Learn From The Smartest Millionaire Minds in Business

The Amusement Park Dilemma: How To Beat Self-Sabotage

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There’s nothing merry about being on a Ferris wheel of self-sabotage, but how do you stop that wheel from turning so you can get off the ride and walk toward success?

If you've been noticing a pattern where you set a big, ambitious goal…

You feel motivated, empowered, and passionate…

But as soon as you start making progress, you engage in behaviors that stall or reverse everything you’ve done.

If this has been happening to you, and you don’t know how to break free from this self-sabotage cycle…

Then look at it like this…

Self-doubt does more to sabotage individual potential than all external limitations put together. -Brian Tracy

Finding What You’re Looking For

Imagine you're at an amusement park for the day, and your ultimate goal is to win one of those large, appealing stuffed toy bears as a grand prize.

To win this big prize, you need to accumulate points by succeeding at various games around the park.

You plan to start with the Ring Toss, move on to the Shooting Gallery, and finally tackle the challenging Water Gun Race – each game offering a chance to earn significant points toward that huge stuffed bear.

However, as you're heading towards the Ring Toss, you notice a sign that says “Free Cotton Candy”, at a stand nearby…

The immediate temptation of the sweet treat is strong.

Thinking it'll only take a moment, you detour for some cotton candy.

But by the time you finish enjoying your treat, the lines for your planned games have grown significantly longer.

You end up spending more time waiting and less time playing, and your chances of accumulating enough points for the bear are pretty much gone.

Our biggest enemy is our own self-doubt. We sabotage our greatness because of our fear. -Robin Sharma


This scenario mirrors how we often handle our bigger life goals.

Instant gratification is one of the main causes of self-sabotage.

And we're all susceptible to the allure of instant gratification, much like the distraction of free cotton candy.

This can lead us to make decisions that feel good in the moment but ultimately sabotage our long-term objectives.

For many of us stuck in 9 to 5 jobs and dreaming of greater freedom through wealth and entrepreneurship, it's easy to get sidetracked by immediate pleasures or the comfort of routine… losing sight of our larger goals.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of instant gratification and go back again and again to the self-sabotage cycle.

All of our actions can signify self-love or self-sabotage. -Sharon Salzberg

Getting Off the Carrousel

So the question is…

How do you get out of this cycle?

Here are a few tips:

1 - Recognize Your Distractions

  • Be aware of what draws your attention away from your long-term goals. 
  • Is it scrolling through social media, binge-watching TV series, or perhaps overindulging in comfort food? 
  • Acknowledge these as your 'cotton candy.'

2 - Prioritize Your Actions

  • Keep a clear vision of your 'big stuffed toy bear' – whether it's starting your own business, investing in real estate, or creating a passive income stream. 
  • Let this vision guide your daily actions.

3 - Plan for Temptations

  • Anticipate situations where you might be tempted by instant gratification and plan how to deal with them. 
  • Setting strict time limits on leisure activities can help you stay on track.

4 - Reward Your Progress

  • While it's important to avoid unnecessary distractions, rewarding yourself for actual progress toward your goals can reinforce positive behavior and keep you motivated.

Knowing others is intelligence. Knowing yourself is true wisdom. -Lao Tzu

Just like in the amusement park, life offers many distractions that can lead us away from what we truly want…

By understanding the nature of self-sabotage and learning to manage our desires for instant gratification, we can stay focused on our bigger objectives.

Remember, it's about choosing to stay in line for the big games, even when the cotton candy stands of life are tempting us away… so we can ensure we eventually win the prize we truly desire.

All self-sabotage, lack of belief in ourselves, low self-esteem, judgements, criticisms, and demands for perfection are forms of self-abuse in which we destroy the very essence of our vitality. -Deborah Adele

Conclusion: From Self-Sabotaging to Self-Steering

Everyone has fears, but our reasonable fears exist solely to ensure our mortal survival, so we don’t step into a hole in the ground and break a leg as an example.

Sadly many experiences we had during childhood, growing up, and venturing out into the wide open world may have left us traumatized to varying degrees, stripping us of confidence and a desire to unleash our potential because of fears instilled in us about certain things.

In psychology, the general term for self-sabotage is known as ‘behavioral dysregulation’ which, depending on the person’s levels of self-awareness, can be active or passive, and conscious or unconscious.

Four very common limiting core beliefs people have that prevent them from thriving, conceal themselves in self-sabotaging behaviors…

You might recognize these behaviors in your own life, or in the life of someone close to you, as the FEAR of:

  1. Success
  2. Uncertainty
  3. Ridicule
  4. Failure

For this reason, if you have a desire to succeed personally or professionally, it would serve you well to prioritize your wellness as a whole being, not merely focus on parts of who you are.

You have a greater chance of success when you start with your mindset, addressing the reasons behind why you’re not living your best life yet.

It is estimated that around 1 in 100 people have 'borderline personality disorder', which is the personality most associated with self-sabotaging behaviors.

Interestingly, most people who have a form of ‘behavioral dysregulation’ don’t even know they have an issue, let alone how to transform it.

So when you do decide to start your journey of personal optimization, you can discover what holds you back and work towards improving your life from the inside out.

Because we always find what we actively seek, and our perspective, beliefs, values, and inner dialogue all together create the world we experience.

But you can choose what you allow in your life, how you regulate your behaviors, and how you restructure your patterns.

You may have to jump through some hoops to learn the skills necessary to make the changes you desire, and you may have to swop out some old habits for better ones, and you're encouraged to embrace these challenges if you'd like things to be different.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Self-Sabotage

Has your Mind ever wondered…

What is self-sabotage? 

When you act in ways that prevent you from being successful, that stop you from setting and achieving goals, and that get in the way of experiencing a fulfilling and satisfying life by doing, or choosing not to do, certain things, you may be sabotaging yourself.

The behavior of self-sabotage interferes with long-term objectives, creating an array of problems in one’s daily life which affect professional and personal growth and success, as well as mental health, adversely.

More common displays of this conduct include procrastination, overindulgence of forms of self-medication, entertainment, foods or substances, and even self-harm to different degrees.

What is the psychological profile of someone who self-sabotages?

It is believed that self-sabotaging behavior is symptomatic of low self-esteem, which stems from fear and ultimately creates a need for distraction.

At the core, and whether or not anxiety disorders or experiences of trauma are at play, poorly developed coping skills play a major role in perpetuating the pattern of self-sabotage.

If you can reframe the situation as an opportunity to learn and grow beyond limitations by strengthening your mindset and self-efficacy, you can reinforce your levels of self-confidence.

How do you fix self-sabotage?

When you apply awareness and observation, you can recognize the patterns and behaviors that limit you and choose to replace unsupportive habits with supportive ones.

Monitoring and correcting your inner dialogue is crucial, so instead of indulging in self-criticism, replace that pattern with self-compassion. 

Make sure you create an environment of support if you experience mental health challenges so you can face and manage those moments of chaos to restore clarity.

Having goals and reflecting on your dreams and desires can help you stay on track as a reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Life as we know it may be circus but we don’t have to be clowns for the sake of entertaining ourselves or others, so engage with what empowers and inspires you to greatness.

The formula for beating self-sabotage is a simple and doable one (and yes, not always easy which is why it takes practice to master)...

Recognize what knocks you off course, prioritize what is important to do to achieve your goals, anticipate that distraction will come looking for you so plan your time accordingly, and of course, reward your efforts for every milestone you reach.

Learn how to stop being afraid to say no to the people, situations, distractions, and habits that have no place in the rarified air you’re aiming for.

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Rosa Rodriguez

Really happening

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It was like ring to finger for me, focus and action solution to the problem. Thank you!

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This is very much useful

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I am always easily distracted with almost everything but now I have learnt to keep my sights straight focusing on my goals until it's achieved

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This article is packed with geat information.

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This article is factual and gives great advice.

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End of a Sabotage ERA

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These days I feel that I sabotage myself. It was a good article to wake up and overcome the bad thinking and poor motivation. I hope that from now on I will chase my dreams. Thank you.

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Good read

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For me it was trying to make everything perfect in my life and my future. I had to realize that in life everything is not going to go MY WAY and now I accept that, and if you feel that way maybe you should too 🙂

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Nguettia Kouassi

Hyper intéressant et utile ! [Translated from French: Super interesting and useful!]

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En cours de lecture actuellement du livre de James Clear intitulé j'avoue que c'est une richesse de connaissance cet ouvrage.

Merci à vous pour cet article enrichissant !

[Translated from French: Currently reading James Clear's book entitled I admit that this work is a wealth of knowledge.

Thank you for this enriching article!]

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Robin Granda

Excelente [Translated from Spanish: Excellent]

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Es muy importante reconocer y actuar para que haya un gran cambio en nuestras vidas. Excelente contenido!

[Translated from Spanish: It is very important to recognize and act so that there is a big change in our lives. Excellent content!]

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Enesekriitilsuse vähendamine [Translated from Estonian: Reducing self-criticism]

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Väga huvitav artikkel. Kuigi mul on küllalt kõrge enesehinnang, kindel eesmärk seatud, siis peaksin vähendama enesekriitilisust. Olen liiga karm enese vastu ja pürgin elus edasi ilma tugiseltskonnata. Nagu öeldakse tihti üksinda lahinguväljal. Kuid samas on ka öeldud, et inimesele pannakse õlgadele täpselt niipalju kui ta suudab kanda.Peale seda artikli lugemist pani mind rohkem mõtlema sellele, et peaksin usaldama ka teisi ja osata abi paluda. Tänan !

[Translated from Estonian: Very interesting article. Although I have a fairly high self-esteem, a certain goal has been set, I should reduce self-criticism. I am too hard on myself and push forward in life without a support group. As they often say, alone on the battlefield. But at the same time, it has also been said that a person is put on their shoulders exactly as much as they can carry. After reading this article, it made me think more about the fact that I should also trust others and know how to ask for help. Thank you!]

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I am in the process of reading success principles by Jack Canfield....The thoughts resonates with him and put in a convincing manner.

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Very helpful ...

Thanks for penning.

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This is really what I wanted to read

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I have a big problem because I distracted myself too much with social media and series, then right now I stopped doing that, and now I'm doing the outreach for my business first.

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