Six Ways To Sabotage Your Success

Everyone has had the experience of self-destructing (David more so than me, of course!) It’s a strange feeling to know that you ruined the very thing you were trying so hard to accomplish—like you sabotaged yourself. We’ve come to discover that most self-sabotage is often the result of discomfort. It can be the discomfort of failing, succeeding, or just doing tasks that are simply uncomfortable.


You may have heard the saying, “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” We like to say, “More is accomplished in the pain cave than the comfort zone.” Unfortunately, most of us are well-practiced in the art of avoiding discomfort. This is the most common way we sabotage our success. 


Here are six ways to sabotage your success:


1. Distractions. The tasks that need to be done in order to be successful are typically less appealing than watching TV, surfing the internet, or spending time with friends. We’re experts at distracting ourselves, and the urge to seek out distractions increases with the unpleasantness of the task.


    • Solution: Allow yourself to have distractions, but control when, and how long, you engage in them. Do NOT give in to distraction addiction where you have to constantly check your phone! Try giving yourself 30 minutes of distraction time after three hours of work. Make it a reward for your hard work. Having a goal like this will keep you moving forward, undistracted.


2. Procrastination. It’s helpful to tell yourself (and those who may work for you) to live by the theme, “I’m going to procrastinate TOMORROW!” Quite simply, procrastination makes you poor—proactivity makes you prosper. If you struggle with constantly putting things off until later, here are some solutions:


      • Be clear on what needs to be done and why. Write it down if necessary.


      • Focus on just getting started, which is often the most challenging part of working.


      • Use a timer and see how much you can accomplish in small chunks of time.


3. Indecisiveness. Indecisiveness is a success killer. When you can’t make up your mind, progress comes to a stop. If you wait until you have all the wisdom and information necessary to make the perfect choice, you’ll be waiting a long time. We call this analysis paralysis—and it’s no good! You have to pull the trigger and move forward.


        • Solution: Be clear on what needs to be done to accomplish your objective. Write it down.


    • Give yourself a time limit. You might give yourself 10 minutes or a full day to decide, depending on how important the decision is. Then just decide and do your best—let the chips fall where they may.


    • Move forward. Then ask God to direct your steps to another course if you’re moving the wrong direction. A ship moving is much easier to steer than a ship sitting still.


4. Negative thoughts. For many people, the closer they get to success, the more negative thoughts they experience. This is why the Apostle Paul encourages us to “take our thoughts captive.” Captives aren’t dead, they’re just not in control. So you’ve got to get control over negative thinking.


      • Solution: Take control of your mind and think thoughts that are useful to you. Just remember, God made you—and He doesn’t make mistakes. So give your best and know He is pleased with effort not just results.


      • Ignore the random noise of your mind. You don’t have to engage with your random thoughts. You can choose to ignore them. 


      • No negative self-talk…like saying, “I’m stupid” or “I’ll never be able to do that…” Eliminate this kind of talk and focus on Scriptures like, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13) or “It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect” (Psalms 18:32).


5. Focus on low-priority tasks. Just because something is productive doesn’t make it profitable. We can mow our lawn and feel incredibly productive, but that’s not going to make our business more profitable. For us, it’s best to outsource the lawn, especially to our kids, so we can focus on the tasks that are truly profitable. 


    • Solution: Have a list of tasks to do each day, ordered from most important to least. Start at the top of your list and work your way down.


6. Quitting. This is the ultimate way to sabotage your success. You can’t achieve anything if you quit before you’re successful. Harvey Dent, in the movie The Dark Knight, said, “The night is darkest just before the dawn.” (He got this from the Bible, by the way) Many people have a habit of quitting right before achieving success. Do NOT let that happen!


      • Solution: Develop the habit of finishing what you start. Avoid caving into the fear that crops up when you’re about to find out if you were successful or not. Remember that you can always try again, regardless of the outcome.


Self-sabotage is a great problem to have because you don’t need to try to change anyone else. In fact, the entire issue is your responsibility! This might sound disheartening, but it’s easier to change yourself than it is to change someone else.


The person responsible for your successes and failures is staring at you in the mirror each day.


Keep these tips in mind as you go through your day and soon, you’ll find yourself enjoying your successes instead of bemoaning your failures!


Here’s a good Scripture to empower you today:  “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31