Self-imposed tyrant: Self-sabotage.

4 min readAug 13, 2020


Self-sabotage is a pattern of behavior that holds us back from what we intend to do. It is when we directly or indirectly take steps to prevent ourselves from achieving our goals. This can be caused by certain things we bring on ourselves or bad habits we developed over time. These habits are the reason it is called Self-sabotage. These habits hinder you from doing the necessary things to improve your life. They are there to make you stagnant. It is a frustrating process and deters us from reaching our full potential.

Here are five reasons we self-sabotage.

Low self-esteem: This is an aftermath of deficient self-worth: when we do not have confidence in ourselves. We talk down on ourselves and do not see the feasibility of achieving set goals. It is what we frequently tell ourselves that we eventually become. Low self — esteem hinders us from making progress. Lisa Jeffs in her article about this topic said: the way we speak to ourselves matters and directly affects how we present ourselves to the world.

Perfectionism: This habit is a long pressing issue. It has prevented a lot of people from achieving their goals. We tell ourselves we have to do things a certain way or we don’t see anything work out. In our bid to always see everything work out before taking action, procrastination becomes the order of the day. Perfectionism takes a negative toll on our productivity, relationship, and every other aspect of our life.

Irresponsibility: Avoiding responsibility and shifting the blame on other things or people is a way of setting ourselves up for failure. This has destroyed a lot of beautiful relationships. We avoid responsibility when we believe we are not going to do well. When we believe we can’t achieve our goals, we start acting in a way that makes us fail. Irresponsibility gives us the chance to neither prepare well nor put in any work. When we eventually fail, our mind tricks us into believing we were right all along. We are swift to complete the cycle: push the blame on something else.

Mediocrity: You know that feeling when we try to justify below average performance? When we find it difficult to strive for excellence? Yeah, it’s a self-sabotage trap. I’m not saying set unattainable goals and try to accomplish them but set small realistic ones and strive to do excellently well with them. Rule out that thought of performing below par. If not, we would constantly set ourselves up for failure and there will be little or no progress in our lives.

Fear of uncertainty: When we don’t know if we will fail or succeed in the project we are working on, we tend to take actions that will stop us from putting our best efforts into the project. The fear of failure is the most frustrating one; we always have reasons as to why we would fail at achieving your goals.

So how do we know we are self-sabotaging? If we can answer some self-evaluating questions and be honest with the answers, we are on our way to rising above this tyrant.

Some of these questions are:

- Do I focus on self-defeating thoughts more?

- Do I avoid what needs to be done and always shifting blames?

- Do I set unrealistic, unattainable goals?

- Do I always procrastinate?

- Do I crave unhealthy external validation?

- What do I do when I fail at a task?

When we answer these questions honestly, we are on our way to take steps to over self-sabotage.

So what can you do? What steps can you take to improve?

Make a list of things that prevent you from doing what you intend to. Set small realistic goals and be firm with them. Let consistency and discipline be your mantra. Develop good habits like diligence, honesty, patience.

List areas where you have succeeded in the past and let it motivate you on your next project. Reward yourself when you succeed at something. Remember that it’s okay to fail. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Break down big projects into small segments. Know when to rest; know when to take a break. Learn to ask for help when you need it.

Be self-confident and do not attach your identity to your achievements and failure. Know you are worth whatever it is because you exist. Practice self-care: emotional, mental, and physical.

I believe that if you make conscious efforts to take these steps, you can overthrow this tyrant called self-sabotage.

Why do you think we self-sabotage?

Kindly let me know.