Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fear as a “Go” Signal

Afraid to fail? Afraid to try? Fear is a powerful roadblock—one that is strong enough to keep you from success.

The thing about fear is it can hold you back, consciously or subconsciously. And, a big difference between people who fulfill their goals and those who don’t—is action—moving from thoughts and words to action. So, what do you lose if you begin to act? If we’re talking about wellness and weight loss (and in this Blog, we usually are), ask yourself if you’re perhaps not doing what you know you should be doing because maybe you’re afraid to risk a negative result? In other words, the fear of failure. And ask yourself this—won’t a life of fear keep you stuck in a place you don’t really want to be? A place such as:

  • More than 80 percent of people with diabetes are overweight or obese.
  • A weight gain of just 11 to 18 pounds increases a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes to twice that of individuals who have not gained weight.
  • Chronic diseases kill more than 1.7 million Americans annually, and account for 7 of every 10 deaths and one-third of years of potential life lost before age 65.
  • The foods we choose to eat on a daily basis contribute 80 percent to whether we will develop diabetes, heart disease or cancer.

Scared yet?

As a primal instinct, fear is also capable of invoking “fight or flight,” when our first reaction typically is to flee to our nearest comfort zone (home, a loved one, the refrigerator or pantry). So, let’s look at “fight” rather than “flight.” Even if it’s scary, “fight” is the only response that will provide the self-assurance to permanently escape the fear.

Fear is a powerful force and a primary survival mechanism. It isn’t a good feeling, and all things considered, probably isn’t really a healthy emotion to use as a motivator—except in cases of survival, and then, that’s about survival, not changing behavior. Changing behavior is the means that will provide the self-confidence to overcome fear of failure, bringing you that much closer to moving away from fear and toward achieving your goals.

We tell LoneStart participants to treat setbacks as “guides” not “brakes.” Fear of failure is a big brake. Instead what do you think might happen if you take the brakes off and make fear your “Go” signal?

No comments: