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Are You Sabotaging Yourself?

Noofa Hannan, Howl Staff

Did you Stumble instead of doing your readings? Are you cramming furiously the night before a test? You may just be a self-saboteur.

Self-sabotage is anything you do to reduce your chances of success. Most of us have been guilty of procrastinating at some point in our academic careers. But if you find yourself jeopardizing your GPA by indulging in Facebook memes instead of studying, this is for you.

According to Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, associate professor of psychology at UC Berkeley, there are two types of people: entity and incremental theorists. Entity theorists believe ability and intelligence are fixed, meaning that they believe outcomes would always be the same regardless of their efforts. On the other hand, incremental theorists believe outcomes are under their control; they can get better results if they put in more effort.

The key to overcoming self-sabotage then, seems lies in adopting an “incremental” instead of a “fixed” view of ability and intelligence. However, it could also backfire. If an incremental theorist thinks they won’t succeed at their task, they might purposefully sabotage themselves and put in little to no effort.

So how do you overcome sabotage? “For starters, try the little, doable things that slowly build up to success. Set a small weight-loss goal. Write 400 words. Go to class,” says Mendoza-Denton. In addition, greater awareness can help you recognize any self-handicapping tendencies so that you can work to curb them.

With Reading Week just around the corner, hope all you self-saboteurs can get back on track and lose the title.


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