Have you ever started a diet where you had lofty goals to lose three pants sizes in a week, only to look at the scales a week later and find you were a couple pounds heavier? Maybe dieting isnâ€™t your thing, but instead you tried to train for your first half-marathon and found yourself on the couch in your running shoes gorging on a bag of potato chips instead.
Lofty goals can lead to pride or defeat--pride because if you succeed in accomplishing that seemingly impossible goal, you will have bragging rights for life. Defeat, however, is the more common of these two outcomes, because staring at a mountain and having no concrete or realistic plan can knock the wind out of your sails before you even begin.
I had a client a few years back who had a fear of spiders. She hated them, but could usually manage her fear enough to remove herself from an uncomfortable situation if she needed to. Her roommate decided this fear was irrational so she took a pretty radical approach to help her get past this fear. She released her pet tarantula into my clientâ€™s room and locked the door behind her. This of course traumatized my patient, and what began as a fear of spiders quickly developed into a full-blown phobia. Had the client been able to take baby-steps toward conquering her fear in her own time, she may have found the opportunity to move past this fear on her own. Unfortunately, due to her roommateâ€™s rip-the-bandaid-off-quickly approach, she required profession counseling to help manage her fear.
While many fears do require the help of a professional due to trauma orÂ anxiety, many fears can be conquered with a plan and a little determination. Approach your fear the way you would approach a diet with these three, simple steps:
Make a Plan
Fear, much like a diet or any other goal, has to be approached in baby steps. Sure, you want to set goals for yourself, but if you have no concrete, achievable Â goals to set your eyes on, youâ€™ll get distracted, overwhelmed, and will likely give up. Just as a doctor would rarely encourage a patient to give up all sweets in a single day, I would rarely recommend jumping out of an airplane as your first step towards conquering a fear of heights. Instead, set measurable, achievable goals, and get started.
2) Find Your Person
Just as it would be helpful to have a friend or family member hold you accountable during a diet, finding someone you trust can make all the difference in the world as you face your fear. Getting over your fear requires transparency, so think of a single person you trust to gently but firmly come alongside you to help you achieve your goals.
3) Celebrate the Victories
Itâ€™s important to celebrate the small victories along the way to increase your stamina and keep you motivated. Conquering a fear is not easy, so treat yourself from time to time! Just as you might reward yourself for making it through a week without sugar with a victory cookie, think of something you can use to motivate yourself towards your goal.
Think of a fear that may have some control over you or may be keeping you from doing something really exciting. Today could be the first day towards conquering that fear! Take the first step now by answering these three questions:
- What fear do you think it is time to conquer?
- What are the first three baby steps you need to take in order to achieve this goal?
- Who do you trust to walk alongside you as you face this fear? Name one person.
If you would like to learn more about our services or what we can do to help you overcome any fears or anxieties you might be facing, contact us and set-up a time to talk. Our experienced therapists and counselors are more than happy to talk with you and help you decide what your next steps need to be. If you'd like to join our mailing list to receive free counseling resources just like this straight to your inbox, type your email below! And don't forget to share with a friend.