1. It takes me at least a half hour to locate a document I need to send to someone.
2. I can be indecisive and fearful; as a result, chances often pass me by.
3. I tend to start projects with great gusto, but have great difficulty finishing them.
4. My financial situation is chronically chaotic.
5. My actions often jeopardize my relationships, my job and/or my financial stability.
6. I worry a lot about what others think of me.
7. I tend to give in to compulsive behaviors to overeat or partake excessively of unhealthy substances or activities.
8. I seem to be always struggling.
9. I’ve been told I have a problem expressing anger appropriately.
10. I often put off the things I need and want to do. Procrastination and reliability are problems for me.
11. I’m still not living the life I truly want, and I’m starting to lose hope that I ever will.
12. When I really want to do something, I frequently have the thought that I can’t or shouldn’t do it.
13. My relationships tend to eventually fall apart, or I stay in unhealthy relationships.
14. When I think about working out, I immediately start thinking about all the other things I “should” be doing instead. Exercise rarely wins.
15. I’m often late to work and late with assignments; this has hurt my career.
16. I avoid confrontation and/or fawn over others in order to be liked and win their favor.
17. I repeatedly make self-deprecating, belittling comments about myself.
18. I know I have the potential to do more with my life, if I could just get out of my own way.
Self-defeating behaviors often mask a fear of change and growing; when we deliberately hamper our own efforts, we get to avoid the knowledge that our life is up to us, and that we do, indeed, get to choose. Just imagine the life we could be having if we put as much energy and creativity into manifesting our goals as we do avoiding them. It’s not easy to change self-sabotaging patterns, but with time and practice—and a good dose of self-love—it is possible to end a self-defeating cycle and live the life we truly want for ourselves.Deborah Grayson Riegel, MSW, ACC