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How To Spot Signs of Self-Sabotaging And What To Do About Them

If you're asking yourself whether or not you’re self-sabotaging, the answer is probably yes. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially in light of the world today, and managing pressure from school, work, and family obligations is always challenging. When you're stressed out, it's easy to fall into bad habits and perpetuate unhealthy cycles of negativity and blame, which only make the stress worse. In order to break the cycle, it's important to first recognize the signs of self-sabotage, and from there, we can learn how to develop productive habits to aid our success and mental well-being. 

[bf_image id="7cczr324b4qzg55wwrsmk9x"] Procrastination is one of the most common signs of self-sabotage. When we procrastinate, we consciously choose to ignore our work and do something often less productive. In my experience, de-stressing and taking a break seems like a good idea at the moment, but the break always ends up being longer than it should be, and when I get back to my work, I feel even more overwhelmed and even more inclined to take another break soon after. It’s easy to laugh with your friends about how you waited till the night before to study, or how you turned something in at the absolute last minute, but in reality, those behaviors are only reinforcing unhealthy habits. Self-discipline is one of the most important things to develop in order to hold yourself accountable and recognize the difference between a well-deserved break and an overindulgent one. 

[bf_image id="tgnpq9xv4473gp8vhx2kgsz"] Though it might sound counterintuitive, perfectionism is also a sign of self-sabotage. When you create unrealistic expectations, you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed. Maybe you quit new things easily if you’re not immediately good at them, or meticulously complete small tasks in the name of “perfectionism” in order to put off more important ones – these are all indications of self-sabotaging behavior. Many people adhere to the false notion that being a perfectionist is a good thing, but it is often discouraging and can also contribute to procrastination. By changing your perception of it, you can better avoid distracting and self-defeating behaviors. 

[bf_image id="r7r5bc9mfp7xkq47wfmqxn"] One of the more relevant forms of self-sabotaging today involves taking on more than you can handle. Flashback to that early-quarantine productivity kick that had everyone rushing to find the best ways to spend their time. I saw remote learning as an opportunity to take as many classes as I possibly could, and while it seemed like a good idea at first, I ended up putting myself in a much more stressful situation than I expected. Maximizing your time and taking on more responsibilities can be a great thing, but you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. When you set boundaries, you can prevent something from getting out of hand and becoming detrimental.

[bf_image id="qdjde7-a4v140-12peae"] In a world full of immediately gratifying distractions and the overwhelming social pressure to succeed, it’s easy to lose track of long-term goals and find subtle ways to undermine them. While it’s normal to self-indulge sometimes, constantly doing so can hinder your ability to fulfill small-scale responsibilities and, ultimately, your greater aspirations. Recognizing counterproductive patterns is the first step to preventing self-sabotage and rebuilding positive behaviors. Take a step back every once in a while, have a sip of water, and make sure you’re reinforcing healthy habits. 

Audrie is a fourth-year student from Honolulu, Hawaii, majoring in Human Biology Society and minoring in Anthropology. Her favorite things to talk about are self-care, brunch, and her cat. She also really loves the beach and anything matcha flavored! In her free time, you can catch her shopping for records, books, and Trader Joe's snacks.
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