4 Ways to Stop Self-Sabotage In Its Tracks

How to Prevent the Crash-down and Achieve New Heights of Success

A guest post by Beth Wittig


As a health-coach, I’m no stranger to self-sabotage. I see it in my clients as they start to succeed. For a long time, I even experienced it in droves. Let’s get real here. I have gone so far as to weigh myself, hit my goal weight, feel on top of the world and then go on a HUGE eating binge. Next time, I knew, when I weighed myself, the feeling accompanying that number would feel a hell of lot more familiar.  Feeling angry and disappointed with myself felt a whole lot safer than feeling good.

So many times we start to self-sabotage just when things start to expand, just when we are on the cusp. When things start to really expand, the fear-mongering thoughts step in to try to keep us comfortable, to keep us safe. Suddenly, we are trying to instigate the crash down and stop progress in its tracks.

The bigger the opportunity, the easier it is to instigate “the crash down.” Then, at least, we are in control of how we go down in flames. We don’t have to sit and wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. The only problem with this is self-sabotage prevents us from jumping at the pivotal moment when success is almost within our grasp, when the trapeze bar is inches away. The exact moment we are tempted to step back tends to be the moment where we are right on the verge of flying.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

One client recounted to me some big time self-sabotage. When showcasing (this is like an actor’s coming out party), she was called in by a big deal agent. The self-sabotage was so overwhelming, she simply never called the agent back. The idea of deserving a big deal agent was enough to make her want to hide in a cave for a few months. No thank you, success. Maybe next time. Or never. Never would be preferable.

Except never wasn’t preferable. The idea of never was anxiety-inducing and incredibly painful.

Let’s get real here! Success can feel SUPER scary. It can even feel scary to get seriously SNATCHED in SIX weeks! If we succeed, then people might expect more from us. We might expect more from ourselves. We can fail in an epic way. We can fall. We can hurt. We can doubt ourselves. We are risking big time. We are daring greatly.

The fear-mongering thoughts are given a huge feast to gnaw on.

We may even start to mentally rehearse super uncomfortable scenarios as a way to prepare for the pain or humiliation of failure. What if I work out really hard, eat clean food, look amazing, and then gain it all back? (This is one I’ve heard a lot.) If we rehearse the pain of humiliation, then maybe we will be prepared. I used to do this with auditioning all the time. It never worked. It hurt every time I didn’t get the job or call-back. Mentally rehearsing that rejection only kept me playing it safe in the audition room.

So, how do we circumvent the sabotage?

  1. Recognize self-sabotage for what it is. It is simply a safety mechanism. It is this exact safety mechanism that keeps us stuck in our comfort zones with our body, our relationships, our career, our spirituality. It is what keeps a glass ceiling directly over our heads. You can acknowledge it, shake hands with it and decide to push past.
  2. Start to view fear as a positive.  It points us directly to our next steps in life. It is like our own awesome inner-compass. It’s like, “Hey you! Idiot! That’s where we’re supposed to go!”
  3. Do the exact opposite of what your fear is telling you to do.  Quite literally, take the exact opposite action. I have started to practice this. The scarier it is, the faster I try to do it. I rip that off like a band-aid. Okay, I do this like 60% of the time (I’m still a work in progress). When I’m ripping off that band-aid, though, let me tell you, it’s quite an adrenaline rush.
  4. Acknowledge your shadow thoughts.  Notice the fear-mongering, self-sabotaging thoughts and start to become fluent in their language.  Most of the time, they are simply screaming, “You don’t deserve this!” Smile at them and say:

“Oh, hey! Thanks for keeping me safe for so long. Awesome job. You are no longer serving me, bitches. I’m gonna start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.” I took that last part from Jillian Michaels.

On some level you may already know, but this is how REAL and SUSTAINABLE change starts, from the inside out. Sustainable change comes from stepping into fear and shedding your self-protective behaviors.

It starts when you dare to envision walking down the street and feeling on-fire in your skin and saying, “I deserve that.”

When you can envision your “After” picture for Snatched and say “I deserve that.”

When you can envision the job that makes your soul lift and say “I deserve that.”

When you can feel the future love of your life in your arms and say “I deserve that.”

When working with clients, there are three places they tend to need a lot of support when it comes to self-sabotage: as they are deciding to work with me, when they come very close to achieving their vision, and right after they have fulfilled their vision. Their thoughts will start to scream that they are out of their comfort zone, that it would just be easier to go back to how things used to be.

If you are ready to stop succumbing to sabotage and haven’t already booked your Breakthrough session with me, please do so ASAP. I have some openings coming up very soon. I look forward to co-creating that oh-so-scary-and-amazing vision of yours.

Contact me at coach@bethwittig.com to schedule your complimentary Breakthrough Session. Visit www.bethwittig.com to read my other articles and check out what my clients have to say.

Rock On and Be Well,


Beth Wittig is an actor and health-coach.  She spreads her message of body empowerment both nationally and internationally as a tele-coach, teaching artists and creative how to slim down sustainably without guilt and deprivation so they can feel on-fire in their bodies, their craft and their careers. She also holds seminars through The Savvy Actor, The Network, Mark Fisher Fitness, Rutgers University, and countless wellness centers in the NYC area.


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