There is stuff I am sure you want to do with your life. New job, new career, new business? Places to go, People to see, Things to do. Right? I would put money on the fact you haven’t done them yet. In fact, I’m digging through my bag to right now find the change to place a bet.

If we were to sit down, over coffee and cake (naturally) and I asked you what you want to do, you will look off into the distance, smile that self-contained smile, and list all the things you want to do.

But it will be attached to a “But”. A list of reasons why it won’t happen.

You declare that you just need to be “more confident”. That having this often discussed trait is the magic fix all for everything.

But what do YOU mean when you say confidence? Is it something practical you can work on, or is it your internal excuse to avoid doing what you want to do.

Is a practical self-reflection you are prepared to work on, or a Bullshit excuse to avoid taking risks?

Sometimes it may be obvious to you, the way you are standing in your own way.  You notice them and take the steps to bridge the gaps.

Often, what is happening though, is procrastination. A way to avoid failure, rejection or even success (and everything that comes with it).

list making self-sabotage

How many of times do you fill your day with busy work (multiple to-do lists anyone), so you feel like you’ve got stuff done, just nothing that pushes you out of your comfort zone.



What about some of these time-old excuses?

“I just haven’t got the time”

“I haven’t got the right experience”

“It’s just not the right time for me”

“I need more support”

Sometimes the reasons you give yourself are real. Case in point; this blog took longer to write than expected mid-typing I had to deal with chasing a cat around the house with a MASSIVE bird in its mouth. That was a real thing.  It took time away from a tight schedule.

How to stop self-sabotage




However, there I times that things linger on my action list longer than they need to, because I am scared of what may happen if I put them out into the world.

So, I pull out the tried and trusted self-sabotage excuse of “I don’t know enough tech to make this work”. Yet, I don’t sit down and work through the 5 million courses I have bought and resources I have pinned to learn. I don’t access what I need, as this keeps providing me with the evidence to the “fact” I don’t know enough.

That is MY self-sabotage laid out bare to you. This is something that I work on, every day!

Your self-sabotage thoughts may lead to more extreme behaviour.

Wanting a new job, but putting in a poor application form so you have no chance of getting it. Forgetting to book into an event so you don’t have to speak to new people. Not responding to an email so you miss a deadline.  Wanting to get fitter but staying up late so you are too tired to exercise.

Any of these ring a bell?

Your self-sabotage may be the number one “red flag behaviour” in the world of personal development and business coaching.


You will persistently dodge hard tasks and intentionally look for distractions. Sound familiar?

How to overcome self-sabotage

The trick in self-sabotage is acknowledging that you are having these self-sabotaging thoughts. Sometimes, life will genuinely get in your way and there are no ways around things. You need to just let that go.

However, if you find yourself frustrated with your life, your health, your relationships and your career, then you must to some hard and fast reflections and check in with the reality of your situation.

The best way to do this is to have a little conversation with yourself, or be honest with your coach or mentor.

Whenever the “reasons” for not getting something done arise, question what YOU can do about it.

“I just haven’t got the time”

What time do I need and what is the most I can do in the time I have available?

“I haven’t got the right experience”

What experience do I have that is relevant? How can I get the experience I need? Does that experience matter?

“It’s just not the right time for me”

What is the worst that can happen if I just start?

“I need more support”

What specific support do I need and how can I get it? Who can I ask?

Before you move onto the next thing today, take some time to jot down the ways you know that you are self-sabotaging. What behaviours do you show, and excuses do you share, to justify staying exactly where you are right now? Make a note of them so next time they pop up in your life you can ask yourself “So What?” and see what happens next.


Come over to The Balance Collective with Clara Wilcox to share what changes you will make. The Facebook group is a 400 + strong group of working parents working to create a work-life balance that works for them.

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