Ever planned to do something but never actually got around to doing it because you got in your own way? You changed your mind, something else came up, or you just didn't feel like it? You may be self-sabotaging your plans and not even realize it. We've all been guilty of it in one way or the other—well, at least I have. Ah, the things I could tell my younger self!
Self-sabotaging behavior comes in many forms. For example, it can form in relationships, communication, and last but not least, your finances. Paying bills late, racking up debt, and avoiding budgeting your money are all examples of ways you are self-sabotaging your finances. However, you can change your money mindset with the right steps and stop setting yourself up for failure.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is admit our mistakes, but identifying problematic behaviors is the first step to fixing them. The definition of self-sabotage is when you have behavior that creates problems and prevents you from accomplishing your tasks or goals. For example, procrastination is a major form of self-sabotage.
A variety of factors can cause this behavior. Some may stem from childhood; another reason may be from a place of fear and control. For instance, some may feel that they control the situation even if it prevents them from attaining their goals.
Self-sabotage and excuses
Excuses are the fuel for self-sabotaging behavior. I used to tell myself I would work out at least 3 times a week because I wanted to get fit/healthier and because I liked how I felt afterward. Occasionally I would work out (which was every few weeks), but I somehow always found a reason not to stay consistent:
"I'm too tired."
"It's too late."
"Definitely too early."
"It's too hard."
I always had an excuse which pretty much aided my self-sabotage. It wasn't until I consciously decided to get out of my own way that I was able to become successful with working out multiple times a week.
So how did I do it? I became intentional about it. I would set my alarm on my phone and then put my phone far away from my bed so I couldn't hit snooze. Another thing I did was lay my workout clothes on the floor by the side of my bed, so I had no choice but to step on them when I got out of bed.
Also, I reminded myself of my "why" constantly. I wanted a flatter belly and stronger legs, so I kept a photo of a body I admired handy for days when I was ready to eat the entire tub of ice cream. And while looking like my dream body is still a figment of my imagination, over time, my intention worked.
The same could apply to your finances. For instance, you know you should save, but you overspent at the grocery store before setting up your budget. You know you should be paying down debt, but you put half of your extra debt payment towards an epic sale, etc. Basically, self-sabotaging at its finest.
How do you avoid self-sabotage when it comes to your finances?
You want to make it as easy as possible for you to succeed when it comes to your financial goals— that's how. It doesn't sound so hard huh? Well, it isn't! Below are 5 tips you can implement starting now to help you beat self-sabotage.
1. Automate your finances
Automating your finances is one of the simplest ways to avoid self-sabotage because your savings deposits or debt repayments can be done without any manual intervention from you once you have things set up.
If your employer offers direct deposit, you can have a percentage of your paycheck directly deposited into your savings accounts. Alternatively, you can set up automatic transfers to your savings accounts through your bank based on the days you get paid.
When it comes to paying your debt or other bills, you can schedule payments in advance with your creditors and around your pay dates. Once your automation is in place you want to make sure you check in on the transfers and payments frequently to be sure there are no glitches etc.
2. Use a financial app to check-in
There are many apps out there that can help you keep an eye on multiple accounts and the transactions and payments you have going through them. For instance, Mint is a super popular app, and another one of my personal favorites is an app called Truebill.
These apps can be set up to send you alerts and reminders when something changes in your account. They will alert you when a bill is about to come due or just to review the automation you have set up. You can have them handy on your phone, so you can pretty much check-in anytime, which makes it super convenient.
Don't want to use an app where you have to enter your personal information for your various accounts? Your bank and your other types of accounts probably have their own individual apps. It's more work to check in to each app individually, but still very convenient regardless.
3. Set reminders on your calendar
Checking in on your finances frequently is key to staying on top of your goals and actually accomplishing them. So, in addition to automating things and using apps to check in, you want to set reminders on your calendar.
With these frequent reminders, you can do things like check in on your credit, review your accounts and investments, check in on your bill payments, see if there are better deals out there e.g. insurance, cable, phone service, etc. You can also gauge how you are doing against the money goals you have set for yourself.
4. Create a financial vision board
One of the best ways to stop self-sabotaging behavior is to create a financial vision board. A vision board is a collage of all the goals you want to accomplish. People that create vision boards are more confident about their goals and more likely to take action. Having a daily visual reminder will motivate you to overcome your bad habits and conquer your money goals.
Things you can include on your board can be pictures of your dream home, motivational quotes, income goals, and more. Get your supplies, find your inspirational items, and make your board!
5. Improve your mindset
The biggest way to make behavior changes is to improve your mindset. The truth is it really is mind over matter. Developing a positive money mindset can help you achieve your financial goals. Like most things, it takes determination and consistency to make changes. However, by committing to yourself with positive affirmations, creating a daily routine, and making a financial plan, you can shift from a bad mental state into a positive one.
Stop self-sabotaging your finances
It's important to your financial well-being that you identify self-sabotaging behavior and take these steps to change it! Learning how to handle negative emotions can help you combat bad habits and start you on the path to financial success. If you feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start, get help with our completely FREE financial courses and worksheets!