Fear is an odd emotion.
It can be helpful, such as warning us not to go down a dark alley at night. But fear can also be unhelpful, such as preventing us from following our dreams.
When fear creeps into my life, it usually leads to procrastination. I put off my goals and avoid tough decisions all because of fear.
When I’m sitting in my office and I decide to stall before starting a project, fear guides my mouse curser to the gossip blogs.
When I’m unsure about sticking to my diet, fear drives me to root around the fridge for unhealthy snacks.
Does this sound like you? We can’t let fear make us put off the things that need to be done.
Here are some examples so you can recognize when fear is making you procrastinate.
Fear of Failure
This type of fear shows up the most in my life, and I’ll bet yours too. You might be fearful of a work project because you don’t want to screw it up and disappoint your manager, so you put off starting it. You might be afraid that you won’t keep your resolution to lose weight, so you skip your workout.
Fear of Success
Sometimes it’s scary to be successful—even if you’re aiming for something you’ve always wanted! You might be fearful of making more money than your spouse, so you don’t apply for that high-paying job you’d be perfect for. You might be afraid of alienating your overweight loved ones, so you avoid starting a diet and exercise plan.
Fear of the Unknown
This kind of fear is very personal for me. Chris and I procrastinated FOR YEARS about moving to San Francisco. We had a lot of good reasons to move from Chicago to San Francisco: we hated Midwestern winters, the best jobs in Chris’s field are on the West coast, we have no other family so there’s nothing tying us down, etc.
But we were fearful about the unknown: would we have enough money to move, would our house sell, would we be comfortable in a new state. The unknown aspects of moving were scary, and even though we weren’t happy in Chicago, we stayed because it was familiar. We procrastinated and did NOTHING because of fear.
Obviously, Chris and I got over our fear of the unknown because we now happily reside in San Francisco. It wasn’t easy, but these things helped us overcome our fear and stop procrastinating:
- Just do it. Sometimes you have to put on your big girl panties and just go for it even if you’re scared. You’ll start making progress the moment you get over yourself and push through your fear.
- Visualize the best-case scenario. When you focus on how good the end result could be (We’ll never shovel snow again!), it gives you the mental and emotional strength to conquer the fear and continue on your path.
- Remember it’s about you, not them. If you want to lose weight or get healthy, remind yourself that you are worth it. It doesn’t matter if others won’t accept you at a healthy weight; your happiness is more important than living up to other people’s expectations. Don’t let fear keep you from your dreams—ever!
Does fear make you procrastinate? Are you afraid of failing, succeeding, or the unknown?
How do you get over your fear and take action?