Why We Sabotage Ourselves When Things Are Going Good

Feeling like you’re always your worst enemy when things look up? You’re not alone – it’s estimated that 75% of people self-sabotage their success. This article is designed to help you understand why we sabotage ourselves, particularly during good times, and offers practical strategies to overcome this counterproductive behavior.

Ready to break the self-sabotage cycle? Let’s dive in!

Causes of Self-Sabotage When Things Are Going Well

When things are going well, we often sabotage ourselves due to fear of success, resistance to change, imposter syndrome, unconscious beliefs and patterns, and the need for control.

Fear of Success

Odd as it may sound, fear of success is a natural phenomenon that propels self-sabotage. It’s like driving with one foot on the gas pedal and the other on the brake. Instead of relishing in professional accolades or personal triumphs, those gripped by this fear might find themselves anxious and unsettled at the prospect of succeeding.

This stems from an unspoken belief that success can lead to adverse outcomes – increased responsibilities, heightened expectations, more pressure to perform, and even isolation and envy from others.

Over time, they might subconsciously resort to self-sabotaging behavior – missed deadlines or opportunities, reluctance in taking chances or making decisions – essentially anything to keep them firmly lodged within their comfort zones where failure isn’t looming large.

Unraveling this paradoxical fear is crucial for personal growth and fulfillment; recognizing its grip is half the battle won.

Fear of change

One common cause of self-sabotage when things are going well, is the fear of change. Even though we may desire success and happiness, stepping into the unknown can be frightening. Change disrupts our comfortable routines and forces us to confront new challenges and uncertainties.

Resisting change is natural because it pushes us out of our comfort zones, where we feel safe and in control. However, by clinging too tightly to what is familiar, we limit our growth potential and miss out on opportunities for personal development.

Overcoming the fear of change requires self-awareness and recognizing that transformation often leads to positive outcomes. By embracing change instead of resisting it, we open ourselves to new experiences, possibilities, and ultimately greater fulfillment.

Imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a common cause of self-sabotage, even when things are going well. It’s that nagging feeling that you don’t deserve the success or accomplishments you’ve achieved.

You may believe you’re just lucky; sooner or later, someone will discover you’re not as competent or talented as they think. This negative self-talk can lead to feelings of inadequacy and fear of being exposed as fraud.

Overcoming imposter syndrome involves challenging these limiting beliefs and recognizing your capabilities and achievements. It’s about learning to accept praise and acknowledging yourself for your hard work to reach your goals without undermining your worthiness or accomplishments along the way.

Unconscious beliefs and patterns

Our unconscious beliefs and patterns significantly influence self-sabotage when things are going well. Deep-rooted beliefs that we may not even be consciously aware of can influence our behavior and prevent us from fully embracing success.

These beliefs often stem from past experiences or traumas, manifesting as fear of success, imposter syndrome, negative self-talk, or the need to prove our worth or superiority.

By becoming aware of these unconscious beliefs and patterns, we can challenge them and create new empowering narratives that support our growth and happiness.

Need for control

The need for control can often lead to self-sabotage when things are going well. We all naturally desire to feel in control of our lives and circumstances, but sometimes that need becomes excessive and detrimental.

When we fear losing control or facing the unknown, we may unconsciously sabotage our success. This can manifest as overthinking, micromanaging, or overly critical of ourselves and others.

By acknowledging this need for control and finding healthier ways to manage it, we can avoid self-sabotage and embrace the opportunities that come with success.

Effects of Self-Sabotage on Personal Growth

Self-sabotage can harm personal growth, such as missed opportunities and stagnation, low self-esteem and self-confidence, strained relationships, and a sense of regret and dissatisfaction.

Stagnation and missed opportunities

Self-sabotage can lead to stagnation and missed opportunities in our personal growth. When we constantly sabotage ourselves, we stay stuck in the same place without progressing toward our goals.

We may pass up on exciting chances because fear or negative beliefs keep us from taking risks or stepping out of our comfort zones. This self-imposed limitation prevents us from experiencing new things and reaching our full potential.

It’s essential to recognize these patterns of self-sabotage and work towards overcoming them so that we can embrace the opportunities that come our way and continue growing as individuals.

Low self-esteem and self-confidence

Low self-esteem and self-confidence can be significant factors in self-sabotage when things are going well. We may subconsciously feel unworthy of success and happiness when we don’t believe in our worth or abilities.

This can lead us to engage in behaviors undermining our progress, such as negative self-talk, procrastination, or perfectionism. We might fear others will discover our perceived inadequacies and judge us harshly.

Consequently, our low self-esteem becomes a barrier to fully embracing success and enjoying the fruits of our labor. It’s crucial to address these issues head-on by challenging negative beliefs and cultivating a stronger sense of self-worth through practices like positive affirmations and setting realistic goals for personal growth.

Strained relationships

Strained relationships can significantly result from self-sabotage when things are going well. The fear of success or the need to prove one’s worth can create tension and conflict within personal connections.

Self-sabotaging behaviors, such as jealousy, competitiveness, or constantly seeking validation, can strain relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners. These behaviors stem from a lack of self-esteem and an inner critic continually doubting one’s worthiness.

Over time, strained relationships caused by self-sabotage can lead to isolation and loneliness. It is vital to recognize these patterns and work on building healthier relationships based on trust, mutual respect, and genuine support.

Regret and dissatisfaction

Self-sabotage when things are going well can lead to regret and dissatisfaction. When we engage in self-sabotaging behaviors, we often miss out on opportunities for personal growth and success.

This can leave us disappointed and feeling we could have done better. Instead of celebrating our achievements, we may dwell on what could have been or feel unsatisfied with our progress.

It’s important to recognize these feelings as indicators of self-sabotage so we can overcome them and embrace the positive outcomes in our lives.

By confronting our self-sabotaging tendencies head-on and working towards change, we can break free from the cycle of regret and dissatisfaction. Remembering that success is not a linear path but rather comes with ups and downs can help us navigate setbacks without falling into self-sabotage patterns again.

Letting go of perfectionism, challenging negative beliefs about ourselves, setting realistic goals, and seeking support from loved ones or professionals – all these strategies empower us to maintain success while avoiding self-sabotage in the future.

Recognizing and Overcoming Self-Sabotage

To overcome self-sabotage, reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Challenge negative beliefs and replace them with positive affirmations. Set realistic goals that align with your values and seek support from trusted friends or professionals who can hold you accountable.

Remember, breaking the cycle of self-sabotage is possible – read more to discover strategies for maintaining success and avoiding self-sabotage.

Self-reflection and awareness

Self-reflection and awareness are crucial to recognizing and overcoming self-sabotage when things are going well. Assessing our thoughts, behaviors, and patterns honestly helps us uncover underlying fears, limiting beliefs, or past traumas that may be driving our self-sabotaging actions.

By becoming aware of these internal factors, we understand why we may need to sabotage our success or happiness. This awareness empowers us to make conscious choices aligned with our true desires and values rather than allowing fear or insecurity to control our actions.

So, pause for a moment, look within yourself, and listen attentively to your inner voice – it might just hold the key to breaking free from self-sabotage.

Challenging negative beliefs

Challenging negative beliefs is crucial in overcoming self-sabotage when things are going well. Many of us have deep-rooted beliefs about ourselves that limit our potential and hold us back from achieving success.

These negative beliefs can range from feeling unworthy of happiness to doubting our abilities or fearing failure. To break free from the cycle of self-sabotage, it’s important to challenge these negative beliefs by questioning their validity and providing evidence that contradicts them.

This involves reframing our thoughts, focusing on our strengths and accomplishments, and surrounding ourselves with positive influences that support our growth and development. By challenging negative beliefs, we can build a strong foundation of self-confidence and belief in our abilities, paving the way for continued success without self-sabotage.

Setting realistic goals

Setting realistic goals is essential in avoiding self-sabotage when things are going well. Sometimes, we tend to set overly ambitious or unrealistic goals, creating unnecessary pressure and anxiety.

This often leads to us sabotaging our success because we feel overwhelmed and unable to meet our own expectations.

To avoid this trap, setting both challenging and attainable goals is essential. We can make progress without feeling overwhelmed by breaking big goals into smaller, manageable tasks.

It’s also crucial to consider our current circumstances and resources when setting goals. Being honest with ourselves about what is truly achievable allows us to maintain a sense of control and confidence as we work towards our objectives.

Remember, setting realistic goals is not limiting ourselves but setting ourselves up for success. Establishing targets within reach makes it easier for us to stay motivated and engaged in the process.

Seeking support and accountability

Recognizing that we may be self-sabotaging is the first step towards change, but breaking free from those patterns often requires support and accountability. While taking personal responsibility for our actions is essential, seeking out a trusted friend, mentor, or therapist can provide valuable guidance and encouragement along the way.

This external perspective can help us recognize blind spots and challenge negative beliefs. Joining a support group or enlisting an accountability partner with similar goals can boost motivation and keep us on track.

Remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a courageous step toward growth and success.

Strategies for Maintaining Success and Avoiding Self-Sabotage

Maintain your success and avoid self-sabotage by celebrating your achievements, prioritizing self-care and stress management, cultivating self-compassion, and embracing resilience and adaptability.

Celebrating achievements

Celebrating achievements is a crucial step in maintaining success and avoiding self-sabotage. It’s easy to get caught up in pursuing our goals without taking a moment to acknowledge and appreciate our progress.

By celebrating our achievements, big or small, we reinforce positive behaviors and boost our self-esteem. Whether it’s throwing a party or simply giving ourselves a pat on the back, celebrating allows us to recognize how far we’ve come and motivates us to keep pushing forward.

So go ahead and celebrate your accomplishments – you deserve it!

Practicing self-care and stress management

Taking care of yourself and managing stress is crucial to avoiding self-sabotage. When things are going well, neglecting your needs and getting caught up in the momentum is easy.

However, making time for self-care helps you maintain balance and prevent burnout.

Self-care can mean different things to different people, but it generally involves activities that promote relaxation, rejuvenation, and overall well-being. This might include getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly, spending time outdoors, engaging in hobbies or activities that bring joy, practicing mindfulness or meditation, and connecting with loved ones.

Alongside self-care practices, stress management techniques can also help prevent self-sabotage. Finding healthy ways to cope with stress such as deep breathing exercises or journaling, allows you to navigate challenging situations more effectively.

It’s important to recognize when stress levels are rising and take proactive steps towards reducing them before they become overwhelming.

Cultivating self-compassion

Cultivating self-compassion is crucial to overcoming self-sabotage when things are going well. It involves being kind and understanding towards yourself, especially during times of struggle or setbacks.

Practicing self-compassion allows you to acknowledge your flaws and mistakes without judgment or criticism. This compassionate mindset helps break the cycle of negative self-talk and encourages a healthy sense of self-worth.

Instead of berating yourself for perceived failures, you learn to treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a close friend or loved one. Cultivating self-compassion allows you to embrace imperfections, celebrate achievements, and bounce back from setbacks with resilience and optimism.

Embracing resilience and adaptability

To maintain success and avoid self-sabotage, embracing resilience and adaptability is essential. Life is full of ups and downs, and being able to bounce back from setbacks is crucial for personal growth.

Resilience involves developing a positive mindset and overcoming challenges with grace and determination. It means acknowledging that failure is not the end but an opportunity for growth.

Adaptability allows us to adjust our strategies and approaches when faced with new circumstances or unexpected changes. By embracing these qualities, we can navigate through difficult times while staying focused on achieving our goals without getting derailed by self-sabotaging behaviors.


In conclusion, self-sabotage is a common phenomenon when things are going well. Whether it stems from fear of success, imposter syndrome, or unconscious beliefs and patterns, the effects can be detrimental to personal growth.

However, by recognizing and overcoming these self-destructive behaviors through self-reflection, challenging negative beliefs, and seeking support, we can maintain success and avoid falling into self-sabotage.

It’s important to celebrate achievements, practice self-care, and stress management, cultivate self-compassion, and embrace resilience to continue thriving even when things are going well.


1. Why do we sabotage ourselves when things are going well?

There can be various reasons why people sabotage themselves when things are going well. It could be due to fear of success, self-doubt, a need for control or familiarity with chaos, or subconscious beliefs that they don’t deserve happiness and success.

2. How can I stop sabotaging myself when things are going well?

Stopping self-sabotage requires self-awareness and a willingness to change behavior patterns. It’s important to identify the underlying fears or limiting beliefs causing the self-sabotage and challenge them with positive affirmations, therapy, or coaching. Developing healthy coping mechanisms and practicing self-care can also help prevent self-sabotage.

3. Are there any common signs of self-sabotage during good times?

Yes, common signs of self-sabotage during good times include procrastination, engaging in negative thought patterns or behaviors, avoiding opportunities for growth or advancement, pushing away supportive relationships, and engaging in destructive habits like excessive drinking or overeating.

4. Can therapy help in overcoming self-sabotaging behaviors during successful periods?

Yes, therapy can be highly beneficial in addressing underlying issues contributing to self-sabotaging behaviors during successful periods. Therapists can provide guidance and tools to explore the root causes of these behaviors while offering strategies for developing healthier coping mechanisms and building resilience against future tendencies toward sabotage