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7 Ways You Could Be Sabotaging Your Success

A black notebook sits on a white table. There is a magnifying glass and pencil on either side of the notebook.

Priscila DuPreez/Unsplash

Not making progress toward your goals as much as you'd like? There's a good chance that you are sabotaging your success by engaging in certain thoughts and behaviors that are keeping you stuck.

From my work with goal-setters and goal-getters, I've identified seven common saboteurs that can derail the goal-getting journey if you're not watching for them.

Do you see any of these seven success saboteurs in your life right now?

Seven SuccessSaboteurs

  1. Staying with what's comfortable. Doing what you've always done (and has become comfortable), will only get you the results that you've always gotten. If you want to be more, you have to do more. And I'm talking about quality, not quantity here. Make a conscious decision to try something new and you just may surprise yourself with success.

  2. Letting doubt and fear drive your car. In Big Magic, author Elizabeth Gilbert shares a wonderful story about taking a road trip with fear. She reminds us that fear and doubt are a part of every journey we take in life, but we don't have to let them drive our cars. Where are you letting doubt or fear make decisions for you? I can guarantee that they aren't going to choose success.

  3. Looking to your past to decide what your future will hold. When you set a goal, do you set one that is 'reasonable' and based on what you've accomplished in the past? If you do, read #1 above again.

  4. Comparing your chapter 1 to someone else's chapter 31. When things are tough, it is easy to look around and make comparisons. However, those people you compare yourself to are not in the same place as you are. You can't see all the work they put into getting where they are. Trust me, they had to deal with many of the same things you are working through on your journey as well. Give yourself grace for where you are at and you'll get to where you want to be much faster.

  5. Holding yourself to unrealistic expectations then shaming yourself when you don't meet them. A client once sent me their to-do list for the day. It had 12 high-touch tasks on it and two Zoom meetings. There was no way they'd be able to accomplish everything and I knew that when they didn't, they'd feel bad. Don't do this to yourself. Be realistic in your expectations, do the work, and extend grace to yourself if you don't finish. All you can do is your best.

  6. Spinning in confusion. Sitting in a state of confusion is a luxury that goal-getters don't indulge in very often. When they become aware of confusion, such as how to do something or what exactly needs to be done, they take steps to figure things out. Brainstorm a list, ask Google or Chat GPT, or seek help from an expert -- just do something and clarity will come.

  7. Aiming for an unclear destination. Not knowing exactly what successful completion of your goal looks like often keeps you from ever reaching it. You know you want to do 'something', but you aren't sure what that 'something' actually is will keep you meandering all of the the place and wasting precious time and energy. When you begin your goal journey, know exactly what your destination looks like. This planning time will be well spent and rewarded with less confusion and energy down the road.

Raising your awareness around these seven success saboteurs will help keep you on track. Once you spot one trying to wreak havoc in your goal journey, toss it out and keep going.

You've got goals to get.

Become a member of the Goal Getters Club where you'll have our eyes on your goal journey to make sure that you don't fall prey to the success saboteurs. Join us here.

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Jen Laffin wearing a brightly flowered dress, glasses, smiling at the camera

Jen Laffin is an Accountability & Success Mentor for people who like to finish big goals, a master teacher, host of The Flight School Podcast, a possible thinker, and a recovering procrastinator. She helps goal-SETTERS become goal-GETTERS. To learn more, visit, or find Jen on Linkedin.


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