Studies show that 80% of people will quit their resolution within six-weeks. 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.
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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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late
- Do You Have to Give Everything Up to Get a Fresh Start?
- 10 Things You Can Do Now to Change Your Life Forever
- Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?
Featured photo credit: Vlad Bagacian via unsplash.com
|US News: Why 80% of New Year Resolution’s Fail
|Research Gate: Motivation and Reward Systems
|Aston Journal: Role and Impact of Reward and Accountability on Training Transfer