This is a post I’ve kicked around in my head for some time, uncertain of the tone I wanted to take or the message I was trying to portray. The idea of fear being paralyzing isn’t a new thing, but it’s not a thing we really stop and consider in our own lives especially when it comes to weight loss. It’s not just weight loss though, fear can hold us back in so many areas of our lives.
We have very justifiable reasons we can’t do something, reasons that are justifiable at first sight. But, what if we slow down and really ask ourselves why we can’t do something, reach a goal, learn a new skill, what will appear?
- Is there a fear of failure?
- Is there a fear of humiliation?
Fear can be paralyzing and can prevent us from trying new things, achieving goals and dreams, and possibly embracing success.
A question that we need to ask ourselves before saying no to a new job, a move or something as simple as going on a trip – Will there be regret?
As I’ve mentioned in my Weight Loss Journey page, I watched my father, my best friend, live with a lifetime of regrets and subsequently die without really living the last couple of decades of his life with the majority of it dictated by fear.
I try, on a daily basis, to not let fear drive my decision making and always try to determine if I say no, will I regret it later. Of course, sometimes, there are other reasons, money and time being stingy demands on my ability to say yes to other things.
Fear can directly affect our weight loss goals in multiple ways. The first way is taking that very first step, especially if this isn’t the first time we’ve tried to lose weight. For most people, weight loss attempts are numerous and can span over many years.
At some point we tire of ‘starting over’ yet again because we’re afraid all we’re going to do is fail. What if we took a different approach and changed our mindset? Don’t look at it as starting over, look at it as eating different. Creating baby steps, changing one habit at a time. Have a healthy breakfast every day. Then add in healthy snacks. Then tackle lunch and dinner.
It’s not starting over, it’s creating different habits. There is no start or end, there’s just change.
Fear of Embarrassment
One thing I want to do, and I’ve written about it…and not done it yet, is run a 5k, a 10k, and maybe a half marathon. I have yet to sign up for a 5k. Why? Fear of failing. I know darn well I can run that distance, but there’s still that “What if I can’t?” The thought isn’t rational! I’ve done it but there is still that fear. Success or failure.
Not everything tried will be a success or bring happiness. At the end of the day though, it’s okay, because as long as we’ve tried something new, something we’ve thought about, considered, or wished to try, we can cross it off our mental (or physical) list.
Spotlight Effect is our tendency to believe that all eyes are on us when, in fact, no one is paying attention. We are terrified of making a fool of ourselves. Another wish of mine is to try and ski. The last time I skied I was 18. That was….many many years ago. It wasn’t a horrible experience, but I fell. A LOT.
I’m hesitant to try it again because I’m significantly older than 18 now, and there is that thought of making a fool in front of a ton of people. “What if I can’t ski?”
The real question isn’t what if I can’t ski, but rather it’s so what? Who, on that mountain really cares if I can’t ski? NOBODY. Not one single person, and that’s the truth.
There are a few techniques you can use to try and work through the spotlight effect:
Get In Right Mind Set
Don’t go in to something new with the idea of perfection, instead go in with the idea of learning a new skill, over time. Expect to make mistakes and realize that those are expected and okay.
When trying something new, ask yourself what is the worst can happen and then evaluate the long term issues of that happening. Is it life changing? Is there really any affect?
In college, I had a class where the final was a twenty minute presentation. 20 Minutes. That is a no joke, horrifically long presentation! This was a senior specialty class, so there were only six of us. We were all terrified because, the spotlight was literally on us!! There was one presentation that made me internally cringe – this poor girl couldn’t hide her terror and everything she presented sounded like a question, not statements of fact. Another girl, one shyer than even me, got up there and nailed it. Blew us away. When I complimented her after class, she thanked me and said her aunt was a stage actress and made her think of it as a performance and to exaggerate how she thought it would sound to be confident. Basically, she acted her way through it not just acted but over acted.
The point of my long winded story is that when you’re feeling uncertain, STRUT! Don’t walk, STRUT!!
There are so many benefits of trying new things, especially self-confidence. As we try new things, we learn what we can handle and we often learn that we can do more than originally thought! When we can push past our limits, that surprise of exceeding expectations can often turn to confidence.
Another wonderful benefit of trying new things is that it forces you out of your comfort zone and you will grow as a person through these new experiences. Growth can expand your horizons, allow you to see things from different vantage points and opens up doors to new opportunities.
Most important, especially for me is not having as many regrets. I might not succeed at every new opportunity