What’s the biggest killer of goals?
January, for a lot of people is about taking action, setting those goals, creating those plans and setting yourself a great rewards system to keep yourself motivated. But what’s the point of putting all this effort in if we don’t address the biggest thing that gets in the way of people achieving or even starting there goals… FEAR.
What are fears that people have; fear of failure, rejection, judgement, not being good enough and on and on
Fear is very common, especially now as there are so many unknowns in the world. If we allow it, fear has the power to keep you locked in a life of comfort and predictability, where you will never reach your potential, as you will choose to stay in that comfort bubble, rather than step into the fear.
You find yourself stuck between being scared to try, and frustrated with where you are……so what do you do…….well if fear is in control, then nothing….Fear drives up away from what we want.
This fear is infectious and soon we can find ourselves living in a bubble of fear, where fear, stress and anxiety are running your life. You find yourself constantly thinking about stuff that worries you. Guys when we do this, we don’t leave any space in our minds to think of a solution, so we feel trapped which reinforces the fear. In addition we don’t leave any room for the good stuff.
What is Fear?
First understand that Fear is a natural, healthy part of our psychology. Our brains are hard wired to respond to anything that we perceive as a threat, it’s an instinctive response that we are all born with. It harps back to the primitive days when we lived in the jungles and hunted for food to survive. Fear is a survival mechanism that we all have; it signals a threat and keeps us safe. I’m sure you will be familiar with the Fight, flight and freeze responses, yeah? So these are how we respond to a threat/fear. This worked well for our ancestor in the jungle being chased by tigers and bears. But in todays world its doesn’t work as well, and this response can become overpowering and over sensitive as we have way more stimulus and things to consider. Excessive fear over time can become chronic.
Chronic fear is when you are literally living inside the fear bubble, the fear response has become all encompassing and your fear influences everything you do, everything you think about and feel. It’s like a self perpetuating loop, the more you fear the more afraid you become. If you feel you are reaching this stage then it is advisable to seek some support.
General Fear – What can we do about this general fear…….well the honest truth is fear will always be there and your instinctive (fight, flight, freeze) response will always be there too. However, this is only our immediate reaction and will only last for a few seconds. It’s the initial rush of cortisol. After this immediate reaction you then can influence and control the continued response. I have recorded this video with some techniques to help you manage your feelings in the moment and to re-condition you brain to response differently. It starts by understanding what is really causing the fear (this can show up in many ways, stress, anxiety, frustration, anger).
Heres a wee exercise that might help:
1. Write down a total brain dump of all the fears in your head, doesn’t matter how trivial, stupid, small or big you think it is, just write it down.
Now highlight the irrational, catastrophic ones (Zombie apocalypse, Conspiracy theories, invasion of locus). Now rationalise that these are unlikely to happen. If you believe it is these irrational thoughts that are diving your fear then you might want to seek some professional support, as this could be the Chronic Fear I mentioned previously.
Identify the thought that is causing the fear and then re-write the story, change the thought. Understand that you have a choice. You can blame the outside fires for your emotions and stay feeling out of control and ruled by fear or you can take responsibility, take charge and stop living in the fear.
2. Take 100% responsibility for what is causing your continued response to the fear, that is YOU. Understand that you have a choice to respond differently and start to take back power over them. This can be a difficult step for people as they want to put blame on the circumstances, on other people or other things. And this makes sense, as most people think that it is the external things that make them feel scared, it’s not!! The situation and circumstances might be difficult but these are things that you can only influence, not control. However the way you respond to all of these things (ie the way you choose to feel/respond) ,is something you can control.
3. Stop the excuses. Excuses are a defence mechanisms we use to avoid dealing with our issues. It’s easier to push what we want to the side when we have these excuses. Excuses are like a comfort blanket when you are living in the fear bubble, it may give you a sense of comfort but it is a false sense of comfort which keeps you wrapped in fear.
4. Decide and commit to respond differently, don’t give yourself a choice, make it a must. The difference with successful people is in how they respond to their fears. They recognise that the real fear is not achieving or starting what they want. Their fear is settling for a life they currently have, but don’t want, so they use their fear to motivate them. Discipline to follow through when the fear pops is something you will need to work on.
5. Learn how to deal with challenges and disappointment, you get back up and you keep going. You learn from the hard experiences, you learn how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Accept that it might not be fair, it’s just part of the process, embrace it and use it to learn and grow.
6. Be kind to yourself and understand the power of a positive mindset. You can only experience one emotion at any given time, so don’t allow space for the fear and negativity, so fill your head with positive thoughts.
7. Live in the moment, if you are only thinking and experiencing what is happening in the now, then that is the only experience you will feel. When you are in the moment, what happened before or could happen in the future has no effect on us, this is why mindfulness is such a great practise.
Remember fear will always be present in our lives and we never really know when it’s going to show up and stop us from achieving our goals, so to be successful we have to learn how to respond to and use the fear to our advantage. I’m not saying it will feel easy or comfortable when you feel the fear and still commit to moving forward, but the reward at the end when you reach even a tiny milestone will feel incredible and it does get easier with time and practise.