How to Stop Sabotaging Your Career Dreams

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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.

It’s no secret that having a positive outlook on life can make everyday work tasks more enjoyable.

But when it comes to your career, negative thinking and behavior can sabotage your dream job before it even gets off the ground. If you’re constantly putting yourself down, procrastinating, or making excuses, it’s time to consider if your dream job is staying just out of reach because you are unconsciously creating roadblocks.

Discovering and changing self-sabotaging behaviors will make you infinitely more appealing to potential employers.

After all, no one wants to hire someone who is constantly negative or has a history of not following through on their commitments.

So, if you’re serious about landing your dream job but can’t seem to get traction, consider changing the way you think and behave. It may seem like a small change, but it could make all the difference in the world.

Recognizing and Overcoming Self-Sabotaging Behaviors

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Self-sabotage can happen at any time during our careers. Sometimes it’s driven by a fear of failure or lack of faith in ourselves.

Or, perhaps it’s due to not having an efficient system to prioritize tasks. Whatever the reason, if you’re not getting closer to your dream career, consider whether you’re guilty of any of the following.

1. Not Believing in Yourself

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Every journey starts with a single step, which is also true of success. Anything is possible when you have a positive attitude and visualize yourself at the desired outcome.

Of course, self-belief alone isn’t enough — you also need to take action and put in the hard work. However, if you don’t believe that you can succeed, then it’s unlikely that you’ll ever get started on those necessary actions.

Consider what advice you’d give to a friend in your position who was expressing self-doubt. Generally, we’re kinder to others than we are to ourselves. If you’re not giving yourself the same support you’d give to another, it’s time to change your inner voice to one of success.

Perhaps you have goals for a freelance business? Treat yourself to some business cards you can hand out when you’re networking because you’re confident that you’re going to need them.

Are you looking to change careers? Invest in a career coach to help you retarget your resume because you’re confident that you’ll be able to make it happen.

2. Not Setting Attainable Goals

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Perhaps your goals are so big that you’re unsure of what step to take next, so you end up not completing anything tangible. We’ve all been there.

One of the best ways to get out of a rut like this is to set some smaller goals. Having something to strive for gives you a sense of purpose and motivation.

But it’s essential to make sure your goals are realistic and achievable. There’s nothing worse than setting yourself up for disappointment by only having an enormous plan that seems overwhelming and unattainable from where you are currently.

Once you’ve figured out your big goals, it’s time to create an action plan of smaller, more manageable steps.

For example, does your dream promotion rely on certification in additional industry software? Instead of simply focusing on the promotion, work toward the certificate. Break your big task into smaller ones, such as researching programs, budgeting fees, scheduling your time around classes, etc.

All of these smaller steps will move you toward your larger goal. Suddenly, that big dream doesn’t seem so far out of reach after all!

3. Not Staying Focused

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It can be challenging to stay motivated when you don’t see any immediate results from your efforts. Often, we give up too soon because we don’t see the fruits of our labor.

However, it’s important to remember that careers aren’t built in a day. It takes time and consistency to see results.

The key is to stay focused on your goals and not let anything or anyone sidetrack you. That might mean working outside of the house or calling in a sitter.

Or, perhaps it’s shutting down your desktop notifications so that email and social media don’t derail your concentration.

Consider tracking your time for a few days. List the time you anticipate a task should take and compare it to the actual time spent. Then, analyze why there’s a disconnect.

Are you truly not allotting yourself sufficient time to complete it, or are other things pulling your attention away? If it’s the latter, you can take steps to block those distractions so that you can focus for a while.

4. Not Managing Your Tendency to Procrastinate

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Anyone who has ever left an important project to the last minute knows the feeling of anxiety and dread that comes with the looming deadline.

Not only is there the pressure of getting the work done on time, but there’s also the knowledge that you probably won’t be able to produce your best work under those conditions.

If you tend to procrastinate, finding ways to break that habit is crucial.

One way to do that is to create manageable lists of tasks and start your day by tackling the three most pressing items. That way, you’ll get the biggest and most important items out of the way early on, leaving you with more time and energy to devote to the more minor details later.

And if you can learn to break the habit of procrastination, you’ll likely find that your work or job submission suffers less from rushed deadlines and last-minute scrambles.

Tenaciously Believe in Your Abilities

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No one ever said that pursuing your dreams would be easy. The road to success is often long and winding. Along the way, there will be plenty of obstacles and setbacks.

But if you tenaciously believe in your abilities and never give up on your dreams, you will eventually find your way to success.

So, don’t get discouraged and give in to self-sabotage if you hit a roadblock. Instead, try to find a way around it.

And always remember that even the most successful people had to start somewhere. Pursue your dreams with passion and determination, and eventually you will achieve them.