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Get over the fear of change and change your life for the better

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Eliminate the fear of change

Navigating the twists and turns of life requires changes - changes in where you live, new relationships, life-stage transitions, changes in behavior, changes in attitude and many other modifications that typically bring some level of stress. How many times have you found yourself dreading any change - whether major or minute - because the uncertainty ahead was nearly too much to bear? And how many times have you gone forward despite that uncertainty and realized your dread was worse than the actual change? Or perhaps you turned back and decided not to face that uncertain future. Regardless of the level of fear you experience when facing change, you are capable of overcoming it. Follow these steps and change your life for the better.

Scared woman looking through blinds.
Change coach Ariane de Bonvoisin, author of The First 30 Days, says that the beginning of any change is a pivotal time that can either leave you stressed and stuck or lead you forward with clarity and hope. De Bonvoisin introduces nine principles in her book that will help you develop an optimistic mind-set toward change – an attitude that encourages you to see that life is on your side and that good can come from even the most difficult of circumstances. One of those principles is to get over your fear.

There are different types of fear

According to de Bonvoisin, it is normal to experience many different types of fear, even in changes that are positive (like getting married, having a child or getting promoted at work).

You may fear not having personal or financial security (if you move due to a divorce), not being good enough (if you take a new job) or not being loved (if you decide to end a relationship). You may fear the reactions of loved ones (what if you don't want to have kids?), losing your identity (if you do decide to get pregnant) or that change will prevent you from realizing your life dreams (its common to worry about losing your identity when you decide to get married).

De Bonvoisin says, "When you take a deeper look at all the things that you fear, notice that fear is an emotion that exists only in regard to the future. Worry and anxiety come from imagining terrible scenarios that could occur in the future instead of focusing on what is actually happening in the present moment."

Be curious rather than afraid

For the most part, the probability of what you fear happening is lower than what your mind has you believing. De Bonvoisin suggests being curious, rather than being scared. Be curious about what a change would mean. And focus on the facts, instead of the worst-case scenarios you are congering in your head.

Get familiar with fear

The first 30 days of change create havoc primarily because you lose this false sense of control you believe you have over your life. In truth, you are never completely in control of your life (there are too many variables and unpredictable events), and when you are faced with change, you are merely reminded of your lack of control.

According to de Bonvoisin, part of your resistance to change is due to the American culture. "We are much too focused on trying to get rid of fear and too little focused on learning to live with fear and incorporating it into our daily lives and actions," she explains.

However, if you look at people who take big risks and make changes quickly, though they face the same fears as everyone else, they actually expect and embrace fear and uncertainty, rather than let fear paralyze them from making a decision, going forward with a change, and integrating the outcome into their lives.

Instead of avoiding change, de Bonvoisin recommends accepting that you can't control the external events in your life and embrace what you can control – your attitude. Get familiar with your fear and you will find that have far less to fear than you believe.

Have faith - real faith

"When fear shows up, find your faith. Faith in oneself or in something bigger," says de Bonvoisin. But not all faith is created equally and it is important to not follow blind faith as much as you adopt real faith.

Blind faith is when you believe someone else will fix everything, that you are not responsible and that you don't need to do anything to make things better. Real faith, on the other hand, is when you are fully present and active in your change.

For example, blind faith is having cancer and believing that you can go about your life as is and God will heal you. Real faith is having cancer and taking responsibility in changing your habits to develop a healthy lifestyle that can help you combat your cancer.

De Bonvoisin emphasizes, "Real faith means you work hard, take as much action as you can, but surrender to how something happens and when something happens. This is the ultimate surrender – to have faith in the face of fear."

Don't let others shake you

Further, never let someone throw your faith into doubt, especially when you are experiencing fear in the face of a change. Unfortunately, it is natural for people to find reasons that will shake your faith, but too often it is so they can impose their beliefs and views on you. However, de Bonvoisin says that there is nothing more power than what you yourself choose to believe.

Change is an open door

Change is an opportunity – one that cannot be fully realized until you can bravely face the inevitable uncertainty. The key to bravely facing change is to face your fears and have faith in yourself and your ability to be resilient. It's not even as difficult as you may think.

For more ways to courageously integrate change into your life, pick up The First 30 Days and be sure to visit First30Days.com for tips on making the changes that will better your life.

Want to get started right away? Try these nine quick ways to make your fear disappear.

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