The spin cycle of self-sabotage: No excuses
No one likes the feeling of failure.
We don’t want to look bad in front of others, nor do we want our self-esteem to take a hit. What’s interesting, though, is that psychologists have found that we sometimes set up our own failure in order have an excuse for it afterwards.
“To protect our self-esteem, psychologists have found that people use all sorts of self-handicapping strategies,” according to this article in Spring.org.uk. These include not trying very hard, procrastinating, and allowing distractions such as music — or even alcohol — to mar our performance.
“The problem with self-handicapping is pretty obvious, i.e., you don't give yourself the best chance, so you don't get the best result,” the article says. It’s even more dangerous when we follow self-sabotage with excuses. Excuses, it turns out, seriously lower motivation.
Self-handicapping leads to self-defeating behaviors, like not trying very hard and blaming others, all of which guides us to exactly what we were looking to avoid: poor performance and low self-esteem.
For more information, you can read the entire article here. The article also provides links to the relevant research.