There are very few topics that are under-discussed in the blogging world, but self-sabotage is one of them. Self-sabotage can affect anyone, no matter what stage of their blogging (or life!) journey, so in this post we take a look at some of the ways it manifests itself and what you can do to get past it.
What is self-sabotage?
Self-sabotage in this context is where you stop yourself doing something you know will help you long-term. You’re not seeing things through or showing up consistently. And self-sabotage can happen even if you’re doing well with something and seeing results from it, maybe because what you’re doing is difficult or you get distracted by something else happening.
One of the reasons why self-sabotage is often overlooked is because people tend to focus more specifically on the different forms it can take, for example:
- Excessive blog/business rebranding or constant theme changes
- Feeling unmotivated
- Extremes (e.g. posting daily for a while and then not posting for months)
- Perceived failure (or fear of failure)
- Envy or FOMO (fear of missing out)
- Not feeling good enough (and then making that your reality)
- Quitting things (half finished drafts, guest posts you committed to, maybe even whole websites)
All these things can apply outside of blogging too (e.g. constantly switching jobs, or going on extreme diets), and be done consciously or subconsciously. Most likely you’ll have a mix of situations going on.
How to tell if your actions are self-sabotaging
The easiest way to tell is to think about why you’re doing something. For example, if you’re planning a rebrand for your blog because your current look doesn’t reflect you, your interests, or your skills anymore, a rebrand makes sense. If you have a specific reason and goal in mind (e.g. you want to work more with family-oriented brands because you’ve just had a baby and find yourself blogging more about parenting), a rebrand makes sense.
However, maybe you’re rebranding for the third time in a year…and probably didn’t quite finish your last design…and then on top of that perhaps you have other abandoned or semi-finished projects. If that sounds familiar, you probably want to dig a bit deeper. Is it really your website’s look or name you’re unhappy with? Maybe it’s your traffic? Or you feel your work opportunities should be better? Maybe you feel like you have to justify what you’re doing to someone else? Or you’re paying too much attention to what other people are doing and that’s making you feel not good enough?
Or it could be something totally separate going on in another part of your life and this is a happy distraction. Often when there’s something you’re not happy with in your offline life, you want your online life, which you have much more control over, to be perfect. This can be a useful coping mechanism in some situations, but the danger is that you spend too much time on changing things that won’t make a difference to your long-term goals, your bottom line or your success – such as deciding between two fonts for a feature image.
What’s the answer?
To be honest, I think it’s too complex an area to just have one magical answer or cure, but what it can be is a work in progress. It’s totally normal and everyone self-sabotages in one way or another. Taking some time to consciously identify what self-sabotaging behavior you’re doing right now (starting with the list above) works pretty well as a starting point.
Next, take some time to think about the underlying reasons and issues, dealing with individual components separately if needed. Group items if they seem to be related to each other, but don’t expect everything to fall into neat boxes. This exercise could take months, so don’t worry if you don’t come up with an answer or a path straightaway; it’s a process.
Think back to times when you remember self-sabotaging, even outside your blog, and then the situation surrounding it. Did you really need to do that design overhaul, or were you just using it to fix or distract from a problem elsewhere? During this thought process, be kind to yourself. You’re not listing failures, you’re listing ways to succeed in the future.
“Should” vs “want”
Are you self-sabotaging things because you feel like you should be doing something rather than because you want to?
If so, how much does not doing this thing really matter? Does it matter if you don’t post on Instagram every day? Are you trying to force yourself to do it because other people do, or because you’ve been told you should? If you don’t have a clear reason for doing it or you’re putting pressure on yourself, it’s going to be difficult to maintain the commitment.
On the other hand, if you’re doing things you value and see the importance in and you’re still self-sabotaging, how can you turn it around? Maybe you’re always coming up with an idea for a new project or you’re struggling with boring but essential tasks like cleaning up old posts or returning comments. Try setting a timer and using the Pomodoro technique, giving yourself a reward for completing tasks, setting specific timed deadlines, or trying to beat your last time. Show up frequently and consistently enough, and you’ll begin to form a good habit. Another trick for forming great habits is to tie your new action into an action you already do consistently. So for example, when you’re brushing your teeth at bedtime you could introduce squats, or when you’re traveling you could develop a habit of listening to business podcasts.
Seeing the benefits of self-sabotage
Sometimes self-sabotage can be a good thing. It can be a sign that something else needs to change or you need to focus your energy somewhere else. Maybe you need to revisit your goals or remember to look at the bigger picture. Before taking on a significant project or starting a big task, try asking yourself, ‘Does this help me get closer to my goals?’ If not, reframe it or try coming up with a different approach that’s more in line with your needs.
Some people achieve and uplevel by making themselves uncomfortable, whether consciously or subconsciously, and that’s okay. Self-sabotage can sometimes be your body or brain reacting to something new, and second-guessing itself or freaking out randomly. Take some time to figure out what’s really going on, decide whether you need to change anything or keep pushing, and you’ll get through it.
Do you struggle with self-sabotage? How do you deal with it? Let us know in the comments!
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