Overcome Fear to Achieve Goals

By Theresa Peasley

Few people talk about their New Year’s resolution’s in summer. We’d rather talk about baseball or summer vacation plans then the goals we made in January. But now is a perfect time to consider why some goals remain unachieved.

What stops us from achieving our innermost desires? We tell ourselves to eat more vegetables, exercise, manage our stress and get more sleep, but why don’t we do it?

The thing that stops us from making changes in our lives is fear.

Perhaps it’s fear of not being good enough, fear of a loss of identity, fear of the unknown, fear of maintaining the success, fear of increased responsibilities, or even the fear of achieving a goal.

So where does this fear come from? Why is it so debilitating? The answer is in our brain. The major part that lives on automatic, also known as the subconscious brain, drives things we don’t have to think about. We just do them. Another major part, the conscious brain, is the one we are in charge of. We use it when we are fully aware, present and not in a reactive state. This part lights up when we need awareness and concentration, such as when we engage in new tasks, something difficult or uncertain.

Let’s begin to apply this information to real life scenarios and goals. The subconscious brain’s job is to keep us alive. When we do something new, or something out of our comfort zone, our brain lights up and says, “Wait a minute! Are you sure you want to do this? We haven’t done this before.”

This could be the moment you decide to act on a new goal, whether it be starting to exercise, eating more healthfully or speaking in public.

The moment you want to change, break a habit or do something hard or scary and you hesitate, your brain goes to work to stop you. Growth requires taking on new challenges.

So how do we get out of this vicious cycle? The first step is recognizing emotions during moments of change are going to come. Which means there will always be fear. We can’t control the emotions we feel or the triggers that bring them, but we have control over our actions.

A good strategy is making goals achievable. Success breeds success, and it’s true no matter how small the goal. Set yourself up for success with smaller goals and your brain will follow.

Another strategy is “Just Do It,” coined by Nike. It’s a mindset that drives action. You don’t take the time to analyze — you just do the action. The more times you perform the action, the less you hesitate, and the more a new habit is created.

Believing you have control is a major aspect to achieving goals. Don’t let fear keep you from achieving your best self.

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