Emotional Wellbeing


Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Why are you self sabotaging?

We often have a vision of how we would like to be. Many of us would be quite happy being healthy, not too overweight, doing exercise perhaps, eating healthily etc The reality though is that we often fail to live up to our ideals. We can know what we want to do but doing it can be something else. So why are you self sabotaging?

Reasons for self sabotage


Depression makes it harder to function normally. When you are depressed, motivation goes out the window and you tend to care less about looking after yourself. If you feel low in mood and want to sleeo more and do not enjoy your usual activities it might be a good idea to visit your doctor to see whether you are depressed. This could be one possible reason as to why you are self-sabotaging. Fix the depression and hopefully normal functioning will return.

Lack of self discipline

It can be really tough to hold off on instant gratification for the sake of a long term goal. Sometimes, that dopamine hit reward is just too tempting. If you think you may lack self discipline, start slowly introducing a few more rules into each day. Take small steps because if you go cold turkey all at once you may find it harder to sustain your good progress. If you are eating too much, try to be more self disciplined with one of your meals. Make small adjustments and reward yourself (not with food!) for good progress.

If you’re drinking too much alcohol, some would advocate stopping completely but I would suggest you initially try to reduce gradually, If you feel you are an alcoholic it may be a good idea to find your local Alcoholics Anonymous support group.

If you really struggle to implement discipline on your own, see a life coach or a counsellor to support and guide you along the way. Sometimes having to report in to someone can help immensely.

Low self esteem

Our own belief system can sometimes work against us. If we don;t particularly value ourselves we may find it easier to self sabotage. This can come from a low opinion of ourselves. At tmes, we may believe we don’t deserve good things in our lives. If you think you don’t value yourself much, counselling would be a great way to shift this unhelpful thinking.

Stress overload

When we are really stressed, we become desperate for rewards. Eating, drinking alcohol, sex, gambling etc. all provide short term pleasure and this can be overwhelming when we feel stressed and down. Unfortunately addictive behaviour is growing and many use it as a way to combat stress. The problem is that this will only add to the problems in the long run.

What to do to combat self sabotage

Reach out

I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t self sabotaged at some stage in their lives. It’s very common and nothing to be ashamed of. Getting help is a sign of strength. Allowing the self sabotage to continue to rule your life is unhelpful in the long run. Speak to a friend or your supervisor (if it’s a work related stress issue). If this doesn’t seem a viable option for you, contact a counsellor. There is always someone willing to help you get back on track.

Visualise how good you will feel

Think about how much better you will feel mentally when you eat less, become more healthy or drink less alcohol. You will be freeing yourself from the prison of self sabotage. Just thinking about your future self who is happier and healthier.

Take it one day at a time

Easy does it – one day at a time. Don’t panic if you self sabotage, just carry on as before. We never arrive at perfection but if we can get the self sabotage under control we can feel more in control of our lives.

Mandy X

Photo by Carles Rabada on Unsplash

Scroll to Top