Self-Destruction – the opposite to Self-Improvement can have a deadly effect on goals, your dreams and your life.

We are all guilty of doing these from time-to-time, however by being aware of these negative personality traits we can be more self-aware and reduce this behaviour.

Part One takes us through the first four sins.

Part Two is the final three and will be published tomorrow.


I could have done it, but….”

I was listening to someone on the bus and they were talking to a friend on the phone and proudly telling them that they got a 2:1 at University.  They sounded happy, but then they made excuses why they did not do better.

It was quite disappointing because they had turned something positive into a negative by validating why they didn’t do as well as they could have.  The sad thing is, a 2:1 is a good grade and the person should have been proud of the effort they made.


Effect on self-improvement: by making excuses we do not recognise our faults, therefore we are not aware of are short comings and this blinds to are ability to improve and may even be self-destructive.

Action: Accept mistakes, reflect on what went wrong and think how you will avoid the problem in the future.  Focus on the positives on the situation – when talking to others don’t make excuses for why you didn’t do as well, talk about all the great things achieved.

Closed to new ideas/strangled by one dream

“But it is my dream!  I don’t want to do anything else!”

One of the most frustrating things I see with goal setting is seeing people who are really driven and good at the practice, but intentent on one goal. It’s sad to look at them and see nothing else in there lives but one dream because they ‘really want it’

The other problem is that sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side – anyone who aspires to be a ‘millionaire author’ who reaches the goal of getting published, realises it tough and has to be a working author on (less than minimum wage).

Effect on self-improvement: This tunnel vision can be deadly. Some people whole reason for being is quite ambitious and the probability of failure is high. See anyone who wanted to be a footballer in the UK or a basketball player in the US as a root out of poverty into fame, status, money and security.

This highlights wrong reasons for setting one goal, where it solves all the problems in your life. Energy and effort spent on one dream could be divided to a number of goals.

Action: Time to spread that dream with back-up plans.  Want to be a professional athlete?  Focus on your education and look at other paths such as coaching or working in a leisure centre.

Another approach is to write down on the aspirations that lie behind that dream (women, status, security) and develop goals on how to achieve these in other ways.


I’ll do it tomorrow…”

I am stealing from seven deadly sins, but plagiarising from the best isn’t a Self-Destruction sin.  Sloth is bad because you are being lazy and making excuses not to work on goals.

Effect on self-improvement: This ties into making excuses or giving reasons why you can’t even spend 10 minutes working on your goals – you’re tired, or you just want to watch some program first. Time is finite, by procrastinating you are wasting your life away on things that won’t make life better.

Action: Imagine you are on your death bed, will you be wishing you watched more TV in your life? Turn the TV off, get off Facebook, get out of bed and go and do something towards your goals.

Blaming others

“I worked out these calculations wrong?  Why didn’t you notice this earlier you bloody idiot!”

In my last job, I had a boss from hell.  Everytime something went wrong, she had to go on the warpath and blame others.  It was a nightmare – sick leave was high, moral was low and there was constant complaining.

I hated sitting down and having 1 to 1’s because it was inevitable I would get blamed for something.  The annoying thing was, when she was at fault she never held her hands up and accepted responsibility – it was likely that someone else in the team would be blamed!

Effect on self-improvement: this impacts on are ability to improve – we are too busy blaming others to see are own faults.  Not only is it destructive as we are not seeing weakness – by blaming others we are damaging the relationships with others who may be able to support our goals.

Action: Even if it was someone else’s fault, take any criticism on the chin and see if there was any other approach to avoid the failure – talk to the person nicely and whatever you do – don’t lose it!. If it was your fault – accept it, apologise, learn from the mistake and move on.

So that is the first four sins that lead to Self-Destruction.  Part 2 is published tomorrow so don’t forget to follow the Manifesto of Perfection.

What are your big self-improvement no-no’s?


Manifesto of Perfection – Goal Setting Month

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