Since last week’s article where I shared my personal experience Working through Fear on the road to Change, I received a number of emails in response to it which indicated that it really struck a cord. I thought then that I’d follow up this week with something that puts some action steps in place.
It seems all of us in our own way get stuck in our comfort zones from time to time, where fear and doubt can lock us into immobility. The consequence is that you put off your dreams of a better career, health, finding love / improving an existing relationship, or whatever else it is that is your heart’s true desire.
As we get locked into inertia we tend to lose trust in our ability to make significant change in our lives. Overcoming fear or doubt isn’t easy and sometimes of course we may need some professional support to work through deep emotional issues. In general though I think we’re all very capable of finding the courage to embrace fear and doubt, and turn it into a force for good, driving us to be the change we want to see.
I’m no expert on this, I certainly have my days where I don’t feel strong, but like you I’m trying to get a little better everyday. Along the way I’ve learned a few things which I try to keep front and central in my life.
What works for you might be much different, so as always take the main idea and use it in a way that is best for you.
5 Steps from Courage to Action
1. Create a Compelling Vision – Before any journey starts you need a map, otherwise how will you guide yourself to where you want to go? Our deepest consciousness made up from all our thoughts creates our life map which then guides our destiny. We all have hopes and dreams but all too often they have to compete to be heard with the clutter and noise of our everyday waking minds. To imprint our deep consciousness with what we truly want in life we have to find a still place to do this. Meditation or some sort of practice where the ordinary mind is suspended provides a fertile space for your hearts desire to imprint your consciousness. If this isn’t your thing, then upon waking in the morning, before getting out of bed and getting your mind working on the day ahead, try five minutes of imagining what your perfect life would be without any conflicting thoughts. In this relaxed mind state these positive visualizations seep into your consciousness and with it a compelling vision dawns and with it a subtle sense of courage and conviction to march on. It doesn’t matter if this doesn’t come naturally for you (I still find it difficult), but what have you got to lose in trying it? 5 minutes a day of investing some faith in this process is all it takes.
If you need some inspiration on this topic, I highly recommend reading “The Element” by Ken Robinson or “Creative Visualisation” by Shakti Gawain or take a look at some of the host of guided meditations found on you-tube.
2. Stop making the excuse that you don’t have enough time – lets be brutally honest here, but “not having enough time” is a bit of a rubbish excuse. If doing something you really want is truly important to you, then make time. It might mean that you watch less TV, spend less time on your phone / internet, say “no” more often to other people’s requests for your time etc, but if these other things are stopping you from being a more whole you, then you owe it to yourself (and others) to make it happen. You might have to be a bit ruthless but make this time sacred. As we all well know, if it’s put on your To-do list or in your diary then its far more likely to do done. Productivity apps on itunes App Store and Google Play abound. Find one that you enjoy using in order to make it a daily habit. I personally use Any.do
3. Break down your big goals into its smallest step and then take it one step at a time– sometimes we get stuck not doing anything constructive towards achieving our goals because it’s too big a task and therefore too overwhelming to begin. For instance you might be out of shape and the thought of all the hard work to get back in shape stops you from starting. My advice is start with a commitment so low you can’t refuse. i.e I’m going to put my trainers on and I’m going to walk for five minutes around the block. The following day you might still only walk for five minutes but the real power is in the repetition of this habit. Importantly too whilst this habit you’re developing remains something you enjoy (i.e isn’t too arduous) you’ll stick to your commitment and gradually over time it will build of its own accord and pretty soon be an entrenched part of your life.
4. Make yourself Accountable – tell people that really care about you about the changes you are committed to. This accountability you implement with family or friends is perhaps the most powerful motivator there is.
Again, the world of apps can provide triggers that help make you accountable. There are plenty of apps which give you positive reinforcement upon completion of tasks and goals via mechanisms such as points or badges scored, or otherwise via social networking. If however you’re someone who is more likely motivated to achieve goals if there is a penalty for not doing it, then you ought to check out Stickk which is an app where you complete a “commitment contract” that binds you into committing a personal goal. The stakes are raised by potentially committing money into the equation and having a referee and supporters monitoring your progress. If you fail to meet the standards you’ve set, then your contract may see you paying a penalty by donating money to an organisation / political party you despise.
Also check out A Complaint Free World as another means to means to make yourself accountable. Last year I read the book and bought the wristbands. Part of what made the experience so rewarding was that not only did it benefit me greatly but in my enthusiasm for it, I introduced it to a numbers of clients and friends who took it into their worlds.
5. Get used to dealing with Fear & Doubt and use it to thrive – As I opened this piece with, fear and doubt are part of the human condition. In other words they are the opposite side of the coin to freedom, joy and happiness – you can’t have one without the other.
Fear and doubt come from not knowing and from a desire to control and play it safe. This fear based thinking keeps you locked up in the realm of the thinking mind, whilst the wisdom and intuition coming from your heart is drowned out.
Freedom comes from accepting that you don’t know as it opens you up to gaining new ways of thinking and seeing. It’s impossible to always know, so its inevitable for all of us that there are times when we will be afraid or have doubt. It’s perfectly fine to be afraid, but its not okay to let it hold us back. When fear and doubt are present, instead of getting busy or distracting yourself in some other way, learn to feel it and actually embrace it as an opportunity to inquire into what is possible. Stop, listen, have some faith and allow the whisper of wisdom and intuition that comes from the heart to guide you on.
For reading I recommend I recommend “Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously” by Osho.
“Life begins when fear ends” – Osho
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Aaron Travers is the author of The Boda Fast – a three step plan to lower inflammation, maximise fat burning and restore vitality”. Aaron writes at www.thebodacleanse.com.au and shares his ideas and experiences on health and wellbeing from his personal life and through working with clients clinically and those doing his “supported fasting” / intermittent fasting diet programs. Every Friday he sends out his newsletter, click below to subscribe.