Take Action Towards Your Goals When You’re Scared
October 27, 2022 12:30 PM EST | 6 min read
You have an amazing goal, but fear of taking action catches you in the chest, and you just can’t?
Has this ever happened to you?
If that sounds familiar, great!
Not only are you in good company, but you’re likely on the right track.
How do you take action even when you’re scared?
- Don’t fight your fear; define it
- Decided if it is worth it
- Take one step at a time
- Get used to feeling the adrenaline
- Develop self-awareness of your mental blocks and body’s signals
We hear so much about people fearing something and then doing it regardless.
Here are some tips to make that happen!
Take a moment and check out our Action Quotes to Strengthen Your Determination article.
Don’t fight your fear; define it
For example, if you ask ten people who are afraid of public speaking what they are afraid of, you are likely to get different answers.
One might be afraid of the audience laughing at her.
Another might be afraid he will forget what to say.
Still, another might feel as if she’s not qualified.
Yet all these people can say they are afraid of public speaking.
A speaking coach would approach these situations in very different ways.
Fear is a valid and healthy emotion.
Telling yourself not to be scared won’t work.
Get specific about your fear, so you manage it effectively.
You will also enjoy our article on fear and doubt.
Decide if it’s worth it
Likely the answer is yes, but get clear on your ‘why.’
Your big reason.
The most effective way to find your ‘why’ is to play the click-down exercise.
Ask yourself, “Why do I want _____?”
Then take that answer and ask yourself why you want that.
It usually takes about five rounds through the question, but keep going until you feel something big.
Until you feel chills, tears, or breathless from the insight.
That’s when you know you’ve found your ‘why.’
Then, when it’s time to take action, keep your focus on your ‘why.’
While you’re getting ready to take action that scares you, keeping a picture of your ‘why’ will help center you and channel your power where it needs to be.
One step at a time
Many fears come from being overwhelmed.
If someone asked you to drive from New York to L.A., it might seem like a big task!
Very few would simply start driving West.
You’d more likely head over to your favorite map app and get the route.
From there, you’d likely plan your stops.
Then you’d pack your bags, fill the tank with gas, and get going.
The same is true for any action task.
Breaking it down into steps will ease much of the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Mind-Mapping apps are tremendously helpful for this, but old-fashioned pen-and-paper also works well.
The key is to get the plan out of your thoughts and in front of you.
Adrenaline is an acquired taste
If your huge goal scares you so much that you couldn’t even imagine doing it, try facing fears in other parts of your life.
As you become familiar with the discomfort of facing fear, it will be easier to move through it and take action.
Realize your personal story.
Are you known for being steady and predictable?
How is that keeping you locked in your current fears?
Redefine yourself as an action-taker.
This simple shift in self-perception is powerful and will shorten the emotional distance between desire and action.
Develop awareness of your blocks
We all have our go-to defense mechanisms to shield us from fearful situations.
Noticing yours will help you re-write your personal story.
Common ones are: I’m too busy, I’m not qualified, I don’t really need it, I’m too old, or I need more information.
Evaluate these messages you’re sending to yourself and discard the ones that aren’t serving you.
Check-in with your body
This is especially true if you are face to face in a scary situation where you must take action.
Deep breathing here can help.
Not only will it calm you, but it will invigorate your body in case the action you need to take has a physical component.
Also, notice any parts of your body that hold stress and anxiety.
People often hold this sort of stress in their shoulders, chest, hips, and back!
Try to acknowledge the tension and let it go.
If that’s not possible, then you might ask for help from a certified massage therapist or try some targeted yoga moves.
Journal your way to your goals
Before you skim this part…. have you ever wondered why journaling is so effective?
Journaling slows down your thoughts.
This effectively reduces fear because it enables you to see the steps between you and your goal rather than being perceived as a huge leap.
Writing your goals activates a part of the brain called the reticular activating system, which will then help you discover opportunities in the blur of your day and bring them to the forefront of your attention so that you can act on them.
Recognize action when you do it.
No step is too small to celebrate.
Visualize your plan.
From beginning to end, step by step, to the successful conclusion.
This visualization takes practice, but it is a useful tool that is often used by top athletes.
Don’t forget to include all of your senses.
What does it smell like?
Do you feel hot or cold?
If you felt tense, take a calming breath to refresh yourself before starting again.
You can use this approach several times a day, any time you have some free mental time.
Remember, you are stronger than you think and way braver too.
Tell us about a time you pushed through your fear and took action in the comment section below.
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March 12, 2020 at 10:35 PM
Only action can lead you towards your goal