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Last Updated on November 25, 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.

More Tips to Help You Change Your 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 August 10, 2020

8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

The importance of effective goal setting cannot be overstated on our personal journeys towards success. This is why there are countless articles out there on how to set your own SMART goals and even why it’s a skill commonly taught to a small degree in classrooms.

Learning the importance of goal setting and the benefits of sticking to those goals can be the defining factor determining whether we truly embrace the importance of goal setting. The more willing we are to embrace this method, the more likely we become to reach our personal definitions of personal and professional success.

Thus, today’s article is going to walk you through some of the benefits you’ll see from learning to set goals for yourself and answer the question, “why is goal setting important?”

1. Goals Guide and Align Our Focus

It’s hard to get to where you want to be in life if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Some people believe avoiding goals means living a more care-free life. How many times have you heard the phrase “If I have no expectations, then I can’t be disappointed”?

But is that really what our lives have come to? Living just to avoid disappointment? It doesn’t seem like an overly optimistic view in my opinion. And since you’re reading this article, I’m willing to bet that you agree with me.

Without goals, we lack a degree of direction and focus. Sure you may be able to avoid disappointment, but just avoiding disappointment doesn’t mean you are necessarily happy.

Without goals, we will pointlessly waste our time, energy, and efforts. Listen to anybody who is the top of their field and they’ll tell you something like this,

“Yes talent is important, but often your success depends much more on what you decide to do with that talent.”

And what you will do with your talent largely depends on your focus.

Your goals give you direction. Your goals give you something to shoot for. This direction and target you create in your mind will help you to progress towards your main life goals rather than simply wander around aimlessly. These goals will help you align your actions and behaviors as you continue moving forward.

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So, why is goal setting important? Because it gives you direction, alignment, and purpose!

2. Goals Help You Avoid ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

Basically, shiny object syndrome is always being in pursuit of the next big thing, constantly switching your goals based on what you feel is most fun and interesting at the given moment, but never actually giving yourself time to accomplish any of those goals.

You don’t get anywhere because you continually change the direction you are heading in. This is one of the consequences that may result if you decide to live a life without goals.

Your goals can sometimes help you to create mental barriers, or blinders, that help you to remain focused on what you think is important and avoid the things that are second priority. When you outline goals for yourself, you are better able to avoid things that distract you from achieving and accomplishing those goals.

Setting goals helps you to step around the other shiny objects because you’ve taken the time to make some mental notes that remind you what it is that you want from your life. Your goals act as subconscious deterrents to anything less than your main priorities. This is what helps you to reach your personal definition of success.

So, why is goal setting important? Because not only do goals tell you what you want from life, but they also help you realize what you need to give up and avoid to achieve that.

3. Goals Turn Our Largest Goals into Manageable Steps

A lot of us have big hopes and dreams. It’s one of the things that make our lives exciting!

But a lot of us never take the time to figure out how we can effectively get from point A to point B. So, sadly, we never fully achieve those goals. We look at our dreams and convince ourselves that only a select few people ever achieve them, so we write ourselves off as people not meant to reach that level of success. Looking at the end product of a goal can be intimidating, daunting, and discourage us from even pursuing them.

Thankfully, goal setting helps us break large intimidating goals into smaller ones. These small steps and more achievable goals will help us to build momentum and will encourage us to keep working towards the next phase of our goal. The form the foundation from which we can begin building the life that we truly hope to have for ourselves, our families, and may even for our communities depending on how big your goals are!

Whenever I get talking about this aspect of goal setting, I can’t help but think about the mountain climbing analogy, and that the easiest way to climb a mountain is simply step by step.

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So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting gives you a list of manageable steps that you can take in order to take your life from where it is now to where you want it to go both effectively and efficiently.

4. Goals Encourage You to Take Action

This builds on the last benefit of goal setting. Not only does effective goal setting help you break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones, but it also encourages you to actually begin taking action on those goals. After all, a plan is completely worthless if you aren’t willing to invest the effort required to execute it.

Setting your goals and putting your plan in place motivates you to begin taking action towards achieving them. These goals give you something to plan and work towards. Essentially, they help propel you forward.

What I like to do is write out and place my goals somewhere that I’ll regularly see them. This constantly serves as a reminder of my top priorities. It allows me to focus on taking small progressive actions towards achieving these goals daily.

This ensures that I don’t fall into the trap of setting a goal, beginning to work towards it for a while, but then having my motivation fade resulting in me falling off track. This is exactly what many people see happen when it comes to their “New Year’s Resolutions.”

If you want to learn about how to take action towards achieving your goal, here’s how: How To Take Action Towards Your Goals Right Now

So, why is goal setting important? Because goal setting actually motivates you to stop thinking about your goals and actually get out there and achieve them!

5. Goal Setting Helps You Continually Improve

This is something that a lot of personal development and self-improvement writers talk about, continual improvement. For those of you who are not aware of the term, continual improvement is exactly what it sounds like — taking small steps towards improvement as frequently as you can to develop into the person you want to become.

What’s the point in improving a little bit each day if you’re not improving in the areas that you want to improve in after all?

The goals that you define for yourself will inevitably shape you into the person who you want to become. They’ll shape your character. Your goals can help you measure your progress as you strive for this type of development.

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Essentially, having goals helps you determine where you started, where you are now, and how much further you need to go. In this manner, your goal setting can serve as milestones and benchmarks that help you determine how well you’re progressing towards your most important goals!

So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting helps you make improvements each day that will slowly transition you into the person you want to become.

6. Goal Setting Keeps You Accountable

Not only does setting goals help you measure your progress, but it also is a means through which you can keep yourself accountable. Too many goals fail because they lack this crucial aspect of outlining accountability.

For example, if I have the goal to do 50 push-ups, that’s great. Most people would support that goal. However, this goal lacks accountability. When do I want to accomplish this goal by and what steps do I take to get there? These are important questions that the original goal leaves unanswered.

A much more descriptive and specific goal could be to do 50 push-ups within the next 3 months by starting at 5 push-ups, and then adding 5 each week. This goal outlines the deadline as well as the steps I’m going to take to achieve it. This plan will keep me accountable because if I fail to retain my progression schedule, I will know that I’m not going to achieve the goal on time.

Additionally, it can serve as a marker helping to signify when something is impeding my progress that I may not have initially accounted for. This tells me that I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing and figure out what adjustments I can make to facilitate my success.

So, why is goal setting important? Setting goals is key to keeping ourselves accountable and on-track towards accomplishing our goals according to the schedules and deadlines we set for ourselves.

7. Goals Make You Feel Good

Trust me, the progress you feel as you set and achieve goals can become super motivating and super addicting (in a good way)! The dopamine release you get from achieving your goals is like a little reward for our brains that continually motivates us to try and hit that next goal!

Having some clearly defined goals will help you to feel better about yourself and your life in general, especially when you stick to those goals, actively work towards achieving them, and end up accomplishing and surpassing your initial expectations. I’m not the oldest book on the shelf myself, but I can attest that there are not many feelings quite like the one you experience when you truly get on a roll!

Additionally, our goals give us an endpoint to shoot for. Rather than progress for progress’s sake, you can actually see where you’re heading! That’s so much more rewarding. Think about a long car trip as a kid. You ask “if you’re there yet?” ever 20 minutes. It seems like the drive drags on forever.

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If you don’t know where you’re going, you risk the journey becoming tedious. It doesn’t tend to be much fun wandering around aimlessly. Goals make us feel good about where we’re directing ourselves.

So, why is goal setting important? Because setting goals and accomplishing them plain and simply make us feel better about ourselves and our lives!

8. Goals Help You Live Your Best Life

I’ve talked a lot in this article about how goal setting helps us progress towards our top priorities and live the way we truly want to live. So I think it’s fit to end the article with this goal because, in the end, I feel it’s the most important one.

Setting your goals and clearly defining what they mean to you will help you live a life that is tailored to your beliefs and values. Your life will become directed towards the things that you most want to achieve.

Life is a tricky game and only in very rare circumstances are things handed to us on a silver platter. Often it takes a great degree of work, planning, and effortful execution of both.

There is no point clinging on to things in your life if they don’t bring you happiness or help you accomplish something that, in some way, aligns with your goals.

Simply put, setting goals helps us live a life that allows us to pursue the challenges and rewards that we truly want to achieve.

So, why is goal setting important? Because our time is always limited, and setting clearly defined goals can help ensure that you make the most of your life and live to the fullest! Find out more here: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the benefits of goal setting that outline why it truly is so important. If you take a moment or two, I bet that you can even think of a few more benefits yourself that you could add to this list.

If I could leave you with something, it would be this:

Goal setting has the potential to take us to some amazing places in life because we all have talent and ambitions. To achieve your biggest dreams, you need to be willing to sit down and create a life design uniquely tailored to you that will help you achieve them!

More Tips About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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