We recognize that change can be good for us. It’s obvious that quitting smoking, losing weight or developing the running habit will improve our life’s.

Yet we fail at change over and over again. Why?

One reason is you’re doing it wrong. You’re practicing the deadly sins of change.

But another reason runs deeper. You’re afraid to change. You procrastinate because deep down, you’re scared to take the plunge, even if it leads to a better life.

There’s hope though. Once you find and acknowledge your fear(s) of change, you can take the steps to conquer them. Learn the five most common fears:

1. Fear of Failure

The fear of failure is common. People feel that they will  fail, waste time, accomplish nothing.

People fear failure because they are prideful. They’re scared to commit to something they could fail, so they don’t try.

This fear is unfortunate because it’s irrational, yet easy to subcomb to.

2. Fear of Pain, Discomfort, and Effort

It’s rational to fear pain and discomfort. It’s reasonable to avoid effort.

However, all these things prevent you from changing. They prevent you from running, from eating healthy, from starting your own business.

I group these things together because they all are basically the same. When you tackle one, all of them are tackled.

This is perhaps the hardest fear to overcome, but the most worthwhile.

3. Fear of Success

Seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? How could someone be afraid of success?

Simple:  success comes with baggage. People pay more attention to you. You feel pressure.

Most importantly, you will be different. Better probably, but different, and that can be scary.

It’s a real fear that many people face, and it can be debilitating.

4. Fear of Criticism

This is an interesting phenomenon that I’ve witnessed. People who put in the effort and have the skill to make, for example, a varsity sports team but ride the bench get laughed at while those that don’t try-out get away scot-free.

It’s unfortunate, but some people will laugh at you. You’re fat, why are you running? You’re giving away many of you’re possessions? What a crazy hippie.

People are so afraid of what others think, that they’d rather not try. They would rather sit in the stands than risk sitting on the varsity bench.

This fear of criticism by others is a real fear, and must be overcome before you can change.

5. Fear of the New

People are afraid of anything that’s new or different.

It’s an incredibly debilitating and painful fear. Instead of using the opportunity of life to live well, people put themselves in a cage and live a stagnant, mediocre life.

It sounds horrible, but understand that this fear – like any other – can be overcome.

How to overcome your fears

Fear is all mental, and to overcome it you need to look inside yourself. You need to acknowledge you’re fears and dedicate yourself to tackling them one by one.

Yes, it can be hard, but it’s well worth it. I used to suffer from all of these fears, but by putting one foot in front of the other, I overcame them.

Start slowly. Celebrate every small victory. Eventually you will stand above your fears, and start living a better life.

Photo by whatmegsaid

Jake O’Callahan

Jake O'Callaghan is passionate about teaching others to change - one small step at a time. SlowChange is his blog on making lasting change. You can follow him on Twitter.

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