7 Keys to Stop Self–Sabotaging

Written by Sheri Riley — Certified Personal Development and Leadership Coach, and Founder of Exponential Living©


If you’ve never had a moment in your life where you self sabotaged, you may want to stop reading this. This information is only for those of us who have made choices, intentionally or unconsciously that hindered our forward movement.

Some examples of how I have minimized my progress are:

1. I didn’t make a phone call that could’ve advanced my career because I talked myself out of doing it. (And ended up doing some “busy” work instead)

2. I had an idea that I knew was really, really good, but before I discussed it with anyone else, I convinced myself of the reasons it would never work. (Come on, I am NOT the only one that’s done this)

3. I settled for less than what I really wanted. (This speaks to so many areas of self sabotaging…)

I have done all of the above and more. The best way I can describe my form of self sabotage is through an analogy. I was like an Olympic sprinter who would come in first place for all of my races. Then in the Olympics, right before I would cross the finish line to win the gold medal, I would stop and let everyone cross in front of me. Then I would get mad when they didn’t come back and help me cross the finish line. The truth is… that was not their responsibility. I had everything I needed and had worked hard enough to cross the finish line on my own. But I would self sabotage.

I would convince myself that helping other people cross before me was the right thing to do. After all, I am a life strategist. I am gifted to help other people succeed. And yes, this is right, but not the truth. The truth is I am supposed to cross the finish line first and then lead others by example. I can help more people when I help myself first. So can you!!!!

Sometimes our victory isn’t from crossing the finish line first. Sometimes what makes us winners is CROSSING the finish line, period. When all we really wanted to do was quit.

Self sabotaging is different from quitting. Quitting means you choose to come completely out of the game. When you self sabotage, you are still in the game, you are just hindering your own success.

To overcome self sabotaging, I had to TRULY believe in myself. This is more than just confidence in my abilities or being driven to succeed. This is a deep rooted belief that allowed me to stand for myself, while carrying the weight of others.

I had to overcome what Marianne Williamson identifies as our deepest fear. She shares that our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

I realized that I made many choices in my life that minimized my achievements because to win means I have to live in the fullness of ME and ALL that GOD ordained me to BE. And that was just a little too frightening.

I have grown to understand that I don’t have to have all the answers, do everything perfectly, win every battle or even overcome every fear. Many times to win, all I need is a little more courage than fear. I just need a little more hope to keep pressing when I want to quit. And there are those moments, when I just need to go to bed and get some rest.

Here are seven keys I’ve discovered that allow me to cross my finish line every time.

7 Keys to stop self sabotaging

1. Declare what you want
2. Make achieving it nonnegotiable
3. Accept that everything you need is inside of you
4. Discern who you allow to join your journey
5. Stop complaining
6. Appreciate the lessons
7. Express gratitude for the victories

There are so many moments in my life where I could have accomplished more and achieved it faster, but I made choices that self sabotaged my achievements. Leave me a comment below and let me know how this article has helped you identify how you self sabotage.


Through my 9 P.O.W.E.R Principles of Exponential Living® and as a Founding member of the John Maxwell Team, I work with individuals to stop spending 100% of our time on 10% of who we are®. I help people make choices that lead to more peace, less stress, and better clarity, which expands our career success to life success. I would love you to join me on this journey of Exponential Living®.

Learn more at SheriRiley.com.
Photo by Lyndon Eugene.