For many, change is not without anxiety. Change sparks gnawing self-doubt, overthinking, rumination, and fear of the unknown. Being open to change is not always the ‘ taking the bull by the horns ‘ type feeling where you throw yourself unbridled into situations with strength and confidence. Sometimes, the very idea of what change means can stop you in your tracks.
But what if we decided we didn’t have to believe all the bad things we tell ourselves?
1. Identify Your Fear
Do you know what holds you back? Identifying the fear is looking beyond the act to see what’s lurking behind and clouding your judgement.
It is not fear of, say, the job promotion; instead, it is the fear of what this promotion represents to you. Is it the fear of failure? The fear of what people will think of you? How will you manage the added workload or responsibility? Is it the fear of letting people down or losing your reputation?
Fear itself reinforces the fear of the unknown. The unknown is often seen from a scary lens.
The unknown is the boogeyman of decision-making who leaps out at you with self-doubt and sabotages your plans
While fear can be very rational, the kind that keeps us safe, fear can also be irrational. When fear is irrational, it serves no purpose but to reinforce or create anxiety-based hypothetical situations.
Anxiety loves these hypotheticals. Your mind keeps these scenarios alive and active long enough to stop you from making changes for no good logical or rational reason. And, anxiety’s work here is done.
Perhaps it is helpful to identify if your fear is rational and healthy. Is it based on fact or emotion? Is it based on hypotheticals or real life? Challenge your view of fear with rationality or have someone assist you to help create that clarity.
2. Avoid Overthinking. Just Do It!
It is easy to get stuck and ruminate in the ‘ what-if,’ thought pattern. These thoughts keep you in a state of indecision.
To get un-stuck means breaking that loop and taking action. Be aware of your thought patterns, and don’t get caught up in your own head.
Overthinking keeps you in a place of second-guessing yourself, and this is not a place that encourages growth and change.
Often, we feel what is comfortable is safe. Comfortable is predictable, planned and controlled. With creating the ‘ what-if’ scenario in your mind — or many ‘ what-ifs’, you soon spiral down a very long rabbit hole of scenarios.
Soon you have rationalised all the reasons why change will not work. You have concluded that this was a bad idea. That you will not do any good anyway. You have decided it’s too risky. You tell yourself this is an idea suited for someone else, not you…. and off we go…
But what would happen if you just went for it?
I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person thenLewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
3. Challenge Your Negative Self-Talk
Negative self-talk is your inner critic. This is the voice overshadowing the confident and capable you, and this voice can be loud.
Ironically, you have every belief that others will reach their goals, just not yourself. What would happen if you backed yourself the way you back other people?
Challenging your negative self-talk means challenging how you see yourself. Have you told yourself so many times that you are not capable of getting that new job, despite zero evidence to back this up?
Have you told yourself you are not worthy of finding a good person to love you because you had one shitty partner who blamed you for everything?
Perhaps challenging your inner critic means being honest with the things you tell yourself. Is it simply that you are too hard on yourself and could be a little kinder?
4. Embrace The Unknown
Growth opportunities start by creating change. The challenge is embracing change long enough to see growth, reinforce your capabilities and silence your inner critic.
When you have embarked on a new journey, you have permitted yourself to trust your decisions. You have stopped second-guessing everything, choosing to embrace change and move forward.
There are lots to celebrate in knowing that you are not stationary, that you are on a new or different path, and that is exciting.
Perhaps it is time to let go of all the things you have created in your mind that have stopped you and embrace the change you are so bravely making.