3 Major Ways People Sabotage Their Goals

Portia Nelson, “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters”


The above is one of my all time favorite readings and so relevant…

Let’s put it out there…we all have patterns that sabotage our goals, patterns and habits that work against our best interest. BUT as I always say “You can’t change what you are not aware of.” Just like I would advise a team to know their opponent in a championship match or watch videos to know what moves, plays, or strategies to anticipate. I am challenging you to “know thy self” and know YOUR opponent aka your sabotaging patterns that get in your way to accomplishing your life goals. Once you know them then you can prepare yourself to manage them, overcome, change, or accept them.

1) Blame.

Blaming someone, a situation, the past, your height, your age, your weight, your finances, the weather, your lack of resources etc. even just a little blame sends the message to ourselves that we are helpless. The truth is we are not helpless. You are not helpless. If are over the age of 18 you are now fully responsible for the outcomes in your life. Sure you were not the cause of everything that has happened to you but it’s on your plate now and you have the option to take responsibility for it or continue to blame. Blaming=Blind spot. Meaning the more I continue to blame others the less opportunity I have to see myself and take control over that which I really have control over- myself. Let go of blame and take 100% full responsibility for your results, outcomes, and consequences of how your life is today, right now.

2) Denial.

Choosing not to see something, someone, how you feel, or a situation for what it is, probably because there is some pattern of judgment you place on yourself. Let go of the judgment and shed the vail over your eyes, be willing, be courageous, to see things for what they are. I call this “taking stock” or stepping back to look at the landscape of your life. If you struggle with this enlist a friend or trusted mentor to help you. Validate what is. Validation does not mean you have to like to accept what you see. Validation means you are no longer looking the other way and are now willing to see things as they are, not for what you wish they would be, not for how they should be, not for what was…and so on. Validation of yourself, what you want, and how you feel about what is going on in you life sends the message to yourself that YOU MATTER and YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU! Stop denying yourself. You deserve so much more and you will have it if you are willing to face the facts. Have courage. Have radical acceptance.

3) Quitting.

When you get to the first sign of trouble, mishap, or something does not go your way you “throw the baby out with the bath water” quit or give up. This is learned habit a learned behavior. For example, when you miss one workout you give yourself permission to eat like crap the whole day, or when you are not running the paces or hitting the wattage you need in a work out you mentally give up and stop trying- this mental attitude then spirals into patterns of self-blame, judgment, and guilt. Look at some point if our lives we all have to cope with distress in pain, especially when it relates to a larger positive personal goal (remember the quote “if it does not challenge you it does not change you”) getting stronger, fitter, faster, and healthier will come with some unavoidable discomfort or pain. Learning to tolerate distress or distress tolerance skills help you endure and cope with your pain while controlling the amount of suffering you have in response to pain. The less you give up -> the more distress you tolerate -> the more your body starts to learn that it can endure discomfort= “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable” and new habit of not giving up. But you’ll never learn this if you keep bailing out. You must learn new behaviors in all important situations in your life, including both times of stress and times of calm. So hang in there and prove to yourself that a little pain and discomfort cant not hurt you- you are stronger than any temporary situation or feeling;)

As you continue to work hard and gain the skills needed to accomplish your goals don’t forget to prepare for the anticipated and unanticipated challenges. We don’t often talk about obstacles or challenges when to come to goal setting but they are there and they are inevitable. Most coaches would never give their athletes the skills and strategies for a game, race, or match without also preparing them to be aware of obstacles or other opponents they are up against. This is the same idea.

There is so much power in “knowing thy self” not just to overcome sabotaging patterns but for counterbalancing that with our strengths and what we know to be true about our selves. You are limitless with so much greatness to manifest in this world..learn to know and trust that about yourself by overcoming habits and patterns that no longer serve you.

Happy New Year Beautiful People and OWN IT!

Dr. G


Published by

Dr. Gloria Petruzzelli

Dr. Petruzzelli is a clinical sport psychologist, triathlete, and certified mindfulness meditation teacher located in Sacramento, California. She works with elite athletes and sports teams across the country. She is a competitive athlete and enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her family, and traveling.