If you are like most people, you have a goal or a dream that is meaningful and that you want to achieve. That goal may be related to personal growth issues such as weight loss, gaining self-esteem, finding inner peace, increasing your energy levels, or overcoming depression.
Or, your goal may include going back to school, entering a new career, or bringing your creative talents into a greater public light. Having a goal is the easy part. Attempting to move through your own inner obstacles can literally leave you terrified, completely paralyzed by your own fear.
If you have tried to reach your goal and stopped because you encountered a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, don’t give up. That is the nature of goals. They take you into new territory and bring you face-to-face with your own fears and doubts. The issue is not about how to avoid fear, but how to make positive decisions that boost your confidence while fear is present.
Every day, many people give up on their dreams due to self-doubt and fear. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are six steps to overcoming doubt and fear and bringing your own goals to life.
1. Make a Decision. Once you define your dream or goal, decide that you want to live this kind of happy and satisfied life. This may seem basic but many people never decide and commit fully to their dream. They simply keep “thinking” about it. Or, when the first obstacle appears and they give up. Make a commitment to yourself. Right now is not the time to worry about how to make it happen, or how you are going to move through your challenges. Instead, plant the seed of your dream inside of you and you commit to loving this seed until the day you can harvest the fruits of your efforts.
Honor your commitment to self. No one can let you down more than you can. Make a commitment about what you want and stand strong in your commitment. No matter how challenging, how fearful, or overwhelming it may seem, decide you are going for it! Why? For no other reason than because you want it. There are no should’s, have to’s, or weak choices. This is something you want for yourself and a choice you have made.
2. You Are Not Your Fear. As you move forward on your dream, doubt and fear are going to show up sooner than you might have expected. To move beyond fear, it is helpful to learn to separate yourself from your fear. For example, instead of thinking an all encompassing statement such as, “I am fearful,” learn instead to say, “There is a part of me that is fearful and doesn’t want to move forward. But somewhere inside of me there is also a desire to continue moving forward.”
Fear is not all of who you are, rather it is an emotion that you are experiencing. The key is to recognize your fear, avoid becoming identified with your fear, and keep breathing. Breathing keeps energy moving and prevents you from being consumed in fear’s heavy embrace.
No matter how scary it seems, decide to sit with your emotion of fear for the purpose of accepting its presence, but not necessarily agreeing with it’s point of view. Acceptance helps because avoiding it doesn’t make it go away, looking the other way doesn’t make it disappear, and ignoring it does not make it any less painful. So, breathe. Then tell yourself that even though you are feeling intense fear, you can still take action. Look fear in the eye and let it know, “You are not the boss of me!” Then take the necessary steps to gain new tools and strategies to move forward on your dream once again.
3. Change your attitude about failure. Long ago, a quote arrived in my email that read, “You try things, some work, some don’t, and you do more of what works.” These simple words suggest that the formula for success is that if you want to grow and succeed, you also have to be willing to fail. Certainly, no one actually wants to experience failure.
However, if you want to succeed at something new, you will most likely experience setbacks, obstacles, and failures along the way. To be successful, redefine failure in a manner allowing yourself to see failure as “information.”Failure is really just feedback telling you to evaluate your experience, utilize the information gained to adjust your plan, and then try a new approach. When you experience a failure – get up, dust yourself off, access the information gained, revise your course, and begin again.
4. Build Your Confidence Muscle. Although achieving your dream will bring up stress, fear, doubt, this experience is precisely what is necessary for a confidence breakthrough to occur. It is not enough to make self-supporting choices when your journey is easy, you have to do it when it’s hardest to do so. That’s because to break through what is holding you back, you have to go through the doubt. You can’t dance around it, wish it away, or analyze how to avoid the experience. Making self-empowering decisions under stress is what leads you authentic personal growth and solidifies inner change.
It’s the challenges of your journey that offer hundreds of opportunities to develop your confidence muscle and gain mastery over your experiences. Every obstacle, setback, or failure offers you a new chance to believe in yourself instead of falling into doubt and fear.
5. Decide You Don’t Have To Do Anything. Here is an experiment. For the next 48 hours, eliminate the words “I have to” from your vocabulary and substitute the words “I choose to.” Instead of saying, “I have to move forward on my goal” say, “I choose to take this specific action step today.” Or, you could just as effectively say, “I choose not to take any action step today.” Either choice allows you to understand that you are the person in control of your choices. You set the priorities. You are responsible. You have control. Feel how empowering this simple change of words can be.
6. Ask Yourself Empowering Questions. Certain types of questions can lead you to gain new insights and new motivation. Ask yourself the following questions, allow yourself to answer them from your heart, and see where your truths take you: Are your dreams important enough to change your daily lifestyle?
- Do you want to be responsible for your own life decisions?
- Do you have the courage to go after what you want with tenacity and see it through to the end?
- Can you accept that fear is part of the journey and move forward anyway?
- Can you recognize that fear is only your leader if you allow it to be?
Being able to overcome your doubt and fears so you can bring into reality the life of your dreams is one of the best experiences in the world! Take control of your life by practicing these five simple steps and learn how to tame your fear and create a happier, more successful life.
This is a guest post by Dr. Annette Colby
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