How to conquer your fear of change and transform your life

How to conquer your fear of change and transform your life

Are you afraid of making major changes to your life? Maybe you dream of moving to a new city, but can’t work up the courage to actually go. Maybe you want to quit that job that’s wearing you down, end that relationship that isn’t quite working, or even start a new company. And yet something seems to be holding you back.

Making major changes can be frightening–I know. Six months ago, my husband and I left our home of 22 years in Woodstock, New York, and moved across the country to Snohomish, Washington. The move coincided with big changes in my professional life: My term as president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors came to an end. I went from being a twice-a-week columnist on this site to a daily one. All of it together was enough to reduce me, some days, to a quivering bowl of jelly. And yet. All of these changes were necessary and good, important opportunities to grow.

Fearing change keeps all of us stuck in place some times when it would be better to move on. That’s normal human nature, but it’s not serving us well. How do we get past it? It’s not easy, but here are some questions that may help.

1. What’s the worst that can happen if I make this change?

I’m not suggesting you indulge in worst-case-scenario fantasies. What I am recommending is that you think about the difficulties you’re likeliest to encounter as a result of your big change, and make plans to mitigate them.

What if it turned out that we hated living in the Pacific Northwest? Just in case, we would rent rather than buy. What if the rainy dreariness of the winter months started getting to us? We made sure to find a place with a lot of light, especially in my office, and began investigating daylight-replacing light bulbs. By thinking through the most likely problems you could encounter, you may be able to make plans to avoid them, or at least figure out what you could do if they happen.

2. What’s the best that can happen if I don’t make this change?

Sometimes this question is the push we need to face up to change. It’s simple: If you’re unhappy with the status quo, and all you’re likely to get is more of the same, then you have a choice: Learn to love what you already have, or go get something new. If you can’t do the former, then you’d better do the latter, or you may be stuck in the doldrums forever.

3. Can anyone ever know everything?

There’s a simple answer to this one: Obviously not. This tells you that if an unknown future seems scary–well it is, and it is for everyone. Thinking you’ll know what will happen if you change your life is as much an illusion as thinking that you know what will happen if you don’t. In other words–it’s all a mystery, so if you have the urge to give something new a try, you might as well go for it.

4. If I don’t make this change, will everything else stay the same?

This, too, has an obvious answer: No, it won’t. This is something to keep in mind when making a decision about change. It’s human nature to believe that the conditions we’re accustomed to seeing will always be there but it isn’t true. You may pass on that great business opportunity for the security of your job, only to be a victim of downsizing a year later. Or you could go start that new business, only to find that your former boss leaves and you’d have gotten that promotion if you’d stayed. Either way, there’s a risk, and a choice to make.

5. Can I give myself permission to be sad about the life I left behind?

That was a big necessity for me. I loved my life in Woodstock, and although I never wavered in my decision to move West, I knew I had to grieve and say goodbye. You may need a little time to feel sad about the life you’re leaving behind before you can fully move on to a new one. That’s OK. And it doesn’t mean you’re making the wrong decision by changing. (Here’s more on how to let go of what’s holding you back.)

6. Will I be able to handle it if things go wrong?

This may be the fear that’s really holding you back. And the answer to this question is almost certainly yes. Most people are more resourceful than we realize, and more able to deal with difficulty. If you’re letting this concern stop you from making a change–don’t. You can handle more than you know.

7. If not now, when?

No one likes to think about this, but the fact is each of us has no idea how little or how long we have left on this planet. I’ll always remember my high school friend Stephen who advised trying out many careers because, he said, “Your life is long.” It wasn’t for him: He died of cancer at the age of 38.

The older I get, the more I find myself thinking about the choices I make in terms of how I want to spend the rest of my life. It’s not an easy perspective to take, but it can be bracing. And when your nerve is failing, it can give you the courage to make a change.

Become the author of your own life.

THE BASICS

  • What Is Fear?
  • Find a therapist to combat fear and anxiety

How to conquer your fear of change and transform your life

We fear change because we can’t anticipate the outcome.

However, staying put can be riskier than changing. Whether it’s in your career or a relationship, you risk being left behind if you don’t continue to grow.

The paradox is that although we reject uncertainty, we have the skills to change and evolve. Fear is an emotion that gets in the way—we lose clarity about our potential.

On one hand, we are hardwired to resist uncertainty—our brain prefers a predictable, negative outcome over an uncertain one. On the other hand, our mind is flexible and adaptive—it can be trained to thrive in change.

Our fear of change is based on stories—both real and the imagined ones we tell ourselves. We narrate our lives as if they are out of our control—we feel as we are playing a part someone else wrote for us.

Your life is not a book written by others—create your own storyline. The fact that most outcomes are out of your control doesn’t mean you can’t play a more active role.

If you want a different outcome, start by changing your mentality. You are not just a character; you are the author of your life.

Stories: Why We Fear Change

1. Uncertainty feeds our fears.

Your brain likes being in control. The hunger for certainty is one of the brain’s five functions. Uncertainty generates a strong alert response in our limbic system; that’s why we worry. That’s why we speculate—we’d rather create a fictional story than not know what will happen.

2. Accepting life’s impermanence makes us suffer too.

We have a hard time moving on. When a job or a relationship—even the summer—is over, we get stuck. We keep rehashing old stories instead of opening our minds to what’s next.

A study on building bridges between Buddhism and Western Psychology shows how embracing impermanence counteracts the negative cycles of rumination. When we accept that every story in life has an ending, we can relax.

3. Our fear of failure also feeds our aversion to change.

But striving for perfectionism can have the opposite effect. When we are under pressure, we make more mistakes. To become the author of your life starts by reframing your relationship with uncertainty, impermanence, and perfectionism.

Here are some steps you can use.

1. A chapter is not the book.

To start a new chapter in your life, you have to finish one first. Sometimes we resist the end of a particular phase in our lives—we confuse the chapter with the book. You can write endless stories in your life. Leave room for new chapters—move on from past stories.

Life is like a book—you have to turn the page to start a new chapter.

2. Your storyline is full of choices.

When you approach life as a writer, you start seeing possibilities. You learn to put expectations aside and focus on what you can control. Become the creator of your plot, not just a spectator.

Your life is not the product of your circumstances; it’s the product of your choices.

3. Embrace being imperfect.

The first paragraph is the most difficult. It takes courage to cross the line of uncertainty. Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is sh*t.” The Nobel Prize winner kept track of his daily progress on a wall. Hemingway wasn’t just talented—he was committed to writing every day.

Every story can be perfected. But first, you must write the first draft.

4. You can’t control others.

Great movie characters—just like real people—have a life of their own. A screenwriter can define their names, lines, and personalities. However, once actors start playing their characters, they will take a life of their own. They follow their instincts, not the script.

If you want people to give you their best, set them free.

5. Be ready for unexpected twists.

Even the best authors suffer from writer’s block. They know they must try something different. The same applies to you. Experiment. Change your routine. Go for a walk if you feel stuck. Do something outside your comfort zone.

If you want a different outcome, add a plot twist.

6. Failure is a stop, not a destination.

Not every chapter or episode will be successful. And that’s okay—you can always write a new one. The beauty of life is that you can course correct. Richard Branson said, “In business, if you realize you’ve made a bad decision, you change it.” Don’t feel frustrated about what didn’t go your way. Use that energy to write the next chapter.

Decisions are impermanent, just like life.

7. Let go of your manuscript.

We fear the unexpected. However, most surprises in life become great memories. You can’t control your life. Write your script one scene at a time; don’t anticipate the whole plot. Bring your ideas to the real world and see what happens.

Don’t resist the unexpected—use it as feedback to live a memorable life.

Don’t close the door to new chapters. When we want to protect ourselves from uncertainty, we lose awareness of the present moment. And we stop enjoying what life gives us.

Avoid living on autopilot—every day is an opportunity to write a new chapter in your life. Stephen King’s novel Carrie was rejected by 30 publishers before it saw the light of the day.

How to conquer your fear of change and transform your life

Dec 16, 2017 · 3 min read

How to conquer your fear of change and transform your life

What do we fear in life? How do we overcome these fears? As I write this article, I can easily identify about ten fears that I face everyday. However, there is one fear that I have been struggling with, and that is the fear of change.

How do you know you fear change?

I first realized I had this fear in 2000, when I was encouraged to apply to apply for the Japan Exchange and Teaching programme (JET) in Japan. I started the application and then within a month the fear overtook me. I decided to fight the fear, and reapply in 2005, and then I went to Japan and stayed for four years. I was confident that I had overcome the fear of change. However the fear resurface when my husband and I started talking about relocating to Canada. The challenge in the plan, is that I have to arrive alone first and then he will join towards the end of my studies here. The fear is “kicking in” again!

Why do I fear change? I can say that the unfamiliarity of the new venture is usually what is daunting t me. I love to be in control of my surroundings, and that is not possible when I am in a new country. Another issue is that I will not be with all my friends and relatives anymore, so the support system has reduced drastically.

How do you overcome the fear of change?

According to Mark Twain, “ Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it. ” This is an inspiring quote. It is reminding me that I have to have faith in myself, in order to deal with my fears. According to Harold Kushner (2009), an author several best-selling books, change is the law of life, and things seem to be changing faster in today’s world than they did in the generation before us. He further noted that, we can’t hold back the tide of change anymore than we can stop the sun from setting or the seasons from changing. So he concluded by saying that, all we can control is how well we respond to changes.

Sherrie Hirsch (2015) confirmed this by pointing out that all we need is faith in ourselves, and the willingness to take a small step forward. Is the phrase, “One day at a time” applicable here? I would like to think so. Hirsch has also highlighted that experiencing fear is human, so we should not ‘beat up’ ourselves. For years, psychologists have studied the reflex responses of our brain s— the “flight or fight” system. Why do we react the way we do?

I know that if I don’t embrace change, I will be left behind in many areas of my life. So I have decided that it is time to embrace change and be more grateful for the wonderful opportunities and experiences that I will continue to hone during my life’s journey. I am fully aware that avoiding change, is denying the path to fulfill lifelong dreams, to acquire spiritual wholeness, and to live a passion-filled life.

5 simple ways to conquer your fears and become unstoppable

How to conquer your fear of change and transform your life

Are you still wondering what your life purpose is? Maybe there is no answer, we just need to be happy with ourselves. Fear pushes us down a road of lost time and debilitating paralysis, preventing us from fully living our lives to its fullest. The following are ways to change your outlook on not only your own life but life in general.

When I was first introduced to meditation I thought it was dumb, I even laughed. But my professor insisted that we spend the first five minutes of class clearing our minds to help us learn better. After a few classes, I started to feel as though I was learning more in the short amount of time than I was in my other classes and started meditating before each class.

This turned into a daily device for me. I meditate every day. Before writing and in between writing. Meditation helps clear your mind of the clutter of your everyday life, allowing you to focus more on the task you have in front of you.

This is especially important when writing. Having a clear mind means you can perform faster and better than when you keep becoming distracted by life worries.

There are many different ways to meditate, but my personal favorite is sitting in a chair with my feet spaced two inches apart and flat on the floor. My hands rest in lap and I sit as straight as I can. I set a timer for five minutes and close my eyes and bring a picture of a beautiful flower garden in my head. I keep this picture there until the timer goes off.

As a writer, I am sure you have already seen people writing about the newest challenge they are in. Whether it be doing exercises from a book or committing to writing a short story every week for a month or a year. These are great to hone in on your writing skills, but life is about more than writing, yes I said it.

Life is about more than writing.

We have a life that deserves to be lived. Try taking on a challenge that you aren’t afraid of. By doing this you are proving to yourself, you can complete anything you want and succeed.

Train for a marathon, take cooking classes, start a DIY project, nothing is too big or too small. Challenge yourself to start something and to see it to the end.

A long time ago I used to create decorations and I stopped because I was too focused on everything else in my life. I recently started two projects, a sign which happens to be a birthday present for my husband and a table for our fire pit area. I gave myself a timeline for completion and am currently right on schedule.

Food is the number one necessity in life, without it we would wither and die. Brutal, but it is the truth. But you can’t eat just anything, I mean in a perfect world we could all live off of twinkies and oreo cookies, but there is no nutritional value. It just tastes good.

There needs to be a substantial amount of vitamins and minerals as well as protein and carbohydrates. There is a website which can help you determine what you can eat, MyPlate has a great amount of information on its website. I used this website to learn a lot about the foods we should be eating when I took a nutrition class in college.

Exercise is another key factor in nourishing your body. Sitting in a chair for hours every day staring at your computer does nothing for you. Taking a walk every day, going for a bike ride or working out at the gym or just doing exercises at home. Just make it a point to perform these activities every day.

Changes in your life don’t have to be drastic. In fact, it is better if you start with smaller ones. Like vacuuming every day, drink your coffee outside every morning, meditate at the same time every day, anything that you normally wouldn’t do every day.

I am all about schedules, if there isn’t a time and place for something to do then I feel lost throughout the day. My typical day consists of waking at 5:30 am and have my two cups of coffee (one is outside) then I shower and meditate for five minutes. The next two hours are spent writing ideas down of what I want to write, then I take a walk with my dog.

I then spend two more hours writing, with or without a purpose, I just write whatever comes to mind. By 3:30 pm I am done writing and I have a cup of tea before starting dinner. After dinner is always the news then either television shows or I find a movie to watch before going to bed at 9 pm.

The new thing I have added in this year is to stop skipping breakfast and lunch. And always taking one day where I don’t do anything with writing.

“I can’t” are the two most awful words to use in a sentence. And we all have done it to ourselves. We doubt our work, especially as creators, we never feel our work is perfect. Even if everyone else loves it.

Instead of saying you can’t try saying you can. Say it out loud. Yell it in your living room, your dog won’t mind, he may look at you weird, but he will wag his tail. Tell yourself you are smart and talented, because if you don’t believe it then how can anyone else?

Part of my crafting involves creating wooden plaques with quotes on them. My favorite ones are “Your dreams are only your dreams until you write them down…then they are goals” I have no idea who said it, I saw it one day on Facebook and fell in love with it. The wooden plaque hangs on the wall in my office to remind myself I have goals.

I will leave you with a few quotes from authors I love.

If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written, then you must write it. — Toni

You can make anything by writing. — C. S.

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
— Ernest Hemingway

A scary thing to many people is change. Making a change means stepping into the unknown. You leave the life that you are comfortable with and go into a place where you do not know what is going to happen.

However, change is one thing that can never be stopped. Whether for the better or worse, our world and the lives in it are always changing. Learning to adapt to change is the best thing that you can do for you and your family. It won’t take long to realize that there is nothing to fear.

If you want to conquer your fear of change, look at this list of strategies:

1. Always Keep Positive Thoughts. Think positively when you are starting a change in your life. Think of all that could go right in your new life rather than thinking of what could go wrong.

2. Learn Life Lessons. If you think about things that have changed for the better in your past, you can visualize the new changes having the same good outcomes. Even if you have had changes that did not go so well, you can learn important lessons from those events. If you stop all change from happening, then you will miss out on many experiences and life lessons that you could have had.

3. Keep a Record of Your Thoughts. If you write down your innermost thoughts it can give you the same feeling as if you were talking with your best friend. You have courage in you, and although change may be scary for you, there are ways for you to overcome it.

4. Experience Hypnosis. When you want to change the way you think, hypnosis and self-hypnosis can help. When you go through hypnosis you transform your thoughts through relaxation.

5. Have Positive Motivation. If you want to overcome your fear of change, you have to actually want the change. If you do, you’ll do whatever it takes to get motivated. And to help yourself get motivated, you can talk to a friend or family member about it, write affirmations, and write down directions for yourself.

6. Live in the Present. You can conquer all your fears by living in the moment. If you keep thinking about the past or what could happen in the future, you will not be able to live within the moments you are presently living. In a time that you may be doubting yourself, concentrate on the moment you are currently in. You should enjoy the moment that you are in because that is all you have now.

7. Simplify the Change. If the change you are going through is rather huge, you can break it down into smaller steps to make it easier. This will keep you from feeling scared and overwhelmed in the transition that you’re going through.

8. There’s No Perfect Timing. The best time to change is always ‘Now’. Do not give yourself excuses. Make the change and believe that you can do it!

9. Have a Back Up Plan. When you’re coming up on a change, what you don’t know may scare you more than anything else. If you can, try to make a plan through the entire process. Make a plan after you have thought about all the possible good and bad scenarios. You will start to feel more comfortable with changes and your fears will ease if you make a plan.

You Can Experience Change for the Better

You should learn to go with the flow of life because there is no way to get around change in your life. Although it may not be as easy as it seems, if you can learn to adapt to changes that are going to happen to you, life will be improved in every aspect.

Not a single person on the planet is immune to fear. To be human means to feel emotions and be affected by our thoughts, which sometimes leads us to losing track of our divine nature. In those times, fear can take hold of us and make us feel trapped and powerless. If you are going through a time in your life where you feel scared, know that you are not alone. Know that within you is all the power you need to overcome your challenges. Here are 13 Powerful Quotes On Overcoming Fear That Will Change Your Life

How to conquer your fear of change and transform your life

1- Thinking will not overcome fear but action will. W. Clement Stone- Quotes On Overcoming Fear

There is one sure way to change things when fear takes hold, and it is not lamenting. It is action! Take one step towards your goals, just one, and you fear will lose its grip.

2- You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along. Eleanor Roosevelt- Quotes On Overcoming Fear

With every obstacle we overcome we become stronger and more resilient. Choose to see your challenges as opportunities to grow and expand.

3- If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. Dale Carnegie- Quotes On Overcoming Fear

Overcoming the wall of fear in your mind is a process that happens brick by brick.

4- The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist. Steven Pressfield- Quotes On Overcoming Fear

The only way to completely overcome fear is to never try anything new, ever again. And who wants to live their life like that?

5- Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. Mark Twain- Quotes On Overcoming Fear

Choose to become a master of your fear, by never allowing it to control your life or your choices!

6- Don’t let fear or insecurity stop you from trying new things. Believe in yourself. Do what you love. And most importantly, be kind to others, even if you don’t like them. Stacy London- Quotes On Overcoming Fear

The world needs more people to be doing what they love. Believe in your ability to life the life of your dreams!

7- Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter. Francis Chan- Quotes On Overcoming Fear

Don’t be afraid to fail at doing something you love. Be afraid of never having the courage to go after your dreams.

8- What you fear is what you must conquer. Lailah Gifty Akita- Quotes On Overcoming Fear

You know that thing that you think about late at night that terrifies you? Go do that. You will, without a doubt, become the most brilliant version of yourself in the process.

9- I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela- Quotes On Overcoming Fear

Don’t let fear dictate your life. Be brave.

How to conquer your fear of change and transform your life

10- I was never afraid of failure; for I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest. John Keats- Quotes On Overcoming Fear

The greatest among us are those who felt fear but acted in spite of it.

11- Overcoming what frightens you the most strengthens you the most. Matshona Dhliwayo- Quotes On Overcoming Fear

You build the greatest amount of resilience, compassion and empathy by feeling fear, then by overcoming it.

How to conquer your fear of change and transform your life

12- There is no illusion greater than fear. Lao Tzu- Quotes On Overcoming Fear

Fear is the greatest lie you could ever tell yourself.

13- If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you. Saint Thomas- Quotes On Overcoming Fear

Have the courage to pursue the life you dream of, even despite the fear you have. By doing so, you will unleash the most bad ass version of YOU that exists. If you do not, the regret you will have to live with may just destroy you.

Fear can be your asset if you learn to manage it correctly. Choose to see fear as a barometer for how much you are willing to try new things in life! A little fear now and then is much better than a life half lived.

Do you have a favourite quote for overcoming fear? Share it in the comments!

How to conquer your fear of change and transform your life

Dec 16, 2017 · 3 min read

How to conquer your fear of change and transform your life

What do we fear in life? How do we overcome these fears? As I write this article, I can easily identify about ten fears that I face everyday. However, there is one fear that I have been struggling with, and that is the fear of change.

How do you know you fear change?

I first realized I had this fear in 2000, when I was encouraged to apply to apply for the Japan Exchange and Teaching programme (JET) in Japan. I started the application and then within a month the fear overtook me. I decided to fight the fear, and reapply in 2005, and then I went to Japan and stayed for four years. I was confident that I had overcome the fear of change. However the fear resurface when my husband and I started talking about relocating to Canada. The challenge in the plan, is that I have to arrive alone first and then he will join towards the end of my studies here. The fear is “kicking in” again!

Why do I fear change? I can say that the unfamiliarity of the new venture is usually what is daunting t me. I love to be in control of my surroundings, and that is not possible when I am in a new country. Another issue is that I will not be with all my friends and relatives anymore, so the support system has reduced drastically.

How do you overcome the fear of change?

According to Mark Twain, “ Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it. ” This is an inspiring quote. It is reminding me that I have to have faith in myself, in order to deal with my fears. According to Harold Kushner (2009), an author several best-selling books, change is the law of life, and things seem to be changing faster in today’s world than they did in the generation before us. He further noted that, we can’t hold back the tide of change anymore than we can stop the sun from setting or the seasons from changing. So he concluded by saying that, all we can control is how well we respond to changes.

Sherrie Hirsch (2015) confirmed this by pointing out that all we need is faith in ourselves, and the willingness to take a small step forward. Is the phrase, “One day at a time” applicable here? I would like to think so. Hirsch has also highlighted that experiencing fear is human, so we should not ‘beat up’ ourselves. For years, psychologists have studied the reflex responses of our brain s— the “flight or fight” system. Why do we react the way we do?

I know that if I don’t embrace change, I will be left behind in many areas of my life. So I have decided that it is time to embrace change and be more grateful for the wonderful opportunities and experiences that I will continue to hone during my life’s journey. I am fully aware that avoiding change, is denying the path to fulfill lifelong dreams, to acquire spiritual wholeness, and to live a passion-filled life.

The day-to-day choices you make influence whether you maintain vitality as you age or develop life-shortening illnesses and disabling conditions like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. You may understand exactly what you need to do to enjoy a healthier, happier life: carve out time to exercise, perhaps, or find a way to ratchet down stress. There’s just one hitch. You haven’t done it yet.

Often, the biggest hurdle is inertia. It’s true that it isn’t easy to change ingrained habits like driving to nearby locations instead of walking, let’s say, or reaching for a donut instead of an apple. However, gradually working toward change improves your odds of success. Here are some strategies that can help you enact healthy change in your life, no matter what change (or changes) you’d like to make.

Seven steps to shape your personal plan

Shaping your personal plan starts with setting your first goal. Break down choices that feel overwhelming into tiny steps that can help you succeed.

  1. Select a goal. Choose a goal that is the best fit for you. It may not be the first goal you feel you should choose. But you’re much more likely to succeed if you set priorities that are compelling to you and feel attainable at present.
  2. Ask a big question. Do I have a big dream that pairs with my goal? A big dream might be running a marathon or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, wiggling back into a closet full of clothes you love, cutting back on blood pressure medication, or playing games and sports energetically with your children. One word to the wise: if you can’t articulate a big dream, don’t get hung up on this step. You can still succeed in moving toward your goal through these other approaches.
  3. Pick your choice for change. Select a choice that feels like a sure bet. Do you want to eat healthier, stick to exercise, diet more effectively, ease stress? It’s best to concentrate on just one choice at a time. When a certain change fits into your life comfortably, you can then focus on the next change.
  4. Commit yourself. Make a written or verbal promise to yourself and one or two supporters you don’t want to let down: your partner or child, a teacher, doctor, boss, or friends. That will encourage you to slog through tough spots. Be explicit about the change you’ve chosen and why it matters to you. If it’s a step toward a bigger goal, include that, too. I’m making a commitment to my health by planning to take a mindful walk, two days a week. This is my first step to a bigger goal: doing a stress-reducing activity every day (and it helps me meet another goal: getting a half-hour of exercise every day). I want to do this because I sleep better, my mood improves, and I’m more patient with family and friends when I ease the stress in my life.
  5. Scout out easy obstacles. Maybe you’d love to try meditating, but can’t imagine having the time to do it. Or perhaps your hopes for eating healthier run aground if you’re hungry when you walk through the door at night, or your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator aren’t well-stocked with healthy foods.
  6. Brainstorm ways to leap over obstacles. Now think about ways to overcome those roadblocks. Not enough time? I’ll get up 20 minutes early for exercises and fit in a 10-minute walk before lunch. Cupboard bare of healthy choices? I’ll think about five to 10 healthy foods I enjoy and will put them on my grocery list.
  7. Plan a simple reward. Is there a reward you might enjoy for a job well done? For example, if you hit most or all of your marks on planned activities for one week, you’ll treat yourself to a splurge with money you saved by quitting smoking, a luxurious bath, or just a double helping of trhe iTunes application “Attaboy.” Try to steer clear of food rewards, since this approach can be counterproductive.

Breaking it down

Taking a 10-minute walk as part of a larger plan to exercise, or deciding to drink more water and less soda, certainly seem like easy choices. Even so, breaking them down further can help you succeed.

Here are a few examples of how you can break a goal into smaller bites.

Take a 10-minute walk

  • Find my comfortable walking shoes or buy a pair.
  • Choose days and times to walk, and then pencil this in on the calendar.
  • Think about a route.
  • Think about possible obstacles and solutions. If it’s raining hard, what’s Plan B? (I’ll do 10 minutes of mixed marching, stair climbing, and jumping rope before dinner.) Maybe I dislike getting my work clothes sweaty. If I’m planning to hop off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way home, what could I do? (I’ll need T-shirts to change into at work. If I bring in five every Monday, I’m covered. I’ll put my walking shoes in my work bag at night.)

Drink more water, less soda

  • Find my water bottle (or buy one).
  • Wash out the bottle, fill it up, and put it in the refrigerator at night.
  • Put a sticky note on the front door, or on my bag, to remind me to take the water bottle with me.
  • At work, take a break in the morning and one in the afternoon to freshen up my water bottle. This is a good time to notice how much (or little) I’m drinking.
  • When I get home from work, scrub out my water bottle for the following day and repeat.

Track my budget for a month

  • Every night, put all receipts and paid bills in an envelope placed in a visible spot.
  • Choose one: a) buy budget-tracking computer software, such as Quicken or QuickBooks; b) buy a similar application for my phone; c) use a debit card for every purchase; d) tuck a notepad into my purse or pocket to record all purchases.
  • Follow instructions to load software on computer, or application on phone, if I’ve chosen to use it.
  • Schedule 30 minutes at the end of the two-week mark to go over expenses with an eye toward identifying low-hanging fruit to trim. Sort expenses into categories first (rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, entertainment, etc.). Consider what categories to trim. Set a goal to reduce or eliminate some of these expenses (for example: cut out 5% of spending across the board or in one category, ride a bike to work rather than paying commuter fees, or make my own coffee rather than buying it).
  • At the end of the fourth week, review all spending categories and add up the money I’ve saved. Decide on an appropriate reward — maybe spending half the money, spending time in a pleasurable pursuit, or just basking in praise for a job well done.

Share this page:

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google Plus
  • Email this page

Print this page:

Disclaimer:
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Life is full of its ups and downs. One day, you may feel like you have it all figured out. Then, in a moment’s notice, you’ve been thrown a curve ball. You’re not alone in these feelings. Everyone has to face their own set of challenges. Learning how to overcome challenges will help you stay centered and remain calm under pressure.

Everyone has their own preferences for how to face a challenge in life. However, there are a few good tips and tricks to follow when the going gets tough. Take your pick from the following list!

How to conquer your fear of change and transform your lifePhoto by Rémi Walle on Unsplash

10 Ways to Overcome Challenges in Life

1. Make A Plan

While you don’t know what is going to happen in the future, you can always plan ahead. Look at the patterns in your life and see what challenges you’ve struggled with. Assess the optimal outcomes and make a plan for how you can achieve them.

If you work somewhere and can anticipate the types of challenges you may face, then you can plan ahead. This is the same for students in school. If a challenge is time management, then you can learn and plan for calendar management, for example.

2. Know You’re Not Alone

Every person in this world has their low points. Some may handle or even hide it better than others. But the truth is, whatever you are going through, there are others who have been through it too. You’re not alone. Try to reach out to your community and network. Speak your feelings and express your concerns in all settings of your life.

3. Ask For Help

You’re not alone, so you can find help. There’s no need to feel ashamed for asking for help. Whether you choose to rely on a loved one, a stranger, a mentor, or a friend, there are people who want to help you succeed.

4. Feel Your Feelings

By masking your feelings, they are not going to go away. Rather, feelings become trapped energy and can even have negative health consequences when they are ignored. Take some time to feel what you feel. This could come in the form of meditation. Or, if you’d rather write down what you feel, writing can be a therapeutic and cathartic experience.

When you feel and share your feelings, you may also be able to see your situation in a new light. This exercise could lead you to coming up with novel solutions and overcoming any challenge at hand.

5. Accept Support

Asking for help is only one side of the coin. On the other side of the coin, you have to be open and willing to accept support. People who come to your aid truly do care about you. Be open to receiving help when you need it.

6. Help Others

The old adage goes, “What you give is what you get.” If you’ve been through a situation or have advice for someone you know who is going through a tough time, be sure to help out! Helping others not only benefits them, but it can also help you feel happier yourself.

7. Think Big

It can be easy to let yourself think small because of the fear of failure, or even the fear of making a decision. But, to accomplish great things in life, you have to be open to taking risks. With whatever challenges may arise, always think and dream big. That way, you will achieve more than what you could have ever imagined. Try not to let your thoughts get in your own way.

How to conquer your fear of change and transform your life

8. Positive Mindset

What you think becomes your reality. Train your mind to think positively. This will take both time and practice. It begins with mental awareness. You can practice awareness through mindfulness techniques and meditation. When you get good at acknowledging your thoughts and letting them pass, you can stop negative thoughts in their tracks.

9. Don’t Give Up

When a challenge arises, be it a big test in school or an upcoming running race, don’t give up! Persistence is a huge key to overcome challenges. Giving up means that you will neither overcome the challenge nor learn from it. Power through challenges by asking for support, feeling your feelings, and making a plan to work through it.

10. Work Smart, Not Hard

Generally, there is more than one way to get something done. However, there’s always just one optimal way, or best way of doing it. To work smarter rather than harder, start by working backwards. Outline and define your goal. Then, plan the process for how to get there. Perform research to see how others who have come before you have done it. Take count of your own skills and ideas for how you may be able to do it better. Then, stick to your path and get to work!

How to conquer your fear of change and transform your lifePhoto by madison lavern on Unsplash

A 4-Step Method for Overcoming Challenges

Want to try a technique for overcoming challenges that Buddha himself once taught? This four-step method could help you a lot!

  1. Accept and Let Go: Accept where you are now and what you have. This is your life, at this time. While it’s temporary, accepting it will help you to let go of stress, anxiety, and fear. Meditation is one of the best ways to learn and practice acceptance.
  2. Observe and Decide: When you face a particular challenge, take a step away from your feelings to make a plan. While it’s important to still feel your feelings, when deciding how to act, you want to be objective as possible.
  3. Face Fears and Act: Taking action is one of the biggest steps in overcoming challenges. It’s likely that a big part of whatever you’re facing feels like a challenge because you have an underlying fear. Try to recognize and define what you fear in the situation. Then, you can act to mitigate that fear.
  4. Practice Gratitude: Ultimately, we tend to exist in our comfort zones. So, when something new happens or is presented, we may feel like it’s hard to deal with. By practicing gratitude, you can reframe your definition of a challenge. You will also be more happy overall in your present moment.

The Bottom Line

Learning how to deal with challenges takes time, persistence, and a positive attitude. No matter your life situation, the hard times will happen. But, with the right mindset and practice, you will be able to overcome them everytime and grow in the process!