How To Get Out Of Your Own Way: 20 Highly Effective Tips

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“I can’t do this. I’m not smart enough. I’ll never succeed.”

Do these phrases sound familiar?

These are all classic examples of self-sabotage. This narrative can significantly impact your health, well-being, and perspective on life.

Self-sabotaging chips away at a person’s self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth and convinces them that their negative self-talk is honest and accurate.

Though it can be challenging to change, it’s most certainly not impossible. In fact, this article shares 20 tips on how to get out of your own way.

Once you get out of your own way, you’ll be able to flourish, bloom, and grow. Make sure you read until the end to learn how to stop your limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging patterns. Lean into your authentic self so you can live your best life!

Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you get out of your own way. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.

Signs Of Self-sabotage And Self-defeat

Before you can get out of your own way, you need to know how to identify the indicators of self-sabotage and self-defeat. If you find that you typically focus on what isn’t working, what is going wrong, how ideas won’t be good, and feeling like you don’t have value, then these are signs of self-sabotage. Self-defeating thinking refers to having negative views about yourself and the world.

Self-sabotage can also involve:

  • Feeling like you don’t have a purpose
  • Procrastination
  • Self-criticism
  • A pessimistic outlook on life
  • Imposter syndrome

20 Tips To Get Out Of Your Own Way

Living with limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging behavior patterns can greatly affect your life. These factors can impact your self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem, and overall happiness. Therefore, you must identify your self-sabotaging patterns to change them. Below you’ll find 20 tips to try so you can get out of your own way and live your true, authentic life.

1. Realize you’re in your own way.

Before taking actionable steps to change, you must first realize and understand the situation. Acknowledge that you have limiting beliefs and negative self-talk and that you feel like you are without a purpose in life. You need to know there is a problem before you can shift the way you approach it.

2. Recognize your why.

Knowing your “why” is critical in getting out of your way and living your happiest life. Your “why” is the reason you wake up in the morning. Unfortunately, what often happens in life is we function on autopilot rather than living with intention.

Knowing your “why” is an integral part of being your best self, living your best life, and getting out of your own way. Once you’ve identified your why, you’re more capable of finding fulfillment and happiness in your life.

So what is a why? It’s the fire in your belly when you think of your dream. It’s the thing that makes you feel alive. Your why is your passion and purpose. Your why paints you with courage, bravery, and motivation as you drive through each day with passion and purpose.

When you face challenging turmoil, your why is what gives you the determination to persevere. Your why is what makes even the toughest of days just a little bit lighter, makes the darkest times a little bit brighter, and hugs you with compassion, empathy, and strength.

Examples of a person’s “why”:

  • Traveling the world and having life experiences with cultures, food, and people
  • Building a business that helps people in some way
  • Having a family and being a terrific parent
  • Advocating for the planet and for people to recycle, reduce waste, and treat planet Earth better

Of course, I’m not suggesting just choosing something from the list above. Instead, I’m giving you an idea of a “why.” Once you find what yours is, you’ll discover that life is a little lighter to carry. Finding your purpose will help defer self-sabotaging thoughts and feelings. It will help you get through tough days and motivate you to improve and strengthen your coping skills.

Life without a “why” or purpose can feel directionless and draining. Are you just going through the motions and not actually living? Perhaps you’re doing what you’re supposed to but without any feeling. You’re in your own way if you’re feeling any of these. Living life without direction or purpose can put you in a constant state of anxiety, fear, and worry.

How to identify your “why”/purpose:

By identifying your purpose, you draw yourself a map to life. It gives you a solid foundation for where and how to get there.

3. Change how you talk to yourself.

The power of negative self-talk is undeniable. Even though most of the negative inner dialogue isn’t actually true, but rather are points of your insecurities, the messaging is impactful and meaningful.

If the only things you say to yourself are destructive, self-defeating, self-sabotaging, and harmful, then it’s natural to begin thinking those are what’s true. Negative self-talk can lead to sleep problems, poor mental health, chronic stress, and more.

It’s an important habit to address when you’re trying to get out of your own way. Your inner narrative will significantly change how you view the world and your place in it.

Suppose your inner dialogue is primarily negative. For example, “I messed up everything at work today. Everything is my fault. I am not good enough.”

These thoughts manifest into your real life and result in poor mental health and problems setting and achieving goals. Essentially, this way of thinking limits your true potential. You put a roadblock in your path by speaking to yourself negatively.

In order to get out of your own way, you must change self-defeating thoughts, shift your inner dialogue, and embrace an optimistic and positive mindset.

Shifting your inner dialogue takes time, effort, and patience. The first step is to identify negative self-talk. Once you’ve identified it, determine if the thought is true. Next, explore self-talk and find proof of the dialogue. Most negative inner dialogue won’t be able to produce any proof because it’s not true. Once you’ve done these steps, you then pivot and reframe the thought.

For example, “I won’t ever get promoted at work,” might become, “If I keep working hard, opportunity will come.”

“I am the worst mom in the world,” might become, “I am a tired mom doing her best.”

Change the language you use with yourself and speak to yourself kinder, softer, and with more compassion. Speak to yourself as you would your best friend in the same situation.

4. Allow yourself to make mistakes.

Many of us grow up needing to be perfect or as close to it as possible. When we make mistakes in school, it often results in lower grades or other negative consequences. When we make financial mistakes, we end up paying late penalties or increased interest rates.

Mistakes carry a negative connotation and can stifle a person’s desires, passions, and aspirations. The fear of making a mistake might stop you from living your true potential. Living with the fear of mistakes can be the barricade in your own way. 

I challenge you to shift your thoughts and allow yourself to make mistakes. Give yourself the grace to try things without judgment. By making mistakes, you are allowing yourself to improve and grow.

5. Develop positive habits.

In order to get out of your own way and stay out of your way, you must build a strong foundation beginning with positive habits. Positive habits cultivate positive thinking, positive experiences, and a positive mindset. Though this takes effort, it is essential when trying to get out of your own way.

A few positive habits that can shift your life and your mindset are practicing meditation daily, mindfulness, gratitude, smiling more often, healthy eating, and efficient time management skills. These healthy habits can help you immensely.

6. Realize your strengths.

If you’re standing in your own way, chances are you’re feeling weighed down by self-sabotage, negative inner dialogue, and inner self-criticism. By realizing your strengths, you can overcome these barricades.

First, make a list of things that you’re good at, things you like about yourself, and your accomplishments. Keep your list out, within easy access, so you can constantly use it to remind yourself of your strengths.

I would challenge you to lean into your strengths to live your best life. Embracing your strengths can also be an effective tool in finding your “why.”

7. Allow yourself weakness.

By identifying your strengths, your weaknesses will become evident too. Allow yourself to have weaknesses and let go of perfectionist tendencies and desires. Give yourself permission not to be the best at everything you encounter.

Allow yourself time to improve, change, and grow while also allowing yourself to not be perfect. Avoid the desire to get everything right and explore and experience life exactly as you are. Allow yourself to be imperfect.

8. Avoid playing the comparison game.

If you’re someone who compares yourself to others, you must know the effects of it. Comparing can be damaging and destructive, and it can leave you feeling less than and unworthy. Though sometimes comparing can be a source of motivation, it can quickly become obsessive and lead to the dismantling of positive self-worth.

When you compare yourself to others, you severely diminish any positive self-thoughts. In order to change this habit, you must increase your self-awareness and focus on self-love and self-acceptance.

By improving how you feel about yourself, you can celebrate others’ success without feeling inadequate about it. Remember that others’ success is not an indication of your failure. Only compare yourself to yourself.

To stop comparing yourself to others, you must shift your mindset. Rather than seeing others as the competition, you must see it in yourself. Comparing yourself to others is very unfair. We typically compare our weaknesses to others’ strengths, and it ends with harmful and destructive thinking. We end up feeling inadequate and unworthy.

Measure your success against yourself. Reflect on where you were in the past and how you’ve evolved since. Celebrate personal success and support others as well. Get out of your own way by being on your own team. Rather than being self-destructive and self-sabotaging, cheer yourself on. Acknowledge your successes and progress on the way to reaching your goals.

9. Don’t spend time with toxic people.

We are a product of our environments, so if you’re always spending time with toxic people, there’s a good chance their toxicity is rubbing off on you. Cut off people who drain your mental capacity, make you second guess yourself, or induce negative thought cycles.

Instead, spend your time with likeminded people with goals and aspirations. Their motivation will inspire you and help you realize your own worth and value. Interact with good people who make you feel great about yourself and whom you look up to.

Build a community rather than staying in your own way. Connect with others and notice how you start feeling a sense of belonging and support. Become empowered to stay in the driver’s seat of your life.

When we spend time with toxic people, it can influence us in more ways than one. Toxicity supports negative habits, self-sabotaging behavioral patterns, self-defeating thoughts, and low self-esteem. When you find a sense of community and feel like you belong, you’ll become empowered to take control of your life and, in turn, start living your best, authentic one.

10. Stop trying to educate people who don’t want to learn.

If you’re finding that you’re always on repeat, saying the same things, and trying to spread awareness about the same topics, then you’re essentially blocking your own path. This form of self-sabotaging behavior isn’t as apparent as others, but it is as detrimental, if not more so.

You must stop putting time and energy into trying to change people who aren’t interested in changing and instead refocus that energy on your passions. You’ll notice a shift when you stop trying to make people change and focus on yourself. A door will open, and suddenly you’re open to new opportunities. Don’t waste your energy on others; invest it into becoming your best self. Refocus your efforts on you.

11. Success isn’t linear.

One of the most critical lessons you’ll learn in your life is that success isn’t linear. It’s not a straight-up ride without any turns or falls. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. When you’re setting goals, you’ll likely have moments of doubt and despair, and these feelings are valid and normal.

Your personal growth is much like a heartbeat on an EKG. It goes up and down at a somewhat rhythmic pace. The downs aren’t flaws but rather learning opportunities. It’s an opportunity to evaluate where you are and where you want to go so you can take actionable measures to ensure you reach your destination.

Success isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. Leading a successful life involves looking out for yourself, not measuring your successes against others, and allowing yourself the grace to grow and evolve from the human you are now into an even better version of yourself in the future.

12. Use daily affirmations.

Affirmations are sentences or phrases that you speak into the world about things you believe and are affirming. It’s a way to dive into the unconscious and conscious mind to inspire and motivate you.

Daily affirmations can slowly reverse negative internal messages and improve your self-worth. It’s a way of supporting yourself by yourself. Daily affirmations can be the same or different each day. You maintain self-integrity by affirming yourself and encouraging your own successes. Practicing daily affirmations can improve your mental and physical health, relationships, communication, and empathy.

Examples of daily affirmations:

  • I am grateful for life.
  • I am growing and improving every day.
  • I can see the beautiful light.
  • I am strong and capable.

13. Practice empathy and compassion toward others.

Becoming a more empathetic and compassionate person is an effective strategy to get out of your own way. By increasing your empathy skills, you can deepen your relationships, relate to others better, and be a better friend/support person.

A few ways to become more empathetic are increasing your curiosity about new people, imagining what it would be like in others’ shoes, and improving your listening skills. Empathy is what lets you connect with people in a meaningful way.

14. Journal every day.

The benefits of keeping a daily journal are vast. Journaling is a terrific way to evaluate yourself, participate in personal reflection, and track various behavioral patterns. In addition, journaling is a great way to keep yourself accountable while staying on track to reach your goals.

Benefits of journaling:

  • Track and monitor your progress
  • Identify your growth
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve memory
  • Increase feelings of gratitude
  • A greater overall sense of happiness

Journaling can also help you identify why you’re in your own way. It can signal any fears you might have but aren’t aware of and help you track concerns. Journaling can reveal a lot about your own personal being. Furthermore, it’s a terrific tool for maintaining positive mental health, creating a safe space to explore your feelings, and even allowing your feelings to be non-judgmental.

15. Become an optimist.

An optimistic person sees things in a lighter shade than a pessimist. They’re more hopeful and confident about their future and tend to believe in themselves more.

Optimists typically expect good things to happen rather than anticipate the challenges, and they see obstacles as learning and growth opportunities. By becoming an optimist, you’ll get out of your own way and become a more positive person simultaneously.

How to become an optimist:

  • Practice mindfulness
  • Practice gratitude
  • Change negative inner dialogues
  • Improve self-confidence
  • Notice the good

16. Read.

The benefits of reading are enormous. It strengthens the brain, increases empathy, reduces stress, and fights against depression symptoms.

Reading can teach you plenty and foster an environment where daydreams exist.

Reading can open up doors to what you thought wasn’t possible, teach you a new skill, or prompt self-improvement.

Reading can help you get out of your own way by imagining a different possibility. It encourages curiosity, wonder, and dreaming.

17. Personal accountability.

Developing personal accountability is a critical component in clearing your own path. Personal accountability is when you take ownership of what happens in the situations you’re involved in rather than believing yourself to be a powerless passenger on the journey of life.

Developing personal accountability can lead to fewer conflicts within relationships, improved performance, and a greater overall sense of satisfaction with oneself.

18. Identify your dissatisfaction and use it as fuel for motivation.

Take a look at your life and identify the parts of it that you feel dissatisfied with. Knowing what you aren’t happy with can help you to make a plan to evolve beyond it. Acknowledge the things that bring you joy in life and the things that are draining.

Notice the environments where your mental health is at its best and you feel heard and respected. Take note of the things you wish were different, and rather than internalizing it into self-sabotage, shift them into your motivation to change.

19. Permit yourself to change.

As humans, we are habitual creatures. We lean into doing the same things and being the same people. But, to get out of your own way, you must allow yourself to be different and space to grow, change, and evolve. You must let go of thoughts about how or where you “should be” in life. Embrace new experiences and welcome how they shape you.

You must look at the opportunity as a window for change to enter and embrace each door as if it’s a new beginning. You need to allow yourself to make mistakes, fall down, and even bleed sometimes, for it’s in these challenging moments that we find who we truly are.

Don’t fear the unknown. Move over and let yourself experience it. Let yourself be different and create your own outcome.

20. Think positive thoughts.

The power of positive thinking is truly spectacular, and I urge you to shift your negative thoughts into something constructive and/or positive. Positive thinking can impact how you see life and how you fit into it. It can affect your attitude, mindset, and life opportunities. So try to proactively think thoughts that are bursting with positivity.

Still not sure how to get out of your own way? Talking to someone can really help you to handle whatever life throws at you. It’s a great way to get your thoughts and your worries out of your head so you can work through them.

We really recommend you speak to a therapist rather than a friend or family member. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can help you to challenge your self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors so that you can achieve more of your goals and dreams.

A good place to get professional help is the website BetterHelp.com – here, you’ll be able to connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.

While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.

Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.

Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.

You’ve already taken the first step just by searching for and reading this article. The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. The best thing is to speak to a therapist. The next best thing is to implement everything you’ve learned in this article by yourself. The choice is yours.

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