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Last Updated on February 9, 2021

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 April 8, 2021

How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide)

How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide)

Take a moment and imagine what your life would be like if you had no fear. What would you do if you knew how to overcome fear? It’s not difficult to imagine that it would alter your life significantly.

I believe that fear is the single biggest obstacle that holds people back from fulfilling their potential and becoming the best version of themselves. Fear of failure, fear of abandonment, fear of success, fear of not being good enough

The question is, where does it come from?

Neuroscientists claim that humans are the most fearful creatures on the planet because of our ability to learn, think, and create fear in our minds. We scare ourselves by imagining the worst possible outcomes, assuming that we are protecting ourselves from imminent danger.

You make the choice to be a victim of your fear and anxiety or to push them aside and be courageous.

In this article, we’ll look into the root cause of fear and how to conquer fear to realize our potential.

What Is Fear, Really?

This acronym best reflects what fear is[1]:

Learn how to overcome fear with the fear acronym

    Fear is an emotion created by your mind based on real or imagined threats. Fear may be completely founded in reality, or not. It may also manifest as anxiety disorders in some cases, as anxiety is based on worries or fears about the future.

    These imagined scenarios of perceived threats end up feeding your fear to the point where it becomes all-consuming. Often, these scenarios never happen.

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    The real issue is not the fear itself, but rather how we hold it in our minds.

    How to Overcome Fear

    Overcoming fear may sound easier said than done. When you are in the thick of fear, it’s hard to see a way out. The good news is that, because you are the root cause of your fears, you are also the solution to them.

    1. Identify Your Fears Through Writing

    There are times when I’ve felt afraid but couldn’t identify why. If you keep your fears inside, you allow your mind to control how you feel.

    In order to prevent this confusion from happening in the first place, identify what your fears are before moving on to learning how to deal with fear.

    What makes you feel afraid?

    Instead of just thinking about these things, write them down. When you write down your fears on paper and actually question them, it forces you to analyze why you are afraid. Questions are designed to trigger your fears and bring them to the surface.

    This isn’t a comfortable process, but deep inner work never is. However, if you continue to keep your feelings in the dark, the scarier they will be, and the more disempowered you will become.

    Once you identify the type of fear and the experience that you associate with your fears, you become armed with the power to take action to change them. Eventually, your fears become smaller and smaller, and your strength gets bigger and bigger.

    As you’re identifying what your fears are, you can try Lifehack’s Free Life Assessment. It will help you identify which areas may be causing you more fear and which you can fall back on as strengths.

    2. Practice Gratitude

    If you want to learn how to overcome fear, gratitude is key. From personal experience, I have learned that it’s difficult to experience fear and gratitude at the same time. They are literally on opposite ends of the continuum of the human experience.

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    When you are experiencing difficult times in life, it’s easy to drop into fear and overwhelm. In that energetic space, it can be hard to stay grounded.

    Developing a gratitude practice allows you to not drown in fear. It doesn’t mean that you won’t still feel it, but the blow will be lessened, thereby allowing you to see the brighter side of struggle.

    In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their physical and mental health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships[2].

    Anyone who experiences fear knows that there is almost always a story attached to whatever it is that you’re fearful of.  Fear loves to hang out with your inner critic and come up with worst-case scenarios about what could happen.

    Gratitude helps keep these limiting stories at bay when you’re learning how to overcome fear. When you practice gratitude, your brain shifts to what is currently working instead of what isn’t working.

    The act of being fearful is a future-oriented process, while gratitude is a present-oriented one. The next time that fear tries to creep its way into your head, replace that disempowering thought with an empowering one.

    You can learn more about how to replace fear based practices with more positive ones in this video:

    3. Release Control

    Being a control freak is how a lot of people manage their fears, or so they think. Unfortunately, control has no place on the path to learning how to overcome fear.

    In actuality, all that they are doing is masking their fears by trying to control everything. If you can relate, it’s time to release control. Trust me when I say that this is a losing battle.

    Fear results in controlling behavior, and when this behavior doesn’t give us the results we’re seeking, it further intensifies our fears.

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    In your attempt to control fear, you actually become a victim of it. This fear and control cycle leaves a lot of people feeling defeated. The reality is that there will always be things that are far beyond your control.

    The only way that we can move past needing to be in control is to accept that it is not always up to us. While you may be in control of your decisions, you don’t always have control over situations that you are pushed into, nor can you control how others react.

    The only thing that you have control over is your inner world and how you choose to respond to your external environment. The next time you catch yourself trying to control everything, step back and ask yourself what you are afraid of.

    Start to get curious about what thoughts are generating your fear. Curiosity and fear don’t like to co-exist. Once you let go of one, you invite the other in, which will help as you learn how to get rid of fear.

    True freedom comes from fully releasing control. When you are able to do this, you begin the process of releasing your fears as well.

    4. Recite Positive Affirmations

    Positive affirmations can be used to combat almost any negative thought pattern, which can be very helpful when you want to learn how to overcome fear. Using them to help challenge your fears can help retrain your brain and have your fears reframed as powerful statements.

    Research shows that you can actually train your subconscious mind such that it will help you to attract exactly what you desire in life[3].

    Instead of saying “I am afraid of doing this because I might fail,” look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I am prepared for this, I am ready, and I will not fail.”

    The more you use positive affirmations, the stronger they become. The best way to cancel a negative belief is to develop its positive counterpart.

    Commit to making positive affirmations a key component of your morning ritual. It literally takes one thought, repeated over and over again, to set you on the path to transforming your entire life.

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    Here are more positive affirmations you can try: 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life

    5. Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You

    Living in your comfort zone will get you nowhere in life, and it certainly won’t help you learn how to overcome fear. In my experience, not doing the things that scare you will only increase the likelihood that your fears will grow and inevitably take over every decision that you make.

    I want to encourage you to do one thing every day that scares you. It can be something small. All that matters is that you take action. Make it a habit to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

    Putting yourself in new and uncomfortable situations triggers a unique part of the brain that releases dopamine, nature’s make-you-happy chemical. Here’s the mind-blower: that unique region of the brain is only activated when you see or experience completely new things[4].

    When you condition yourself to do something every day that scares you, your fear fades away, and your courage grows. Think about it…when you face your fears, how can you fear them again? Soon enough, your confidence will skyrocket.

    Final Thoughts

    The next time that you feel threatened by fear, I encourage you to pull upon one or more of the above strategies. Change your relationship with fear. Instead of letting it knock you down, use it as motivation to grow and achieve more.

    Once you recognize that fear is not real, the obstacles that appear to stand in your way will be removed, and you will feel empowered to take action.

    Your potential in life is limited by only one factor: you. Are you ready to transform fear into action?

    More on How to Overcome Fear

    Featured photo credit: Jonathan Klok via unsplash.com

    Reference

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