5 ways to avoid self-sabotage

How are those New Year’s resolutions?

Did you create some goals to positively impact your life but for some reason fell off the wagon?

Did you successfully change your habits for a few weeks but are now right back where you started?

Are you guilty of self-sabotage?

Self-sabotage includes thoughts and behaviors that cause us to destroy progress towards a goal. Self-sabotage can be intentional or unintentional and is related to inner feelings of not being good enough.

We’ve all been there. There was that time you set out to lose weight by eating a healthy diet. You ate clean all day. But when you got home, you consumed a tub of ice cream in less than 5 minutes, sabotaging your diet.

Or the time you put $1,000 into savings for a house down payment- only to spend it two weeks later to attend a concert with friends. You impaired your ability to save for the future.

How about when you started to create new charting habits only to throw them out after an overwhelmingly busy day. You don’t have time to make changes anyways.

These negative thoughts and behaviors generally show up when we are fearful of being at the next level. We fear the hardships associated with growth and therefore subconsciously or consciously tell ourselves we’re not good enough to advance our lives. Self-sabotage is inevitable and expected any time we grow or challenge ourselves.

So how does a nurse practitioner avoid self-sabotage? There are many ways to avoid these negative actions, here are a few of my favorites.

  • Change your inner dialogue. What kind of thoughts are going around in your head? Are you always bringing yourself down with negative thoughts? Do you beat yourself up for making a mistake? Do you believe the limiting beliefs about yourself? Become aware of the negative dialogue, change your inner thoughts to positive ones and you will be less likely to regress with self sabotage.
  • Make it easy to create new habits. Don’t make your resolutions harder than it has to be. If you decide to start eating healthy and avoid junk food, then don’t have cookies in the house! If you want to exercise more, pack your bag to stop by the gym after work before you get home. It’s not so much about lack of self-control as it is making creating new habits easy!
  • Hit the reset button. When you mess up, know it’s ok to hit the reset button. Give yourself grace for a mistake but then hit the reset button. This one is huge. If you find yourself eating that tub of ice cream, hit the reset button. Sure you sabotaged your diet by eating that ice cream but if you don’t reset, you will feel guilty and incapable of achieving your goal, and then eat a whole bag of chips. Am I right? One of the reasons self-sabotage occurs is because our minds are in a state of uncertainty and fear but actually achieving success.
  • Find an outside support/accountability partner. It’s ok to ask for help. Having someone as an accountability partner can help us stay on track. We are less likely to disappoint other people as much as we disappoint ourselves. Check in with your accountability partner and have them get you back on track.
  • Embrace the challenge. Anytime we try something hard and challenge ourselves, we are growing. While the fear and insecurities sky rocket, you have to remember the end goal. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live a mediocre, boring life. I want to grow and challenge myself to reach my true potential. While the fear can hold me back, I choose to work through it in order to reach that end goal. Try embracing the climb up.

Use these tips and tricks to manage the inevitable self-sabotage. The more we can work through these challenges and negative beliefs, the easier it will be to achieve those resolutions!


Erica D the NP is a family nurse practitioner and burnout coach. Erica created The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner to help overwhelmed APRNs create work-life balance, conquer burnout, and advocate for themselves. The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner offers online courses, coaching, and support. Learn more at www.burnedoutnp.com

For time management and charting tips, check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School– The one stop for all documentation resources created specifically for nurse practitioners. Learn more at www.npchartingschool.com

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