pp. Hindering one's own performance in order to have an excuse for failing; offering excuses for a poor performance before one has even attempted the task.
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You worsen your situation with Catch-22 procrastination thinking. You tell yourself that the job market is too tight, so why try? This type of self-handicapping virtually guarantees a self-fulfilling prophecy.
—Bill Knaus, “Five steps to beat job search procrastination,” Dayton Daily News (Ohio), February 15, 2013
At Indiana University, sociologist Edward Hirt studies "self-handicapping" and the excuses made by people who choose this behavior.

Hirt focuses on the differences between men and women when they sabotage themselves and when they deal with others who do it.

Self-handicapping occurs when people create excuses for their failures before they've tried to succeed.
—Laureen Fagan, “Excuses, excuses,” South Bend Tribune, May 13, 2003
1984 (earliest)
''Some people stake their whole identity on their acts,'' he said. ''They take the attitude that 'if you criticize anything I do, you criticize me.' Their egocentricity means they can't risk a failure because it's a devastating blow to their ego.''

A major category of pathological excuse-making involves using a debilitating condition as a global excuse for any and all failures in life.

This tactic, which Dr. Snyder calls ''self-handicapping,'' has a double payoff: It cushions failures while enhancing any successes. Thus the baseball pitcher who complains of a sore arm before a game is protected if he does poorly, but praised all the more if he pitches well despite the bothersome arm.
—Daniel Goleman, “Excuses: New theory defines their role in life,” The New York Times, March 06, 1984
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