Every time a think of some virtuous accomplishment I've achieved, there is always the idea of ruining it in the back of my mind. I am well aware that these thoughts are irrational, and I should never feed into them, but I've always wondered why that idea is there. I can't find another word for temptation, because to me it's not. To be specific, characters such as Lillian Rearden seek to destroy their values, i.e. Hank and his metal. I tell myself to be happy and proud of my accomplishments, which I am, but then comes the idea of ruining it. I don't know why I get these thoughts. It hasn't ever guided me, but that presence is always there.
Old ways of being are familiar. There is seeming safety in familiarity.
The new is challenging. Every meaningful success presents new opportunities and problems, and cuts off old ones.
For instance, if you go to college and get a degree and a high-paying job, you may have to give up an old friend who is into taking recreational drugs. You may actually like him, but you know he's a bad influence. You want to make new friends who won't encourage you to take drugs.
Self-sabotaging ways are like old friends. They "tell you" (they are the result of ideas) that your recent success is not worth the freedom (e.g. to take drugs) that you are giving up. They tell you you really aren't good enough to deal with the new kinds of problems that your new-found success presents you -- that you are better off sticking to the ways you know, because you are more likely to fail if you are doing something you haven't done before.
Ideas about self-sabotage are simply the result of a perfectly normal and natural fear of living in a new, better way.
It takes courage to contradict that fear and sustain improvements in your life, rather than stepping back from a challenge, and rationalizing it by saying "that form of success wasn't really for me."
Whether success is for you is your choice. It's not an easy choice. Success causes fear.
Sustaining success, however, crushes that fear.