ACM Student Relations Officer,
Fahmida Yasmin

Self Sabotage is the act of destroying or damaging something in your life deliberately so that it does not work correctly or an act or process tending to hamper or hurt.

Destruction can be beautiful to some people. Don’t ask me why, It just is. And if they can’t find anything to destroy, they destroy themselves.”

John Knowles

Self sabotage refers to behaviours or thought patterns that hold you back and prevent you from doing what you want to do.

  • Blaming others when things don’t go your way
  • Knee jerk reaction by choosing to walk away when things don’t go smoothly
  • Procrastination
  • Picking fights with friends/family over the smallest of things
  • Dating people who aren’t for you or are negative influences
  • Putting yourself down

I know from personal experiences that overthinking and self sabotaging will have a very negative impact on one’s mental health.

We tend to look for things to destroy within ourselves, then if we can’t find anything, we dig a little deeper until we find something.

It’s as if we believe life to be too good to be true when things are going well, but then something whispers in your ears“you don’t deserve this” and it takes an unexpected turn. 

A sudden rush of anxiety, fear and anticipation whilst nervously waiting for something to ruin it. Then you think “before something negative happens I’ll take control” so you damage it yourself.


Rebecca Black – Self sabotage:

I’ve got the devil chillin’ on my shoulder

Telling me that soon it’s gonna be over

Cause why would anybody get closer to me?


There are many contributing factors that cause us to self sabotage. But how do we overcome it?

Know your typical thinking pattern 

I can definitely relate to this. 

It is always a great idea to understand your thought patterns, our thoughts are what make us or can break us. 

Struggling with anxiety can often make you think a situation is bigger than what it actually is. When told to do a task, anxiety will make us think it’s a threat.

I’ve learnt to understand the differences between a ‘growth mindset’ and ‘fixed mindset’ to help me overcome this. A growth mindset enables me to find ways to challenge myself and destroy the fixed mindset. 

So instead of seeing that task as a threat, we can actually now see it as an opportunity

Strategies for procrastination

A simple approach to this issue is to get yourself a planner or make a to-do list. You can then visualize your workload and attempt one part of it every day, this will help to reduce panic and anxiety or the feeling of hopelessness.

More time for self care and acceptance 

I’m definitely all for this one! I believe this is a major successor in overcoming anything relating to mental health. 

Self care is definitely important and I don’t mean just for 5 minutes, we all need to show some care towards ourselves, we are human and it is okay to go through the difficulties we face every day and to take a step back and be mindful of our surroundings. 

Stop what you’re doing, relax, self reflect and allow yourself to recharge. 

Talk to yourself, like you would to someone you loven

Brene Brown

Ed Sheeran  Save myself :

So before I save someone else, I’ve got to save myself

And before I blame someone else, I’ve got to save myself

And before I love someone else, I’ve got to love myself



Reclaim your heart

Even though life is sometimes hard to cope with, there is always hope.

Start with making a list of things you need to stop doing

Get rid of old habits by creating new ones – and by new, I mean replace the bad with the good.

I’ve recently limited my time watching TV because it was a good way to procrastinate. I’ve replaced that with reading books instead.

Stop hating yourself! 

There are two types of people in this world. The ones who judge and the ones who observe. How about being more of an observer instead? Rather than criticizing yourself on things that went wrong, perhaps acknowledge what you’ve done and challenge yourself to improve each time.

Get a sponsor! 

Perhaps ask a family member or a friend (or us) to check in with you from time to time so that they can support your goals. This is also a great way to get talking and typically ‘change the conversation’ using uplifting words will help you feel powerful.

Practice mindfulness  

From listening to music, a walk in the park or just breathing in and out – all of which are the art of practising mindfulness. This has helped me to stop overthinking and instead igniting my senses. It’s helped me know when to put a pause on my problems and press play when I’m ready again.

It isn’t always about finding the cure to our problems but rather finding a treatment that works best for us in times of need, and that’s okay.

Summary of Tips:

  • Go for a daily walk (10 Minutes around the block will suffice)
  • Pause for a moment when meeting stressful situations
  • Set manageable expectations of yourself
  • ‘Try’ and find something positive in every situation
  • Regularly self reflect, think about what happened/is happening and start with you.
  •   Talk to someone

If you would like support with anything mentioned within this article please contact studentsupport@acm.ac.uk, alternatively, you can find out more information on our Student Services Canvas page.

If you have a concern for your wellbeing or that of someone else associated with ACM, please contact the safeguarding team:
Email – dsl@acm.ac.uk
Call – 01483 910197


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