Learning to conquer fear. Our family is living it right now. My daughter is working to conquer fear related to a speech she is giving at school.
She has been practicing to help her prepare and calm her nerves. She’s afraid.
And, I know just how she feels. A lot of people can probably relate. The experts say that public speaking is the most common fear that people have. But, I disagree. I just don’t think that is true anymore.
That’s right; I think the idea of giving up food that tastes good is the most common fear.
Or the feeling of muscle pain.
Or no caffeine. No alcohol. Or no nicotine. No salt.
Yes, I think the fear of making a lifestyle change is now the most common concern. It’s just not talked about. But I know how it feels. (This might surprise you, but I struggle with eating right and exercising to take care of myself just like…well if you’re reading this…maybe you.)
What do we picture when we think about implementing lifestyle changes? I think a lot of us imagine the full-on-board “Biggest Loser” tv show type of image. And, that is scary!
We give lots of reasons to not make lifestyle changes. We:
These are not real reasons. The real reason – or at least the actual reason behind the reasons we give – is fear.
But here is the deal: self-care, or the way we take care ourselves before (or to prevent) disease, often has more gravity than what medicine can do for us after disease.
We CANNOT afford to let fear stand in our way. We must conquer our fear! Here are five tips to overcome fear related to making a lifestyle change:
We need to move from the mentality that fear is the barrier to change…to the acceptance that fear is just a natural part of making a change! Fear comes with any change. But change is rarely successful when it is rooted in negative thinking such as guilt, worry or regret. Experts tell us change is more successful when it is rooted in self-motivation and positive thinking. It is ok to be afraid, but focus on the success!
We can be afraid and succeed anyway!
Improving nutritional intake, quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol and increasing physical activity to reduce our health risk factors are not punishments.
Nope. It is not because our doctor doesn’t like us anymore. And, it is not an evil plot of something. It is genuinely meant to help us have a healthier future and a higher quality of life.
Now, and for the likelihood of independent functioning later in life.
That seems important, doesn’t it?
I remember hearing, at least 15 years ago, the science proving exercise and diet modification could stop, or reverse type II diabetes. That was an incredible shift in thinking!
Now we know:
It is so important for us to be realistic. Slow & steady will win this race. For some of us, things will be harder. We can do everything right and still end up with a chronic disease. We will worry we are not doing enough.
There has been some evidence that comprehensive, organized programs have positive outcomes. But they come at a high cost to the user, and it is not clear which portions of these programs create/promote/cause the success.
There is also value (and evidence) that making one significant change over 1-2 months (vs. all at once) is the best way to go without a big support program.
Problems arise when we try to do too much, too fast and work alone. Work to change one thing at a time, set measurable and attainable goals and work for the long goal, not the short win.
Overcoming fear and changing your lifestyle needs to be given its due attention. Consider treating it like a college class or a new part-time job.
Organize and plan for your day. Do homework, make menu plans and prepare as much of your breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner ahead of time as possible.
Just like public speaking…preparation is a key.
(There is so much that you can conquer with planning. Do you know how to prepare and plan for changing your life? If no, please comment your particular need, and I will write a post about that.)
Finally, cling to your faith. Lean on it. Pray and ask for God’s help. In Psalms 56:3 (NLT) we read, “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.”
God tells us (over and over in scripture) that he will help us when we are afraid. And He does. Are you asking God for help? We as Christians, we have no reason to fear. Think about these song lyrics when fear enters your mind while making changes to your lifestyle.
“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives, all fear is gone,
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!”
Are you applying your faith to this aspect of your life? What can you do today to make this happen?
You can conquer your fear and change your lifestyle. You find success when you focus on changing your attitude, understanding why you are making a change, set realistic expectations, prepare and plan and most importantly, cling to the power of your faith. What can you start doing differently today? Take your first step and send me an email listing the first step of your plan!
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Because He Lives (Amen)
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