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Last Updated on January 8, 2019

How to Conquer Your Fear of Change and Transform Your Life

How to Conquer Your Fear of Change and Transform Your Life

Studies show that 80% of people will quit their resolution within six-weeks.[1] When attempting to understand why so many people cannot transform their lives, you need to look at their beliefs.

Most people want to change something about their lives, but they are discouraged by the fears and self-doubts their false beliefs create. If you are ready to transform your life, then you must be ready to conquer your fear of change.

Where so Many Fall-Short

If you want to transform your life, then you need to aid your mind in understanding this is a change for the better. This is important because whether you want to admit it or not, you enjoy your current lifestyle.

Consider someone who was dealing with a variety of health problems. They experience dizziness, headaches, and numbness in their legs. They visit their doctor and the doctor told them they need to change their diet. They need to replace their chips and chocolate cake with fruits and vegetables.

If you have ever attempted to change your eating habits, you know it is not the easiest thing to do. Most of you already know that diet and exercise will dramatically improve your quality of life. Yet, I am sure you are also aware that knowing isn’t the same as doing.

Even though you know the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, you fear the change of never being able to eat chocolate cake again. In other words, your fear of change is related to losing a perceived reward. While you may consciously know that eating chocolate cake is not the best choice, you subconsciously (and consciously for many of us) enjoyed every bite.

Frequently, you will find your fear of change is associated with the loss of a reward. Even though you may know the consequences of things like eating chocolate cake, smoking, or staying in a toxic relationship, your mind focuses on the good times.

How to Conquer Your Fear of Change

1. Create a Reward System

For you to successfully transform your life and conquer your fear of change, you must reward yourself.[2] Think about it, if your mind believes you are removing an activity you enjoy, how likely is it to agree? For you to ease the transition into your new life, you must show your mind it is not losing, but gaining an additional reward.

By frequently rewarding yourself, you are encouraging yourself to continue. The mistake that most people make is they try to conquer fear with fear. This does not work as well as some would like you to think.

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While there is a place for both, I have always found using a carrot works remarkably better than using a stick. Whenever possible, you want to encourage yourself to run towards pleasure, instead of urging yourself to run away from pain.

By focusing on running towards pleasure, you will slowly shift your mind’s reward recognition. Overtime, you will no longer see eating chocolate cake as enticing as a good salad.

2. Research Your Transformation

While transforming your life can feel like a leap of faith, you can limit the height of the ledge by researching the changes you want to make. When most people decide to transform their life, they are only focused on the results.

While the results are a motivator to start, they are rarely enough to continue. Whenever you procrastinate on changing your life, that usually means you are fearful of the next step.

3. Ask Yourself: What Are You Afraid Of?

Your fear of change in this instance is tied to the fear of uncertainty. Think about someone who is interested in changing their career. They know that their current situation is not right for them. They have an idea of the type of work and the amount of money they would like to make.

However, they have no idea how to get from where they are to where they want to be. This creates a feeling of overwhelm as they are uncertain if they can accomplish their goal.

For you to conquer your fear of change in this scenario, you need to make a list of your concerns and research methods to mitigate them.

If you are concerned about losing your seniority and starting over, ask the hiring manager what they value most in their new employees. Then you can create a plan to deliver immediate value to show your worth.

Maybe you are worried about the relationship with your new supervisor. If that is the case, invite them out for lunch or coffee to get to know them better. In this case, it is critical that you are both as honest as possible. It defeats the purpose if either of you are pretending to be something you are not.

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If you are not confident that you are completely qualified for the role, check to see if you can find a competency test online. If there is no test available, ask the hiring manager if you can talk with the person you are replacing.

By the time you research the validity of your concerns, you will know whether you should take the leap or not. The mistake most people make is they never properly address their concerns. They allow the fear of change to fester into something that stifles their ambitions.

By listing and exposing each of your fears, you create the opportunity to conquer them.

4. Avoid the Past and Future

Whenever your fears and self-doubt discourage you from transforming your life, you are not living in the present moment. When you feel stressed and overwhelmed, you are living in the past or the future.

If you are living in the past, then you are reminding yourself of your previous mistakes. You are worried about repeating them and this can make it difficult to continue.

Other times, the previous mistakes may not be your own. If someone shared their past failures with you, those could be enough to discourage your willingness to continue.

In either situation, you are allowing your past experiences to discourage your present action.

If you are focused too much on the future, then you feel overwhelmed by possible outcomes. For example, you do not apply for a promotion because you are worried about the increased workload. You could find yourself avoiding new relationships because you are afraid of getting hurt again.

Whatever the transformation you want to make in your life, do not allow the uncertainty surrounding it to cause you to procrastinate.

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5. Stay in the Present

When you are in the present moment, you have nothing to be stressed or concerned about. Instead of seeing challenges as concerns, you see them as opportunities to grow.

If you just got out of a bad relationship, what did you learn about yourself from those experiences?

Could you be attracted to a type of person that is counterproductive to your goals? Is it possible you are in a different place in your life and you have a different list of priorities? Did something happen in your relationship that set it on the path of failure?

Your only goal in this exercise is to create opportunities to make better decisions. You should not fear the change associated with going from “single” to “committed relationship”, instead you should find opportunities to find the right person for you.

The same principle holds true in the promotion example. Instead of never applying for a promotion because you are worried about the workload, state your requirements in the beginning. This will ensure that you and the hiring manager are on the same page.

If you tell them you are only going to work a set number of hours, then it is up to them to accept your proposal.

When you stay in the present, you allow yourself to make the best decision with the information available. When you are focused on the past or the future, you do not have the opportunity to decide anything. Instead, you are only stressing out about the perceived “inevitable” outcome. Whether that outcome is driven by your past failures or your fear of the worst-case scenario in the future.

6. Burn the bridge

Let’s say that you have done everything recommended to this point, but you still feel as though transforming your life is a daily grind.

If you find yourself in this situation, you want to put the systems in place to make it easy to maintain your changes. As difficult as this may sound, on its most basic level, you are burning the bridge back to your old life.

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Whenever the fear of change discourages you from advancing, by putting the proper systems in place, you can make it even more discouraging to retreat.

Most of the time you are making it more difficult to advance in your transformation than retreat to your previous life.

7. A Layer of Accountability

Think about someone who joins a gym because they want to be healthier. If the only thing you did was purchase a monthly membership, do not be surprised you have canceled your membership in a couple of months. Instead, consider purchasing an annual membership.

This will help you feel as though you have invested a considerable amount of resources into your transformation. Then, you can partner with someone you know who enjoys working out. They will be your accountability partner.

You will task them with the responsibility of calling you every morning you are supposed to work out. If you do not answer, you have empowered them with the ability to make impact your life.

Whether you have given them incriminating photos they can post on social media, or you have given them money they can keep if you do not follow through.

On the other-hand, when you keep your commitments, they will give you your predetermined reward. By adding an accountability partner to your journey to transform your life, you dramatically improve the odds of you maintaining your goals and resolutions.[3]

Final Thoughts

To conquer your fear of change and transform your life you need a comprehensive plan. Spend the proper amount of time understanding your motivation, researching your concerns, and putting the proper systems in place.

Resources to Help You Make Changes in Life

Featured photo credit: Vlad Bagacian via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Undre Griggs

Coaching To Help Professionals And Organizations Change Their Beliefs So They Can Get Results.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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