Circumventing Your Fear Of Starting
Every day you spend in your head thinking about improving your life is another second you’re not improving your life.
You say that you’ll eventually get around to it.
When the time is right.
When the kids move out.
When the prices drop.
When life levels out.
You’ve been talking about it for years, but have nothing to show for it. You’ve spent more time imagining than initiating.
For whatever reason, the fear of starting on your dream path outweighs the fear of growing old and having not done everything you wanted to do.
Look, I get it. There’s no easy way to overcome fear.
But sometimes, the only way is to just start. To plunge in without looking.
Once we start, it becomes much easier to follow through. In fact, you might even realize that it’s not as bad as you had initially suspected.
Now, you’re probably saying, “But my problem is getting started.”
No, you’re problem is your brain.
When we imagine something we would like to start doing, we mentally travel into the future. We envision a desired result separate from the present. This is why it’s much easier to plan than it is to implement those plans because planning requires no immediate action towards the goal itself, just some forethought and a little enthusiasm.
But when the time comes to get started (an action that exists only in the present) we’re immediately reminded that our goal is somewhere in the future.
So, we end up putting off what we planned because all our brain sees is a distant reward (a finished manuscript, a weight loss goal, becoming debt free, finishing a masters degree) and the human brain is not too fond of delayed gratification, plus any long term commitment has the potential to stir up unresolved fears.
What helps to bypass this “biological preference system” of the brain is to fill the gap between the present and the end goal with incremental goals.
Reaching “minor” goals that lead up to the big goal gives us the taste of achievement more frequently, circumventing our fear of starting and our brains affinity for instant gratification.
If you are putting off writing a novel, make the completion of each chapter a minor goal.
If you’re trying to start an online business, make your minor goals the purchase of a domain name, the logo creation, the site design, and so on.
Thinking about training for a marathon? Start off with a goal of completing a 5k first, then a 10k, then a half marathon.
The point is to shift your attention away from the distant, end goal and onto the minor goals.
This strategy will give you and your stubborn brain quicker rewards, in turn, eliminating your aversion to starting.
The bottom line?
Don’t just stand there, start the motion.
You’ll find out that once you get going, all sorts of neurological magic is waiting to propel you to the future you’ve been dreaming of.