How to Achieve Your Goals Even with a Fear of Failure
Wednesday, October 17 2012 Emily Roberts MA, LPC
We all want to achieve our goals, but the fear of failure can prevent you from getting what you want. When we decide we want to make a change, set a goal, or try something new, we get excited and energized, but often these feelings deflate when the daunting task of taking action sets in. Our self-confidence is often the first thing to fade, and without that, it's hard to achieve our goals. But I've got just the thing to conquer your fear of failure and achieve your goals.
Difficult Tasks Spark the Fear of Failure and Goal-Achievement Suffers
Dissatisfied with her current job, Kara dreamed about another career, one in which she was her own boss. She spent hours making jewelry for fun, but never really thought she could make it a business. She was confident of her skills, but not in her ability to make big life decisions, leading to conflict within herself.
When Kara embarked on this new challenge, she was so overwhelmed with the big picture, she froze. The fear of failure rolled right over her desire to achieve her goals: I can’t do this! What if no one buys them? What if I have to move home with my parents because I squandered my savings on this? Before Kara could take one step forward and follow her dream, her lack of confidence held her back. This made her current job situation even more unpleasant and increased feelings of being defeated by her own judgments and fears.
Fear of Failure
Kara’s situation rings true for many people. Whether it’s making a small change or life-altering move, we tend to over-analyze the process and get hung up on the future, before we even step foot into the challenge. Similar challenges to confidence can take place with a new career -which is a huge step, making a move to a new place, starting a new health regimen, or finally making that appointment with the doctor you need to see. All of these can be big tasks that present an opportunity for our mind to trick us into thinking it will end badly or we will fail. When this happens, we become angry with ourselves and lose the drive; our confidence is often minimized.
Achieve Goals by Taking Small Steps Until You Stomp Out the Fear of Failure
Finally fed up for not even trying to start her business, Kara took action in small steps. Focused on one thing at a time, we can build up our confidence and reduce feeling overwhelmed with the long-term goal if we slow down and give ourselves a break. Nothing happens all at once, these things take time.
Kara decided that she would document her action steps by writing down what she did every day on Post-It’s. She put these on her wall. This made her aware of the changes she was making and accountable for continuing the process. Seeing her progress every day was motivating and built up her confidence.
On days where she felt bold, perhaps she’d make a call to a manufacturer and get prices; not ordering a thing, just doing research. On a day where she was feeling less confident, she may go online and look at small business loans or find motivation by researching how others started their own successful jewelry lines. For 30 days, she tracked her progress. By the end, she was more confident in her idea and ready to give it a shot.
The Post-It Challenge
Now, did she just suddenly and impulsively quit her job and embark on this? Of course not, but she made more of an effort to make her dream a reality. On the weekends and time away from her 9-5, she worked on pieces, started investing in the business, and eventually started selling some of her jewelry pieces. It took quite awhile before she was able to focus full-time on her business, but she did. By taking small steps, building her confidence, and tracking her progress to get her to a place where she truly felt this was obtainable, she was able to achieve her goal.
This can work for you too. Try the Post-It Challenge with a goal you have. Whether it be signing up for a new class, losing a few pounds, or moving to a new job. Track your progress in the small steps you are doing to reach this goal every day, and make it visible. Your confidence in your ability will increase and your goal will appear more obtainable. Keep me posted (pun indented) on how this works for you.
Take Good Care,
Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.