The Enemy Within: Why Do We Sabotage and Distance Ourselves from Our Goals Even More?

by admin updated on Oct 2018

We all want to do well in life, right? To succeed and get all the praise, success and money we’ve ever dreamed of. Yet there’s one person who will try to get in your way more than anybody else – yourself.

NOBODY is as good as you at finding ways to sabotage your life. A lot of the time we don’t even realize when we’re doing this. Sometimes you might find it hard to get motivated and do what you’re supposed to – you might laze around watching TV instead or go out to socialize, or even lie in bed doing nothing. All of this is self-sabotage. But WHY do we do it?

The Reasons

There are so many different reasons for this behavior that I can’t even list them all here for you without running out of space. Generally, though, these reasons can be traced back to the same root causes – low self-esteem and lack of confidence/belief. This lack of belief and worth makes us think (deep down) that we either don’t deserve to succeed or don’t have the ability to.

In either case, the result is that we put off work or do a bad job. Have you ever come across a person who was great at their job but just couldn’t get it together to meet deadlines, or turn up on time? This is classic self-sabotaging behavior. The person in question doesn’t see themselves or their work as adequate. To avoid being given even more work, responsibilities or even a promotion, they make themselves seem worse at their job by missing deadlines and turning up late. The kicker is that these people usually don’t even know that they’re sabotaging themselves!

Subconscious Feelings

How can somebody harm themselves without even knowing, I hear you ask? Well, it’s because these feelings of inadequacy and lack are deeply rooted within the person. They’ve been created throughout the person’s life, often throughout their early childhood, and they’ve since grown and adapted to those feelings. Nowadays they don’t even know they’re there or the effects these feelings are having.

Mental and emotional stress during childhood often cause these kinds of feelings where people don’t feel good enough or are intimidated by taking the next step. They want to remain in control of their lives, as they are now, and not take the risk of entering the unknown or being overwhelmed by bigger and bigger tasks. Until this point, they’ve done fine and they want to keep it that way.

Unknown to them, they’re only comfortable in the current position because they’ve already been there and know they can handle it. Here they feel in control and know what to expect, so it isn’t stressful. Taking this from someone and thrusting them into a new, stressful situation is not something most people would call a good time. Logically we know we have to enter the unknown to succeed, but to some people, it’s just too scary – so they harm their chances without ever consciously realizing it.


See this self-sabotage basically comes down to self-protection. If we avoid the unknown and avoid potentially overwhelming situations, then we never have to step out of our comfort zones or be challenged. That means we avoid possible failure and looking bad. Likewise, by doing things like procrastinating or not being punctual, we create a scapegoat for why we didn’t succeed. After all, it feels a lot better to blame time-keeping or an unfair deadline for not getting ahead than it does to say “my work wasn’t good enough”, doesn’t it? This goes so far as to not even take the chance by doing the work, just in case it isn’t good enough!

The problem is that without stepping out of the comfort zone, without challenging ourselves and being afraid, we can’t ever grow. Growth and success mean being uncomfortable sometimes, it means challenging yourself and taking the chance on something bigger. The thing most of us don’t realize when sabotaging is that taking the chance is never as bad as we think it could be. After all, failure is only a checkpoint on the way to success…