How to get past your fears and finally reach your goals
Fourteen years ago it finally clicked for me. I had hit my rock bottom. I had been struggling with my weight my entire life and was at the heaviest I had ever been. Looking at my 3 month old daughter I realized that I could not pass my complex relationship with food and my body on to her. I could not watch her go through what I was going through and if I didn’t make a change that is exactly what would happen…she would learn from my poor example.
It was time; I was finally ready to make that change, if not for me, then for her. I was so ready, in fact, that I just knew I would finally be successful but instead of feeling excited, I WAS TERRIFIED!
It sounds crazy but I was sitting there one day, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that I would lose the weight and all I felt was fear. Struggling with my weight was all I knew up to that point in my life. It was all people knew about me (or that was what I thought at the time).
Who would I be without the struggle and focus on my body?
What would my life look like if I could walk into a room and not feel like the heaviest one there?
If I could shop at whatever clothing store I wanted and not count calories or obsess about my next meal or the last thing I ate. Would my friends and family treat me differently?
As humans we are afraid of the unknown – and success at weight loss was completely unknown to me. That fear of weight loss success was one of the things that had been holding me back from reaching success for years and I didn’t realize it until that moment. That fear contributed to the many ways I would unknowingly sabotage myself over and over.
Getting really clear on the real reason I wanted to lose weight (to set a better example for my daughter), provided the sustained motivation to keep going until I reached that goal. But confronting and dealing with my fear of success was the key to ending the cycle of starting and quitting on myself.
I know I am not alone in this. It sounds so counter-intuitive to be afraid of success but it is so very common.
So how do you face and move past that fear so you can actually reach that goal and enjoy success?
What are the fears that are holding you back?
Grab a piece of paper (or download the worksheet at the bottom of this post) and answer the following questions:
1. What scares you about reaching your goal?
For me my biggest fear was that my husband would see me differently and that it would change our relationship.
What is your biggest fear? Write it down.
2. Check the validity of that fear
Our brains work hard at trying to protect us but they don’t always get it right when it comes to the legitimacy of a threat. Ask yourself if that fear is actually valid. Do you have any proof to support it? Are you making any assumptions?
I sure was. I assumed that how much I weighed had an impact on how my husband viewed me and I was afraid that if I lost the weight, he would view me as a completely different person.
So I expressed those fears to him and, of course, found out that my fears were in fact NOT valid.
Once you know that your fears are not based in reality, you can let them go.
3. What can you do to mitigate the risk of any valid fears?
If it turns out that your assumptions are true and your fear is in fact valid, what can you do to reduce the chance that your fear will come to fruition?
In my case, if my husband had confirmed that my assumptions and fears had been correct, well that would have led to further conversations. How can I (or in this case we) mitigate the risk that my success would have a negative impact on our relationship? What are his fears and are they valid?
Write down some things you can do to mitigate your fears.
Do you need to have a conversation with your significant other about your fears?
Would the assistance of a third party like a coach or therapist help you put together a plan to mitigate your fears?
Taking action towards our goals can feel like a threat to our brains.
It equals change and change is scary.
It’s time to identify and challenge your fears. When you discover what is holding you back you can work to release it which will hopefully propel you towards action allowing you to finally reach your goals – willpower not required.
Are you looking for more tips to keep you motivated and on track to reach your goals, willpower not required? Listen to the podcast! Episodes are uploaded every Monday, Wednesday & Friday and are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts and RadioPublic
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