How to Stop Sabotaging Yourself - Deepstash
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Sabotaging yourself

Sabotaging yourself

Sabotaging yourself and your relationships create unnecessary pain and self-generated stress.

To stop sabotaging yourself, you must first recognize when you’re getting in your own way. You need to figure out your patterns of behavior and then find creative ways to counteract them and form new habits.

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Know your typical thinking patterns

Our personality and life experiences predispose us to dominant modes of thinking, but these can be biased in ways that are unhelpful in the majority of situations.

Maybe you tend to worry people are angry at you when usually this isn’t the case. Or you tend to hesitate too much in making decisions.

When you thoroughly understand your personal thinking errors, you’ll be able to correct these, and this will become easier and almost automatic with practice.            

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Prioritize one-time behaviors that reduce stress

Streamline your workflow so you can get simple things done without significant willpower.

For example, instead of having a container for pens and scissors in only one room of the house, have these in three different rooms to ensure better tidying.

Strategies like these save time and, more importantly, help free you up mentally.

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Use heuristics (rules of thumb) for decision making

Decision making is hugely draining.  If you can reduce cognitive fatigue from decision making, you’ll have more emotional energy for other things.

“Rules of thumb” is aimed at producing a good outcome most of the time with minimal case-by-case effort. “If I’m going to run out in less than two weeks, order it online now.”

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Love incremental improvements

A paradox perfectionists face in trying to reduce self-sabotage is their tendency to have inflexible standards and be dismissive of incremental gains.

When you start to appreciate the beauty of making incremental improvements, you’ll see easy solutions that you’d previously been overlooking. Over time, even tiny improvements add up significantly.

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Combat avoidance and procrastination

  • Use project to-do lists to outline every step involved in a particular project.
  • Shrink relatively unimportant tasks to the bare minimum required for getting them done. 
  • Try “last things first.” Sometimes the typical final steps in a task are easier to start with than the typical first steps.
  • Pretend you’re going to outsource a task and write the instructions you’d give someone else. 

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Understand your seemingly irrelevant decisions

“Seemingly irrelevant decisions” comes from treatment for addiction: a recovering alcoholic might decide to call an old drinking buddy, just to say hello or for a game of basketball, and soon finds that this minor decision takes them down the slippery slope of resuming alcohol abuse.

You can use this same concept to understand much less destructive, but still sabotaging, behaviors. You can also learn what makes it more likely you’ll do positive, wanted behaviors

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Practice acceptance and self-care

Sometimes people get into a trap of thinking, “When I’m being more self-disciplined or more productive, then I’ll do more self-care.” But, if you’ve run yourself to empty, try it the other way around.

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I salute those people who smile despite all of their problems.

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