By Lisa Jo Barr
They say that the only way to get over fear is to move through it. To move. To take action.
If you sit or lay still, the fear just hovers above you and grows bigger inside you. When you sit still, that beautiful imagination of yours starts to work against you. The shadows grow bigger and the source of those shadows becomes more and more vague. It becomes harder to do something new. You begin shaking in your shoes. Everything becomes tinged with the fear, you see the world through the lenses of hesitation.
It is very painful to live in a state of fear. Of wondering when the next shoe is going to drop. Being afraid before, during and after every move you take. And what a toll it takes on your self-esteem and confidence. So why do it? Some of us are conditioned to embrace fear, especially if you grew up in violence. Also, if your parents were scaredy cats then there is a good chance that you will be imprinted with the same patterns of fear.
If you are an adult–over 18 years old, guess what? It is your responsibility to release yourself from fear, or to take responsibility to get some help to do that. You must do something different, because doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result spells insanity.
Change doesn’t have to be one big lump sum, all at once. As a matter of fact, most huge shifts that “magically appear” without any lead up to, won’t stick. Baby steps are where it’s at.
Take one area where there is fear, and break it down into tiny steps. Set positive goals–both quarterly with monthy goals to support them. Make the monthly goals baby steps that lead up to conquering larger chunks of fear in one of the many areas of your life.
For instance, let’s say you are afraid of losing weight. You are afraid to go into the gym because you have extra padding. You are afraid that people will laugh at you. As a matter of fact, you are afraid to even go for a walk, because you are bigger than you’ve ever been before. You are scared people will roll down their windows in their cars and laugh at you.
Here’s the goals you set, determined to prove your big fears wrong:
1st week–1 block x5/week
2nd week–6 block x5/week
3rd week–12 block x5/week (walk one block/jog a block) alternate
4th week–16 block x5/week (walk one block/jog a block) alternate
The first week you noticed nobody was rolling down their windows laughing. They were just driving past! This was a major 1st step.
Gradually you move from 1 to 6 to 12 to 16 blocks, walking to alternating walking with jogging. Your metabolism rises S-L-O-W-L-Y. It will stick more than if you go from 0 to 120 in 60 seconds. It just won’t stick. You’ll probably end up burning yourself out and possibly injuring yourself which will lead to you giving up on any exercise regime, and going back to embracing good ‘ol fear.
When you take change slowly, you can get used to the way the new shoe fits. You can break it in at a leisurely pace instead of the day before you’re scheduled to run a marathon.
Doing is the most important component to change. There are other things to embellish change that will help keep the fear at bay. Affirmations are phrases that are used to tell yourself the truth about who you are and where you are going. They are best to be written and said in the present tense. They can be very powerful when used in conjunction with ACTION.
Holding yourself accountable is another great way to make your goals stick. Tell a trusted friend what you’re planning to do before and after you do it. This is called bookending.
Just remember–you are an adult. You are responsible for the quality of your life. You deserve better than to live in fear. You deserve happiness and freedom.
Sometimes you have to fight and work for them. You can do this. Make the goals and take ACTION!