Fear. It is the single biggest factor when if comes to changing habits or bettering ourselves. This applies to all walks of life. The fear of failure. This fear holds us back and keeps us repeating mistakes or eternally treading water.
I have been a Health Coach for 13 years now and I can attest the biggest reason why people do not change their habits, especially health and wellness habits, is the fear of failing. “What if I start eating right, exercising, and losing weight, but then I have a bad day or two and I fail?” “What if I lose motivation?!” “I have lost weight in the past, but I gained it back and then some; I’m afraid that will happen again?” Sound familiar?
This post is going to be about overcoming that fear. Talking about that fear and hopefully facing that fear.
We all know what to eat and what to avoid. We know we need to be more active. Unless you live in a cave on a distant moon, this is common knowledge! What is stopping you from doing these good habits? What are you afraid of? What is keeping you from making small changes to improve your health? We can come up with many excuses, but ultimately, it is your old pal fear on your shoulder, whispering rather loudly, “YOU WILL FAIL! (insert evil laugh).”
Fear is not king. Don’t let it rule you. Taking care of you should be first and foremost, because no one else will. That sounds selfish, but you have to be with your health.
I am not perfect, fear sure has many victories over me. Are you going to succeed 100% of the time, no and that is OK. Why even desire 100% perfection with your health when perfection is impossible? Most people take an all or nothing approach with health and it should not be this way. If that is not setting yourself up for failure, I don’t know what is? Fear wins.
Let’s reject that fear. Look fear in the face, puff our chests, clinch our fists, and say the hell with you. Let’s eat a little better. Let’s get up and stretch for 5 minutes. Let’s go for a 15 minute walk, or join that gym you have been eyeing up on your way home? Just do it, you have nothing to lose. Are you going to fail on this journey? Yes, you will sometimes and that is normal.
Following healthy habits takes practice. Just like everything you have ever done since you were born. It took practice to start walking as an infant, and now you are an expert. It took practice to succeed on that test. Practice to succeed at your job. Practice to write these sentences! Our health habits need to be treated the same way. Practice health habits and you will get better at them.
When making a health change, you are not going to automatically succeed. You are going to have ups and downs. You are going to lose and you are going to win, but the more you practice good habits, the more you are going to start winning! Make that salad over the french fries. WIN! Go for that short walk around the block. WIN! Start that Keto diet you have been thinking about trying for the last 2 months. WIN! Congrats winner mcwinner, you are undefeated!
There will be bumps in the road and that is OK. No roads are perfectly smooth or straight. Prepare for those bumps. Prepare for your old friend fear to whisper in your ear to stop what you are doing and go back to the old ways. You will have more bad eating or no exercise days, everyone does, but hopefully less and less of those days as you practice your new skills.
Set the bar low, short easy attainable goals (SMART GOALS), focus on those, and when the wins start racking up, raise the bar! Easier said than done I realize, but let’s be honest here; changing your health can be pretty easy if you let it be. So be easy on yourself. Make small changes, master those changes, then raise the bar. Rinse and repeat and you will meet those goals that feel so unattainable.
I was and am afraid of failing. I was afraid of what happens 6 months from now when my motivation is waning? I was afraid that I cannot not win more than I lose. I was constantly afraid that friends and family look down on me for failing yet again.
Then something happened. I decided to be easy on myself. No more torturing myself by going all in. No more letting fear win all the time.
I joined that damn gym again and set a goal for 3 x a week, it was more realistic than past goals of my all or nothing 5-6 x a week that failed me so many times. If I felt like doing cardio I would, but I would focus on what I liked, resistance training. It worked! It was easy, it made me feel good, and I got a few wins! I was actually sticking to it. Fear was pretty pissed.
My other health areas were a bunch of failings, but this was a first step. Those first easy victories built my historically crappy confidence. The next step was adding cardio and it kind of just happened naturally. I read my kindle (I highly recommend The Count of Monte Cristo – I do not make money off this click, just a classic book I really liked) while doing cardio and kept it at 20 minutes and sometimes more if I felt like it. The wins were piling up.
Next, I looked at my binge eating and decided it was time to break the binge (overt blog self promotion). I started just trying to eat slower, it failed. I tried Keto, it failed. I tried going veganand lasted 3 weeks. I tried 6 small meals a day, I failed. I tried intermittent fasting and I kind of liked it, I still failed, but something kind of clicked there. I tried fasting, I like that even more and had some success, but it was a bit too hard. Lower the bar bingebreaker.
I am now doing one meal a day. This one I like and so far I am having some success. My old buddy fear isn’t to happy. Sure it still whispers to me and sometimes I listen, but not too often anymore. I am winning more than I am losing. I am not recommending any of these eating or exercising plans, just providing an example of all my losses and how I started getting some wins under the belt by not letting fear tell me I can’t. I want you to do the same, don’t let fear bully you anymore. [takes bow]
Tell me about your fears when dealing with health? Why do you let it dictate your habits? Or how have you conquered it? Inspire us, motivate us, and share! Leave a comment, subscribe, favorite me, whatever floats your boat! I cannot wait to write more and hear from you all. There is so much to discuss and I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts and level up health wise. I would be truly honored if you join me on this journey? – The Binge Breaker