We've either heard, witnessed, or been directly involved in self-sabotaging behaviors at one point in our lives. Self-sabotaging (or standing in your own way) is simply described as any sort of action that gets in the way of your desired intent toward a result.

You find yourself on a diet but end up indulging in the freshly baked office cupcakes. You have a project due but you need to watch a few episodes on Netflix to rejuvenate your creative spirits. Need to send some outreach emails, but the house needs to be cleaned up first.

Self-sabotaging behaviors show up in many identities and discreet forms. Often times, the two biggest reasons for these types of behaviors stem around self-worth and control. While you could certainly go down a rabbit-hole dissecting those two issues, building some cornerstone habits to prevent self-sabotaging from appearing will be just as beneficial.

Here are three ways that mentally strong people forge self-discipline and avoid self-defeating habits.

1. Embrace pain by thinking long term.

Pain is mostly associated as something that is physical, ranging from illness to a broken bone. However, there are many more types of pain that show up in our daily lives. Pain is simply a feeling and perception that we give it.

For example, if you're someone who isn't used to exercising daily, there's probably a pain associated with getting out of your comfort zone to make this a daily staple. Therefore, the challenge is to change your perception of what's more painful.

The pain and uncomfortableness associated with exercising don't have to be perceived as more painful than not exercising anymore once you implement second and third order consequences first introduced by billionaire investor and philanthropist Ray Dalio.

Our desired benefits and results come later down the road (i.e. second and third order consequences). The difficulty lies in delaying gratification and going through the uncomfortableness of the beginning (i.e. first order consequences).

2. Stay in the present.

Entrepreneurs and ambitious individuals have a tendency to be future-oriented. On the surface, this seems like a good thing, which for the most part it is. However, as you're probably aware of if this describes you, being future-oriented without any balance brings about feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear.

To combat this and not revert back to old self-defeating habits, implementing a daily gratitude practice is critical to keeping a balanced pendulum of emotions.

3. Stay mission-driven no matter what.

People such as LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, and numerous other top performers are remarkably skilled. But even more important than that, they're relentlessly persistence toward their goals.

More often than not, there will be days where obstacles arrive that test your emotions and commitment. Despite whatever drama, uncertainty, or stress that is around--stay mission-driven by committing to a relentlessly persistence mentality. 

Stick to your daily plan and execute no matter what your thoughts may be whispering or how you feel in that particular moment. Thoughts and feelings are fluid entities that come and go.

Constructing yourself into a character that has self-discipline doesn't need to be overcomplicated. Instead, construction of this character simply starts by cementing a sturdy foundation built on simple, but strong principles.

Published on: Jan 31, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.