaky ways we sometimes sabotage ourselves without even realizing it.

We've all been there – feeling like we're stuck in a loop of missed opportunities and unfulfilled potential. Self-sabotaging behavior is a common challenge many of us face. It can manifest in different ways, from procrastination to people pleasing, and can have an immense impact on our lives.

Well, it's time to shed light on these patterns so we can finally break free and reach for the stars. Recognizing the signs of self-sabotage is the first step towards taking action and making positive changes. Here are 11 common signs you might be engaging in self-sabotaging behavior and what to do about them.

Self Sabotage Gif

11 Signs of Self Sabotaging Behavior

1. Negative Self-Talk and Self-Criticism

You know that little voice in your head that always seems to point out your flaws?

Yep, that's negative self-talk, and it's a classic sign of self-sabotage. When we constantly berate ourselves, we erode our self-esteem and confidence, making it harder to tackle challenges head-on.

This negative self-talk is often rooted in underlying self-criticism, which can result in feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.

The key to counteracting this behavior is to become aware of the underlying beliefs driving these thoughts, and then consciously reframe them into a more positive outlook.

RELATED: 8 Practical Ways To Be Kind To Yourself, No Matter What Life Throws At You

2. Procrastination and Perfectionism

Oh, procrastination, my old friend!

Procrastination – putting off what you know needs to be done – can be another sign of self-sabotage. It might feel good to delay things, but deep down, we know it's holding us back.

And perfectionism? Well, it's like a sneaky cousin of procrastination, whispering that we shouldn't even try unless we can do it flawlessly. It's easy to fall into the trap of perfectionism, where tasks are delayed because they don't feel perfect or up to our standards.

Both of these behaviors keep us from moving forward.

To break free from this pattern, it's important to recognize our limitations and strive for progress, rather than perfection.

RELATED: Hello Perfectionism, My Old Friend | The Struggle of Letting Go of Perfectionism

3. Fear of Failure and Success

Isn't it weird how we can be equally afraid of both failing and succeeding? The fear of failure can paralyze us, while the fear of success messes with our heads – "What if I can't handle the pressure?" It's like a double whammy of self-sabotage.

Sometimes we might fear failure so much that it prevents us from even trying in the first place.

On the other hand, there is also the fear of succeeding – when we feel like success isn't something we deserve or are worthy of having. Both these fears can limit our willingness to take risks and explore new opportunities.

The key is to become aware of the underlying beliefs driving these patterns, and then take small steps outside your comfort zone to begin challenging them.

4. Avoidance of Responsibilities

Ever find yourself avoiding tasks and responsibilities until they snowball into a mountain?

Yeah, that's a classic move in the self-sabotage playbook. We convince ourselves we're not ready, not good enough, so we hide from what needs to be done.

Avoiding responsibilities often goes hand in hand with procrastination, but it can also be driven by feelings of guilt or inadequacy.

Stepping up to the plate can feel daunting, so it's important to break down tasks into smaller steps and focus on making progress over perfection.

11 Signs of Self Sabotaging Behaviors

5. Setting Unrealistic Goals

Dreaming big is awesome, but setting goals that are galaxies away from reality can set us up for disappointment.

While aiming high is great, setting unrealistic expectations can set us up for failure and disappointment. When we repeatedly fall short of these sky-high expectations, we're inadvertently reinforcing a sense of failure.

Striking a balance between ambition and attainability is key – strive for progress, not perfection.

6. People Pleasing and Boundary Issues

Hands up if you're a people-pleaser!

People-pleasing is closely related to self-sabotage, as it often means neglecting our own needs in order to please others. While it's wonderful to make others happy, neglecting our own needs to do so isn't.

And those boundary issues? They're like holes in our self-respect fences.

It's important to remember that it's OK to say "no" and set boundaries with others, so we can prioritize our own needs.

RELATED: 9 Reasons Why You Struggle to Say ‘No’

7. Comparison and Jealousy

In the age of social media, comparison is practically a national sport. But constantly measuring ourselves against others can zap our self-worth faster than you can say "Instagram likes."

Comparing ourselves to others is a surefire way to diminish our confidence and self-worth.

And don't even get me started on jealousy – it's like a poisonous vine that strangles our happiness and can make us act in ways we wouldn't usually consider.

It's important to remember that comparison is an illusion and strive for progress rather than perfection.

11 Signs of Self Sabotaging Behaviors
Empowering quote about about living our best life

8. Resisting Help and Support

Raise your hand if you're guilty of thinking you have to do everything alone.

Raises hand guiltily

Trust me, you're not alone in this!

Refusing help or support might feel noble, but it's just another way we sabotage our progress.

Sometimes it can be difficult to ask for help or accept support from others. This may be rooted in fear, shame, or even pride – but whatever the case, it's important to remember that we don't have to do it all alone.

Seeking support from family, friends, and professionals can be invaluable in overcoming challenges and breaking free from self-sabotaging behavior.

9. Overthinking and Analysis Paralysis

Picture this: You're stuck at a crossroads, analyzing every possible outcome until your brain hurts. That's overthinking, my friend, and it's a surefire way to stay stuck in one spot.

Overthinking can lead us into a spiral of analysis paralysis – when there is so much thinking involved that it becomes impossible to make a decision.

It's essential to recognize this pattern and take proactive steps to manage overthinking tendencies. This can include setting aside time for brainstorming and problem-solving, or engaging in activities that help you switch off from your thoughts.

10. Undermining Personal Relationships

Ever found yourself sabotaging your relationships because you're convinced you're unworthy of love and support? Guilty as charged!

It's time to break free from this cycle and start fostering healthier connections.

Self-sabotaging behavior can also manifest in our relationships – often due to underlying issues like low self-esteem and fear of abandonment.

To break free from these patterns, it's important to become aware of the underlying beliefs driving them and focus on improving communication skills and emotional intelligence.

RELATED: 9 Ways Fear of Judgement is Showing Up in Your Relationships

11. Lack of Self-Care and Burnout

Taking care of ourselves often falls to the bottom of the to-do list. But neglecting self-care leads to burnout, and let's face it – burnt-out you isn't the best version of you.

Prioritizing self-care is essential if we want to break free from the cycle of self-sabotage – take time for yourself and do things that nourish your body, mind, and spirit.

RELATED: SELF CARE vs. SELF LOVE: What’s the Difference?


So there you have it, friends! These signs of self-sabotaging behavior might feel familiar, but recognizing them is the first step toward positive change. By recognizing our underlying beliefs and taking proactive steps to make positive changes, we can create lasting transformation in our lives. With awareness and effort, anything is possible!

So now that you know the 11 signs of self-sabotaging behavior, what will you do to break free from these patterns?

Start by reflecting on the signs and become aware of any self-sabotaging tendencies you might have. Then make a conscious effort to challenge them – for example, practice positive affirmations or set smaller goals that are achievable and within your reach. Remember, change is possible – all it takes is a little bit of willingness and effort!

We all deserve to live our best lives, free from the constraints we unknowingly place on ourselves. It won't be an overnight transformation, but with awareness and effort, we can rewrite the script and thrive. Let's break those self-sabotaging chains and unleash our true potential – together!

Book a personalize hypnotherapy session

If you're looking for personalized help to break free from self-sabotage, I'm here to help! With a 1:1 hypnotherapy session, we can dive deep and discover the underlying patterns driving your behavior. We'll tackle them head-on and create lasting transformation in your life – one step at a time.

Ready to take the leap and break free from your self-sabotaging patterns? Then book your 1:1 hypnotherapy session today and let's begin!

I’m an expert at subconscious reprogramming, a nerd when it comes to human behavior, and my obsession is teaching others how to be their best selves (without all of the resistance and self-sabotage).

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I'm Adreanna.

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