Is self sabotage holding you back? Preventing you from achieving your dreams in any aspect of your life? Sport psychology is a massive area and one that I am increasingly becoming aware of. One phenomena of sports psychology, and psychology of any aspect of our lives for that matter, is what could be described as ‘self sabotage’.

I want to take this opportunity to illustrate what I have identified as self-sabotage in my own psychology, and how it is affecting my triathlon and sport success.

Since I have become aware of ‘self sabotage’ I am increasingly conscious of how it has both affected me in the past, but also how it affects me now in both my sport, training, personal and business life.

The great news is that now I am aware of it, I can do something about it. Now I am conscious of it I can train myself not to fall into the self-sabotage mindset. With little tips and tricks overcoming self-sabotage is possible, and the impact this may have on your sport psychology and performance and your home and work life is significant.

Self Sabotage, My Story

My earliest memory of self sabotage – my mindset letting me down – was during a mountain bike race in 1995. I was fairly new to the sport, at least racing, and I did not have a very high expectation of myself.

I was nervous at the start line and leading up to the race and was saying phrases such as ‘I just want to get around’ and ‘I don’t mind coming last – someone has to’ and ‘such n such is racing, he’ll beat me’. My expectation was that one particular person was better than me and he would beat me in the race.

So, the race started and as anyone who has done a mountain bike race will know the pace is fast from the start and I was not feeling fast at all.

As the race progressed I started passing others and before I knew it I was in contention for my category, with just this one lad well out of sight in front of me. With no intention to pass him I continued at my own pace, feeling a little nervous and uneasy at the possibility that I should be getting a silver medal.

I felt I should be slowing down and that this success was not possible for me. My mindset and expectation was set to believe that I would never be really successful in sport!

As the race unfolded I passed the leader who had a puncture. I was the leader and I was really panicking about this. Surely I wouldn’t win my race.

I spent the rest of the race waiting, always expecting to be overtaken again to. I had the mindset to be beaten, but that never happened and it turned out that I did win! What could I have achieved if I had the winning mindset from the off? For me, with small successes, my confidence grew, as did my own expectations.

Despite this I have competed in many triathlons, time-trials and running races where my own mindset has played a big part in the outcome. Whether in the lead up to the race, mind over matter in training, or coping with the unexpected.

Become Aware Of Self Sabotage – Your Turn:

Since learning about self sabotage I have tried to identify missed opportunity and have had the opportunity to learn some useful ideas to work on my own mindset. Here are three useful mindset tips for you to have a go with:

  1. Set clear and inspiring goals, and come up with SMART targets, aim high.
  2. Limiting beliefs – what are your beliefs that let you down. Is it true and can you think of an alternative?
  3. Don’t worry about what-ifs. Consider all the factors you must contend with, design a plan to deal with all of them. If it is out of your control, then know how to deal with it but don’t worry about it.

I hope you find this useful and you can identify and work on your own self sabotage and mindset with positive results. Share this post or comment below if you like it.

Happy training, Nico.

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