Eighteen Most Common Self-Defeating Behaviors

Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. It’s not that we can’t be successful and find fulfillment in life. It’s that we too easily┬ásabotage our attempts to do so. Here are eighteen behaviors that can get the better of us and prevent us from thriving.

  • Procrastinating. If you’re always late on completing tasks, people will stop relying on you and begin resenting you.
  • Getting involved with the wrong people. If you continuously get involved with bad people, you’ll be the one who has to clean up the mess.
  • Saying “yes” when you want to say “no.” This results in burnout, loss of credibility and loss of respect from others and yourself.
  • Assuming others don’t want anything in return. It is human nature to almost always want something in return, even when people say they don’t. Thinking ahead about what others might want can save you problems in the future when they try to collect.
  • Playing it safe. The world is in a rapid state of change. Doing the same old thing over and over and expecting it to be good enough may turn out to be not so safe.
  • Always having to be right. This can create resentment and helps build a constituency of people who can’t wait to see you fail.
  • Focusing on what others are doing wrong. This is a demotivating habit.
  • Not learning from your mistakes. Successful people don’t make fewer mistakes than unsuccessful people, they just repeat fewer mistakes.
  • Talking when nobody’s listening. This leads you to think that what you’ve said is going to be done, when in fact it’s not. You will have to repeat the entire process at a later date.
  • Taking things too personally. When people take criticism too personally instead of seeing that it is about fixing a problem, the problem becomes larger and takes longer to fix.
  • Having unrealistic expectations. When you confuse what is reasonable with what is realistic you set yourself up to fail.
  • Trying to take care of everybody. In attempting to take care of everyone, no one — including you — will be satisfied.
  • Refusing to “play games.” Politics, schmoozing and small talk are all necessary in order to succeed. Putting them down because you do them poorly is costly.
  • Being envious of others. Teamwork is ruined when team members envy each other to the extent that they root against each other.
  • Quitting too soon. If you always quit, you’ll never succeed; if you always try, you’ll eventually succeed.
  • Letting fear run your life. If you let fear run your life, it might just run you out of your job.
  • Not moving on after a loss. When you spend more time mourning your losses than you do moving ahead, you can’t move ahead.
  • Not asking for what you need.If you don’t ask for what you need — whether it be for someone to help you do your job or for a promotion — you’re leaving it to other people’s imaginations.

Adapted from a list by Dr. Mark Goulston

Why is it so doggone easy to sabotage our plans and make life ineffectual? Comment here>>

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Posted in adaptation, Attitude, Behavior, Cognitive distortions, Uncategorized
5 comments on “Eighteen Most Common Self-Defeating Behaviors
  1. Lviss says:

    Wow, great list of so many things that ring true, hit home…

  2. Hey, great to hear from you! I’m with you: these hit a nerve and challenge me to keep on top of them

  3. Richard H says:

    Same here there are a lot of items on this list that hit home and is a little scary, like I hope its not too late to change it, after being reckless for so long, I kind of do play it safe but on the list is playing it safe…hmmm?

  4. WilliamRam says:

    Thanks a lot for the forum.Thanks Again. Great.

  5. Del Powell says:

    I am a combat veteran and each and everyone of these hit home with me. I am finally trying to work through thesession issues, and would love to read more about them if possible.

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Jeff Vankooten is a speaker and author focusing on the power of resilience to effectively engage the challenges of change. He helps leaders, businesses, and organizations develop the skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly unpredictable business environment.
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