In his book “The Slight Edge,” Jeff Olson discusses how to stop the negative snowball from gaining mass, slowing us down and ultimately preventing us from living a great life. Ridding yourself of this fear is no different. The key is incremental and consistent changes that build on each other and ultimately lead you to where you want to be.
How do you embrace change and pursue the life you want?
- Loosing your job
- Ending an unfulfilling relationship
- Moving to a new city
- Committing to a healthier diet
- New exercise routine
— all changes in life that take us out of our comfort zone and can create major anxiety.
And that anxiety and fearfulness holds us back from having the life we really want.
But a life of monotony is obviously not the path to happiness.
The unknown can be terrifying, but encountering it head on is the path to a truly fulfilling life.
To help you overcome fear of change associated with tackling big changes, we’ve put together easily actionable, tried and true expert advice.
Get motivated, get fearless, and push yourself outside of your comfort zone so you can conquer bigger, better things.
Weigh the Pros & Cons
Pros and cons lists of fear of change may seem unnecessary.
But they’re actually extremely helpful when it comes to making important life decisions.
The thought of the unknown leaves many people stuck in a perpetual stasis.
But once you can clearly see the benefits on both sides of an issue, it becomes easier to make a decision.
List out all of your fears and rational reasons for making that change, then weigh them against each other.
Breaking tasks down into simple elements
If you’re considering making a big change in life, think about what goal it is you’re trying to achieve. Look deep inside yourself; make a list of why it’s important for you to achieve this goal and what it will mean in your life when you do, recommends holistic health coach Amy Height.
Now list all the cons associated with the change, along with all the pros. Seeing the situation written out in black and white can really empower you to make a change, or realize that you are happy where you are.
You may even identify other areas you’d like to change instead.
Once you set in ink a list of pros and decide to go for it, Height recommends keeping the list where you can see it every day to get you fired up and motivated to transform.
When you’re ready to make a change in your life, first break down your goal into smaller, more easily manageable steps.
If your goal is to ultimately change careers, begin by networking with people in your ideal career, graduate to events.
Or workshops related to the field, and then proceed to applying for your dream job.
“Once you become comfortable with these minor adjustments, you gradually begin making bigger changes and repeating the process,” explains marriage and family therapist Danielle Adinolfi.
Tackling smaller goals will help grow your confidence and make you feel more comfortable tackling the larger stuff.
Acknowledge & Accept Your Fear
“Feel the fear and do it anyway!” recommends holistic health coach Marissa Vicario.
Acknowledge that you’re fearful of making a change, accept the feeling as natural and healthy, and then move past it and start working to change your life.
“Nothing in your life will change and you won’t learn and grow if you don’t allow change to happen,” says Vicario. “Trust that you’re being guided in the direction you’re meant to go.”
Everyone is fearful of change on some level. Realize that, but also realize that it’s even scarier to stay exactly where you are and later have regrets.
Focus on the Positive
Despite the trepidation, deciding to alter might be exciting and provide you with a fresh perspective on life.
“Focus on the ways the change will make your life better,” recommends holistic health coach Laurie Erdman.
If it’s the idea of moving to a new city you’re toying with, think of all the new people and places you will get to experience.
If you’re fearful of ending a relationship, which can be particularly difficult, keep a positive, motivating thought process. While you’ll miss this person, you won’t miss the problems in the relationship and you’ll be free to grow into a more independent woman and now be able to meet someone who can make you feel more fulfilled.
“Instead of focusing on deprivation and the things you feel you have to give up, think about what you’re gaining,” adds Height.
“Embrace the new and exciting elements, and you’ll set yourself up to stay on track.”
Realize that Things Will Be Different
When you make a change, things will not stay the same (seems obvious, but sometimes it’s easy to forget).
If you end a relationship, you may also lose contact with friends you’ve made through your partner. If you move to a new city, you may have some lonely, homesick nights in store. That’s okay. Acknowledge that out of the challenges and difficulty your life will evolve and take shape into something new and better.
No one ever accomplished anything by staying exactly the same.
Talk It Out
Spend some time talking through your fears with a close friend, relative or your significant other.
At some point in their lives, they’ve likely had to face their fear and make a similar change.
That wisdom can help you to feel more prepared to start tackling your own uncertainty.
Ultimately, you’re the only one who can make the decision to change your life.
But having the advice and support of those you love and trust can certainly make the decision a little easier and less frightening.
Be Your Own Motivator
Trust yourself and your feelings. If you feel that a change is right for you—just go for it.
Wake up everyday and say to yourself that you will take a small step toward your goal realizing that it is best for you emotionally and mentally.
“Effort doesn’t seem to be cost effective until you have an emotional driver to propel it,” explains psychologist Jeanette Raymond.
Think of all the ways staying in your current state—relationship, town, job, friendship, weight, etc.—is holding you back from growing or living the life you’ve always envisioned.
Use that knowledge and emotion as motivation.
Take Time for Yourself
Making a change can be hard—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, but you can do it.
It’ll be stressful and uncomfortable, so you need to be mindful to take good care of yourself.
“Change is a time for self-care and self-reflection,” says Erdman. “Take time for yourself; nurture and nourish yourself.”
“Learn that taking care of yourself is healthy, and improves that balance of responsibility in relationships,” adds Raymond.
Make sure that you’re finding time to do things that you love, connect with people who support you, eat healthy, nourishing food, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, etc. Show that you love yourself.
While it’s always a good idea to do these things.
It’s particularly important while you’re undergoing a big period of change.