5 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Success


Recently, I saw one of those posts floating around the Internet showing former childhood celebrities who had taken a turn for the worse. You know the stories. They were once booming stars and now they are decrepit and far from anyone’s mind or television screen. 

Every time I see those kinds of posts, I cringe and think, “What in the world happened?” What was missing in their life that allowed them to sabotage their success? How could they go from once “having it all” to, in one case, asking for money at a local gas station?

It got me thinking… We see their progressive degradation because of their celebrity status, but this type of fall from success happens everyday to “normal” people. Each day, people who were once on the track to reaching their personal and professional goals find themselves faltering and ultimately falling short of the goals and dreams that they were once passionate about. 

Why? What’s causing people to lose their momentum toward their success? As I sought to answer this question I began reflecting on some of my own failures…

Like how I failed 2 classes in college and wrecked my GPA... 

Or how my first few business ventures didn’t go as “planned”...

And let’s not forget the many times that I attempted and failed to lose weight…

I thought about all of those situations and began to try to identify common behaviors that led up to those failures. That reflection led me to identify 5 ways that we tend to sabotage our own success. Tell me if you’re doing or have done any of the following things. 

  • 1. You fail to plan and weigh the cost

I am very ambitious when it comes to starting new ventures. Though the benefit is that I don’t let opportunities pass me by, the downside is that sometimes I don’t completely think things through, vet the idea out, and prepare before diving in head first. Fortunately, this is where my husband balances me out. I don’t fault anyone for being ambitious and stepping out on faith; however, it can sabotage your success when you don’t at least create a plan and weigh the cost before starting. Failing to do so may result in you being in way over your head and, ultimately, failing due to being unprepared. Luke 14:28 puts it this way, "...Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?" You must know what it will cost you (in time, money, and other resources) and plan for it before doing it. Else, you'll find yourself failing.

My failure to plan and weigh the cost was the number one reason that I often failed when trying new diets and workout routines. So, when I decided to transition to a plant based diet, I was adamant about creating a plan, weighing the cost, and progressively transitioning, as opposed to starting cold turkey as I had done before. The result? A successful transition that I am able to maintain.

  • 2. You share your dream with wrong people

You’ve heard of dream killers, right? They’re the people who tell you that it can’t be done, you shouldn’t be doing it, and probably aren’t accomplishing anything in their own life. What may surprise you, however, is that those people may be within your own circle. It’s the friend who so innocently tells you, “Girl, you know you’re not cut out for being anybody’s boss!” or “Why are you playing? You know you’re not trying to be vegan. You love Chick-fil-a too much.” Though you laugh it off and probably respond with, “You’re right,” internally you’re discouraged because you didn’t get the affirmation and support that you thought you’d get. Before you know it, you’ve let someone talk you out of your goal and dream because they can’t see you above of your current situation. That is the detriment of sharing your dreams and goals with the wrong person.

You have to be selfish with your dreams and visions-- being mindful of who you share them with. Everyone does not want to see you be successful, so don’t give them a dream to attempt to kill.


Tweet: You have to be selfish with your dreams and visions-- being mindful of who you share them with. Everyone does not want to see you be successful, so don’t give them a dream to attempt to kill. -@girtalkwithfo
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You have to be selfish with your dreams and visions-- being mindful of who you share them with. Everyone does not want to see you be successful, so don’t give them a dream to attempt to kill.   

Surround yourself with people who will encourage your positive progression and give you the affirmation that you will certainly need along the journey. I recommend that you read my Why You Need an Accountability Partner post to learn how to identify someone who can do just that. 

  • 3. You don’t have controls in place

I’m pretty sure that I’ve talked about this at least 5 times already, because that’s how important it is to avoid sabotaging your success. It goes hand in hand with having a plan and weighing the cost. A complete plan includes controls to ensure that you don’t revert back to your former habits or create others that will sabotage your progress. I gave some examples of how to do this in my How to Reach your Weight Loss Goals post; however, this doesn’t just apply to weight loss. I also give tons of controls that you can put in place if you’re trying to save yourself for marriage (aka abstain from sex) in my book, They That Wait

In the book, I discuss finding your “triggers.” These are the things that will cause you to fall back into old habits or to indulge in things that will ultimately sabotage yourself. A part of establishing your controls is knowing your triggers. Reflect and take note of your "kryptonite" so that it doesn’t cause you to fail.

  • 4. You speak negatively

Words have power. In fact, I wrote a whole blog post on the power of words (15 Affirmations that Will Change Your Life). Because they are so powerful, it is of the utmost importance that you are speaking positively over your goals and aspirations. What do I mean? Instead of saying, “This is too hard” or “I can’t do this,” you need to be replacing it with self affirming language like, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 

I know that this whole manifestation movement is huge these days, but the truth is that it’s a biblical principle that’s being pimped by the world. (What’s new though?) It is the practice of speaking things into existence. It is creating your world with your words. So when you speak negatively over your goals and aspirations, you are immediately sabotaging your success. You are creating a future where your success does not exist.

Tweet: ...when you speak negatively over your goals and aspirations, you are immediately sabotaging your success. You are creating a future where your success does not exist. -@girtalkwithfo
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...when you speak negatively over your goals and aspirations, you are immediately sabotaging your success. You are creating a future where your success does not exist.   

I believe in this principle so much that I am even careful of the things that I joke about. Most recently, when people ask the age old question of, “When are you going to have kids?,” I’m even mindful of saying, “No time soon.” I don’t want to speak the inability to have a child at will into the atmosphere. Instead, in my own sarcastic way, I now respond with, “Whenever I have them.” You see, I never want my words to hinder my success. Speak what you want to be and the things that you want to accomplish as though they already exist (Romans 4:17). 

I am successful. I am an entrepreneur. I am an author. I am in great health. I am wealthy. I am winning. I am my own #goals!

  • 5. You quit too soon

Failure is a part of the journey to success. I’m sure that if you had an opportunity to interview your favorite movie star, they would tell you story after story of how they were denied roles and failed to get booked. But in the same breath, they’d tell you that though it was a small setback, they kept going and didn’t quit. They understand that failure is a part of success and that it is only an event, not an end. 

Often times, we sabotage our overall success because we allow setbacks, or small failures, to cause us to quit. Instead, it is an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop.

Tweet: Often times, we sabotage our overall success because we allow setbacks, or small failures, to cause us to quit. Instead, it is an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop. -@girtalkwithfo
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Often times, we sabotage our overall success because we allow setbacks, or small failures, to cause us to quit. Instead, it is an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop.   

When is the last time that you failed and took the time to reflect on what you did wrong? Furthermore, did you use that information to make changes and try again?

I mentioned earlier that, even though my goal was to graduate from college with honors, I failed two classes that completely damaged my GPA. Instead of giving up and changing my major, I decided to retake those same classes, redeeming them for an A and B, respectively. The result of me not giving up was eventually making the Dean’s List and ultimately graduating with an honor stole. Instead of quitting, I decided to not let my setbacks be the end of my journey and neither should you.

So….do any of these things sound like what you’ve been doing? Have you been sabotaging your success without even knowing it? If you have, it doesn’t make you a bad person; however, now that you are informed, you need to make the necessary changes to ensure that you don’t continue to let these things sabotage your success.

PS...leave me a comment below to let me know that I'm not the only one that failed a class. LOL