Some people thrive on change, while others avoid it at all costs. Favoring consistency and routine isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if avoiding change is holding you back and preventing you from achieving your life’s goals, use the following techniques to learn how to conquer your anxieties and embrace the unfamiliar.
Identify Your Fear
A fear of change is often actually anxiety toward the unknown. When confronted with something new, you may be fearful of failure or loss of control. If you’re resistant to change because you’re afraid of being embarrassed if you fail, try to remember that everyone stumbles or fails at some point in life, and it should never keep you from trying something. Fall down twice? Get up three times! To further overcome your fear, you need to be confident in your ability to cope with whatever comes your way. New things can be intimidating, because you might not know what to expect, but humans have thrived because of our ability to adapt. Don’t shy away from change; embrace it!
If you’re trying to break out of a mundane routine, don’t overwhelm yourself trying to change everything at once. Change is less intimidating if you begin with a few minor adjustments, so start with something relatively small. For example, if you have books that you’re not likely to re-read or clothes that you no longer wear, you can donate them to a charity shop or give them to friends. If you’re trying to get in shape, try working out at home for the first few weeks until you feel comfortable, and then go a step further by joining a local gym. If you’re stuck in a boring routine–wake up, work, eat, watch television, sleep, and repeat–, choose something new to try each week, such as going to see a new movie, trying out a new hobby, or eating at a new restaurant.
A great way to get excited about trying new things is to reward yourself for facing and conquering your fears. Some new experiences can be pleasant rewards in themselves, such as seeing a foreign film or trying an exotic food. Other experiences, like hiking to the top of a mountain or running a 5k, might be difficult to accomplish but will make you feel great about yourself afterward. Each time you push the boundaries of your comfort zone, your self-confidence will grow, and you’ll be motivated to seek out more new experiences.
Increase Your Chances of Success
Even if you’re eager to change, it can be hard to stay motivated, and sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel seems impossibly far away. During the difficult times, remind yourself why you want to change. Maybe you’re trying to quit smoking or are dieting to lose weight. To stay focused, remind yourself of all the benefits that come with being healthier. You can also increase your success rate by having a support network that will encourage you to keep going. If you feel stuck in an unfulfilling job and want to embark on a new career path, tell your friends about your new plans, so they can encourage you to apply for new jobs. If you’re not ready to share your efforts with the people around you, there are many different Internet forums and groups that cater to virtually any interest or self-improvement goal. Having people rooting for you to succeed can keep you focused and accountable, and you might even make some new friends in the process.
Change is hard, but it’s a necessary and natural part of life. If you embrace change rather than fight it, your life will become less stressful and more enriched. Every time you do something that scares you or that you thought was impossible, you’ll become stronger mentally and emotionally and will begin to understand that you are often your biggest obstacle. So go forth, conquer the unfamiliar, and get ready for a new, exciting life!