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11 ways you sabotage your own success

Ever notice how Barry in Accounting always seems to have the worst luck, and nothing ever goes his way. He misses the promotion, he has Seinfeld Syndrome with women he dates and whenever he tries to move out of his parents’ home something always comes up to stop him. It’s not his fault either; it’s just the way his life goes. Or is it?

People rarely mean to sabotage themselves and it isn’t often a conscious decision. People who are chronic self-saboteurs are experts with excuses and a whole host of other issues. Are you guilty of any of the traits below?


Making excuses

Sabotage tactic: You’re just “too busy”, the time isn’t right, perhaps later in the year, you can’t spare the cash. Sound familiar?

Solution: If you really want to do something, quit the excuses and DO IT NOW! Take even the smallest step towards that goal and you will be a massive way ahead of where you were yesterday. If you think about something more than once or twice a month just get on that horse and ride into the distance already!


Thinking “What’s the point”

Sabotage tactic: I am so far away from where I want to be that it is impossible, why even try, I’m not going to get there.

Solution: Do you think Barack Obama woke up as a 5 year old and said “Today I am going to work towards being the first African American President of the US of A? Hell no, he would have gone back to bed and cried into his teddy bear pillow. If your goal is massive, you need to break that bad boy down to monthly, weekly, daily and even hourly tasks. Kick “overwhelm” to the curb!


Busy-ness (aka being fake busy)

Sabotage tactic: You have a thousand things to do and 20 minutes to do them all. You start on something but then spend the next 19 minutes checking out high school crushes on Facebook. When someone asks how you are you respond “Oh I am just sooo busy, a million things to do and no time!” and in reality you don’t have a thousand things to do, you have 3 and the other 997 are fake busy tasks that don’t have any real impact on your life.

The solution: Quit saying “I’m busy”, it’s not cool to be out of control and lack time management skills, I don’t know why that’s the go to bragging phrase. Commit to taking care of business (actual real stuff) in manageable blocks of time, then you can spend 19 minutes snooping around on Facebook.


Not creating a path of least resistance

Sabotage tactic: You make it hard for yourself to make change. You decide you’re going to get up early to work out. You end up going to bed at 1am after binge watching the newest show on Netflix. Once your alarm goes off at 6am you realize you don’t know where your workout gear is and now it’s raining. The bed is calling and you slope back in for a few more zzz’s.

The solution: Create a path of least resistance. Make it as easy as possible to do the thing you want to do. Imagine the alternative, you go to bed at 10pm and when the alarm goes off you jump out of bed to see your work out clothes right in front of you, in fact your feet even land inside your shoes when you swing them onto the floor. You’ve already loaded up an awesome track list to get you pumped and checked the weather last night, knowing it’s going to rain you have your car keys ready to jump into the gym down the road.

Being Comfortable

Sabotage tactic: Living a life where you never do things that scare you or make you feel uncomfortable. If you’re not uncomfortable on a regular basis, you’re not growing.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
Nelson Mandela

Solution: If you had your dream life what would it look like? What is stopping you for working towards that life? Fear? Take a step towards the things you’re afraid of, embrace them; make it your mission to be uncomfortable knowing that you are learning so much from those experiences!

Someday: it never comes

Sabotage tactic: Yes! I am going to work towards my dream life, starting next week, this week I am too busy.

Solution: By getting specific about our goals we are holding ourselves accountable and those dreams exponentially more likely to become a reality.  Create a vision board with the things you will achieve before the end of the year. What can you do this week, today? Carpe Diem, you could be dead soon.

Analysis paralysis – done is better than perfect

Sabotage tactic: So you have decided to make some changes and the prudent thing is to research. This is an awesome time for a self sabotage. Researching, researching and more researching. You will end up researching until the next ice age and not actually take any action.

The solution: Do something, anything. Even if it’s terrible and you’re embarrassed by it. You will improve in time and months or years of research won’t teach you how to get better after failing. You fell the first time you tried to walk as a child, you fell off your bike many times when you were first learning, so why is any other situation in life different? It’s not! Done is better than perfect!

Acting small

Sabotage tactic: Telling yourself “I’m just not the type of person who does things like that”, “I could never achieve that, it’s not in my nature”.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Albert Einstein

The solution: Who the heck are you to decide you’re not worthy? Imagine if all of the most inspirational thought leaders, inventors, artists, activists said “I can’t do that” then it would be true and we would never see their greatness. You can make a decision if you’re the type of person to be great…or not.

Surrounding yourself with average people

Sabotage tactic: All of your friends are worse off than you and in comparison you feel like a rock star and don’t feel any need to develop yourself or reach for your goals. Your friend circle doesn’t inspire you, you regularly engage in negative talk and are trying to lift them out of a funk.

The solution: You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Search for a mentor; ditch those friends who only pull you down. Surround yourself with people who are engaging, successful, inspirational and kind.

Caring what people think

Sabotage tactic: Thinking of what Aunt Marge is going to say if you quit your day job to become a punk rock journalist. What will people on Facebook think if I take a leap and fail? My old colleagues will be thinking “I told you so”.

The solution: Who gives a crap what a bunch of strangers think about you? All day long people are walking around worrying what everyone else thinks of them when in reality the rest of the world is doing the same damn thing. It’s a big fat waste of mental energy and when you’re on your deathbed you won’t give a rats ass that someone once told you your idea was stupid (especially if that idea created tremendous success for you!).

The third path not being an option

Sabotage tactic: Something bad happens and there are two choices, go on a spiral of downward negativity or try and stick with status quo.

Solution: Most people don’t go for the third option: growth. Something rubbish happened? What can you learn from it? How can things get better from here? You have a choice to go for the third option!

Do not look where you fell but where you slipped. - African Proverb