Creating failure from success – 9 ways to Self-Sabotage

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Roadblock to goal

Roadblock to Success.
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How to self-sabotage.

Many people seem to get right to the threshold of success and then suddenly do exactly the wrong thing, the one action that is likely to create failure.  Here are ways that you might turn your potential success into a failure and some reasons why you might be doing just that.

1. Don’t believe in yourself.

The belief that you don’t deserve success can undermine any effort to improve your life. People who tell themselves they don’t deserve things can’t accept success even when they achieve it. Believe that you are worth having happiness not because you are more special than someone else but because you are the only unique you there is. You are special just like everyone else.

Saying positive affirmations and working on your belief that you deserve success can help this.

Believe that if you try you will be more successful than if you don’t try.  Self-efficacy is the belief that if you make the effort you can do this. Foster that belief in the “Yes I can” times of your life and in the lives of your family and children if you want to risk success.

2. Underestimate yourself and aim low to create failure.

People who believe they can’t do something are rarely surprised. If you aim low enough you will not be disappointed. You can’t hit a target if you don’t aim for it. Closely related to the belief “I can’t do it” is the belief that it is better to not try.

People who set high goals for themselves and then accept that what they achieve is better than not trying are happier and more productive than those who never try for fear of failure. Failures are required for learning and growth. Make lots of mistakes, learn from them, and grow. Try to not make huge costly mistakes or repeat the same mistake over and over. But when you do fail, dust yourself off and try again.

Not trying at all will guarantee failure.

3. Accept nothing short of perfection.

Lots of people see things as black and white. They think that if they can’t do something perfectly they are a failure. If you require perfection from yourself eventually you will fail and that just confirms that you are no good and shouldn’t try.

Great basketball players do not hit every shot but they do keep putting the ball up there. Unless you are aiming for failure you need to cut yourself some slack.

Not trying at all is a sure shortcut to failure.

4. When things are going well look for something irresponsible to overdo.

You can work hard for months to become successful and then if you work at it, you can destroy all your progress with a single act.  People, who are working on their finances, trying to get out of debt, can always find something to splurge on and put themselves back in debt.

Have you been looking for work for months? Finally, got that interview for a wonderful job? The night before the interview did you go out and get drunk? If you have a really bad hangover you can flush that interview without even trying. Showing up late and hungover eliminates the worry of getting that job.

Better yet, call that prospective new employer from jail. Apologize you can’t see him until you get out, ask for help with bail.

5. Keep testing yourself – find a way to fail.

Trying to stop drinking? Go visit your friends at the bar and see if you can spend the whole evening there without drinking.

On a budget, do lots of window shopping, check every sale, and see if you can resist.

Test yourself with temptations you known will sabotage your life reputedly. It is nice to know that it is too hard staying on track and it was not your fault that you yielded to temptation.

Repeat this mantra – “The credit card made me do it.”

6. Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow, or the day after.

Always show up late. Put things off until they are no longer an option. When your ship comes in make sure you are still in bed asleep.

Procrastination is the enemy of success. We all do it because it avoids pain. Sometimes progress is painful. If you are looking for failure you will want to practice procrastination.

7. Never prepare for anything.

People who plan ahead run the risk of accomplishing something. If you fail to plan you have a great plan for failure. Never research anything. Make all decisions impulsively and based on ignorance. Why confuse yourself with facts when you can make lots of mistakes based on no information.

Practice in sports and in life is for winners. If you want to fail, avoid this one.

8. Spend as much time as possible worrying and brooding about your problems.

If you concentrate on worry you can allow your problem to grow while you stay stuck in inactivity. A worried about problem expands until it is impossible to solve. This avoids the need to actually take any action.

Frequent long worry sessions will keep you too busy to do any problems solving.

9. Never evaluate or revise a plan that fails. You knew that nothing was going to turn out all right anyway.

Successful people are constantly reviewing and revising their goals and plans. You don’t want to be like that, do you?

Could you be your own worst enemy?


If all of these ideas on how to self-sabotage and prevent success won’t work then you just may be stuck –  Planning ahead, taking action, aiming high, accepting yourself and your successes, learning from and forgiving the times you fail, and revising your plans to increases you rate of success.

Best wishes on creating the happy life you deserve.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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4 thoughts on “Creating failure from success – 9 ways to Self-Sabotage

  1. Pingback: 9 ways to be your own worst enemy | counselorssoapbox

  2. Pingback: Progress, Planning and Perfection | Human In Recovery

  3. Pingback: Procrastination gets a bad name? | counselorssoapbox

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