It is difficult to live in fear. Fear of success or fear of failure, it is still fear. Even the smartest, brightest, and most successful people feel fear on a daily basis. Yes, even that person who seems to be happy with their life.
The difference between them and you is that they have learned how to use the fear to their advantage. It is not about overcoming the fear, but using it.
I learned this lesson the hard way, I want you to avoid the mess I was in. I allowed it to completely consume me. I believed that I could not reach any of my goals. I felt that I was going to be fat forever because I did not have the willpower to lose the weight. (At the time I thought it was willpower, now I know better). I thought that I was meant to live life as a failing fatty.
Once I finally became determined to finally lose the weight, I realized that I was pushing it to the side for nothing. It was fun and enjoyable. I know, you may not think so. However, I was able to do it and reach my goals just like everyone else.
If you remember from the previous post, The # 1 Self-Defeating Trait that Keeps You Struggling to Reach Your Goals, it is not about willpower or being lazy, it is about fear.
When you live in fear, whether you know it or not, you are giving in to self-defeat and self-sabotage.
Several factors in your life may be contributing to the fear such as stress, depression, anxiety, or a horrible event that has happened. Even with all these things pushing against you, you can still take these challenges and turn them into your advantages.
Giving into the fear only gives it more power over you.
Instead, you want to take the power away from fear and give it to yourself. Now is the time to overcome fear in five easy steps so that you can begin achieving all of your goals.
1. Check Your Attitude Regularly
The old adage, “you are only given what you can handle” has a lot of truth to it. Sometime we feel things are overwhelming because we have a negative attitude toward it. Take time to put everything into a positive light. Not only will you be able to be more successful, but you will also become happier. Then, the cycle begins. The happier you are the more successful you are and the more successful you are the happier you are.
It may take practice, but changing your view on the activity or task at hand will take you a long way toward reaching your goals.
A great example of this is that dreaded workout. Instead of saying, “Ugh, I have to workout again,” try saying, “I get to make myself healthier now.”
It may not seem like much, but try it the next couple of times you don’t want to workout and see what happens.
2. Use Accountability & Responsibility to Remove Fear
It is very easy to get caught up in the mentality that a mistake is a failure. When we feel this way, one of two things happen. 1) We begin to blame everything on everyone else and avoid taking responsibility or 2) We see it as a fault and that inability to be successful.
Most of the times you respond one of the above ways because of fear. Your inner fear, whether you know it or not, is afraid that the mistake may mean that you cannot do it.
This is why you feel that pain or unknowingly pass the blame onto someone or something else.
“I didn’t get my workout in because my friend called.” “I had to stop my workout because my shoe was bothering me.” “I can’t do this! It’s too hard!”
Do these excuses sound familiar?
When life gets hard the easiest thing to do is give up.
Then you do not have to worry about what is on the other side. Sometimes taking the smallest action of continuing or stating that you will do “just 5 more minutes” is enough to keep you going.
When fear is allowed to take over, the excuses flow. When you recognize that you may be able to push farther so you make a statement or promise to yourself that you can do just a little more makes it more difficult for fear to take over.
The more you remain in control of your decisions, the less opportunities you give for fear to control your life.
In this case, self-control is you taking responsibility and accountability for your decisions and actions. One of the best ways to do this, other than the statements mentioned earlier is through rewards.
Yes, give yourself rewards for any new change you are making to your life. You will find that you want to do better or act a certain way more often.
3. Find Relaxation Techniques
How many times has anger kept you from having a fruitful experience?
Some people may answer yes to this question more than others. It’s a fact of life, some of us have a more difficult time controlling our anger than others. One good thing is that reading this post and the previous post, The # 1 Self-Defeating Trait that Keeps You Struggling to Reach Your Goals, you are beginning to recognize that fear appears in subtler ways than you may have originally thought.
Anger is simply one more way that fear rears its ugly head.
After all, when do you get angry? Generally, when you are no longer in control of a situation, event, or conversation.
This is why it is extremely important that you learn a few relaxation techniques. Learn a few that you can use on a regular basis such as yoga, meditation, hot baths, or reading. Then, learn a few that you can use on the spot such as counting backward from 10, deep breathing, and other methods for quickly shaking the anger off.
I want to share a story with you. I learned a great technique from watching one of the cartoons on PBS with my son. The little boy was so very angry and wanting to yell or argue every time he was told to do something he didn’t want to do. His mom pulled him to the side and said (paraphrased of course), “If you are mad, stomp your foot three times.”
In essence this was to help cool him off so that he was able to calmly think through the situation before he responded. (See, even adults can learn from these kids’ shows. 🙂
There are many ways that you can relax in even the most angering situations.
Once you learn these techniques your ability to control your own life with grow. You will be able to knock out that fear and begin reaching all of your goals.
4. Enjoy the Present Moment
Being in control of your life also means that you are able to enjoy the present moment. One key indicator that you are allow fear to rule your life is that you are always living in the past or the future.
Fear lingers over what has happened and how it went wrong.
However, it also loves to live in the future and strangle your hopes and dreams by keeping you in the “what if” part of life.
Here are two things to remember:
- The past is gone. There is nothing you can do about it now. What you can do is see what you can learn from it and use that as a tool to live now.
- The future is the unknown. The unknown can be scary or it can be thought of as a new adventure full of opportunities in your life.
As you begin taking control of your life by living in the present, know that it will not be easy. Fear will always be trying to pull you back to the past or into the future. Your life is really what you make of it; always be taking actions to move forward.
Being able to enjoy the present moment is a key to success that you cannot live without.
Even with weight loss, living in the moment will help. Forget about the workout you missed, couldn’t finish, or didn’t do right yesterday. Today is a new day. Do not even worry about what you need to eat tomorrow. Simply put all your focus into doing your workout or enjoying the meal you are eating right now.
5. Let Your Feelings Out of that Bottle
Fear wants you to keep your feelings bottled up.
This way you can never take control of your life.
Forget about “crying is for babies” or “c’est la vie.” Those saying grew out of fear. What you want to do is learn how to appropriately express your feelings.
It will help you reduce your stress.
You will be able to take control of your life.
Nothing will hold you back from achieving all of your goals.
Feelings and emotions are what make us human. Sharing them with others makes us stronger, better people.
Think about it…
When your boss says something that makes you really angry, you let it go. Then, your boss does something that makes you even more angry and you push this one down too. Next, your spouse does something that you do not like and you go off on them like a never ending canon.
This is not good for you, your stress, your relationship, or reaching your goals. Instead learn some appropriate techniques for letting your boss know that what they said or did hurt you.
Holding your feelings in only makes them one thousand times worse when they do come out. You will find that you can control many situations, how people treat you, and your stress levels by appropriately sharing your emotions.
When you do so, fear will lose its hold on you and your life will be your own again.