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What to do when you’re scared of change

You want to improve your health, finances, your life.

You really want to go forward towards your goals, but you’re afraid of what it takes to accomplish a change.

A world of changes where everybody stays the same

Everybody wants to change something, but everybody is also scared of it.

Have you noticed how most people, when talking about change, want the change to come from someone else?

The government, a company, their employer, their spouse or friends. Rarely we find someone who truly understands that any change worth making comes from within.

And that’s not surprising, humans are creatures of habits, we cherish both comfort and safety, and we find them in routine.

However messy and always-changing the lives of some of us are, they still provide habits and comfort, if only by their unpredictable nature. It can be the food you’re eating, the TV you’re watching, but most importantly the image that other people have of you.

Change IS scary.

Why?

Simple: you know you can survive in your current situation, you know you can handle how people see you, because you are! But any change that threatens the status quo begs the question: will I survive this? How much pain might I encounter along the way? Will I succeed? Will I fail? How people will look at me either way?

It doesn’t matter whether it looks like a good change or not, if it is significant enough, fear always creeps up.

It doesn’t mean you should never change. On the contrary, sometimes, fear shows us what we care about.

When to consider a change

Simply, when you feel the current situation isn’t right, when it doesn’t satisfy you. When you wake up dreading your work, or even worse, feeling completely apathetic.

Now, if you don’t know what to change, or how to change it, your mind will trick you into believing you don’t want/need the change.

Acknowledging you want a change and knowing how the hell you’re gonna make it are two completely different things. The first step is bringing more truth. If you want to change, accept it. Only then, look at your options. It might take time, be patient.

What if you don’t feel ready?

Why don’t you?

If you believe you’ll be ready when you’re not afraid of the change anymore, the next change you’ll make is going six feet under.

Do NOT wait for the fear to disappear, the more you care about the change, the more the fear will try to stall you. As Susan Jeffers wrote, feel the fear and do it anyway.

Now, if you wonder if you’re ready because of your financial situation, or career, or [insert very good excuse here], does that also prevent you from taking one step forward?

No, you do not need to quit your job tomorrow, but what about looking for classes to improve your skills or job offers to see how the market is going?

Assume the change you want to make, and start gathering information, go to workshop, the momentum will help you go forward. Your worst enemy is inertia. The more steps you’ll take, the easier it’ll get, even if the fear stays.

If you still doubt, here’s the killer trick: on your deathbed, what will you regret more? Making a scary change in order to attain your dreams, even if you fail, or stalling to keep the fear and safety under control (and failing by default)?

Share what you can do today to bring you closer.

Thanks to Bon for inspiring this post.

2 Responses to What to do when you’re scared of change

  1. You have reminded me to keep my eye on this quote by Theodore Roosevelt (printed out, laminated and in my wallet). Thanks, Sylvain.

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

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