There's a huge part of habit change that people often neglect to think about—the fear of failure and the fear of success. Why should you try to change a bad habit if you’ve tried and failed dozens of times before?
Why should you try to change if it’s going to be really uncomfortable, different, and weird if you succeed? Your whole view of yourself has to change, whether you succeed or fail. It almost seems like it’s not worth it.
It’s time to move past that mindset—it’s a huge part of what’s really holding you back.
Many of us have an ingrained fear of failure. We're comfortable with who we are right now and what we're doing, even if we’re not perfect. There’s a comfort in familiarity, even it’s familiarity with constant misery. Still, there's always something that needs to change and that nags at us.
No one is perfect. There are always things we wish we were doing better. That nagging grows stronger. You feel that pull to change… but you’re comfortable in your misery because it fits in with your view of yourself as a person.
Plus, the fear of failure grows stronger the more you take action. We all know that very few people actually see the lasting change they want to see, right? Why try if it’s going to be so difficult?
Again, change is uncomfortable-- even good change. We have it ingrained in ourselves that we're supposed to be a certain way as a person. We have thoughts and visions about ourselves that have probably held true since childhood.
If you believe you have a certain bad habit as an ingrained personality flaw, you might try to change but not believe that you can actually change. That, in a way, is the opposite problem—the fear of success. If you change, you’ll be different as a person and that’s uncomfortable.
It’s no wonder people are so resistant to changing their habits. We have to deal with the fear of failure and the fear of success. Your life will change in major ways if you can break these bad habits and develop new ones. That's a really scary thought for a lot of people. This is likely true for you even if you're not aware of it.
You might have tried to change a certain habit over and over again and you've failed every time. That's really discouraging. That's enough to make you want to throw in the towel altogether. Yet, there is something that drives you to keep trying. Unfortunately, that drive doesn't usually carry through to success. That is, it doesn't carry through to success unless you have a surefire strategy that's going to keep you going for the long haul.
If you're not sure the fear of failure drives you, consider this. What would happen if you declared to all of your friends and family members that you are, without a doubt, going to change a particular habit of yours? You'd feel a little nervous, especially if they laugh at you or roll their eyes because they’ve heard it all before. And that's in the beginning. The beginning of habit change is when you feel all fresh and good. You feel like this is the time you're going to make it happen. It always seems easier to change in the beginning but it gets harder and harder as time goes on.
And to interrupt the thought of YOUR habit change just a bit, when a friend or family member of yours tells you that THEY are going to change one of their bad habits, think of this lesson and don’t laugh at them or roll YOUR eyes. Give them the most encouragement possible knowing how tough it is on them.
Now back to you…
How does it make you feel that your friends and family members might see you fail? How does it make you feel that you might fail... again? I'm sure that makes you feel terrible. And, even if you don't realize it right now, that feeling might be enough to hold you back from changing for good. That feeling of impending failure might be enough to stop you from trying to change your habits at all.
None of us want to fail. But the inevitable fact is that you will sometimes fail and that's okay. Bad habits are already causing you to fail, over and over again.
You're failing to eat the right foods, you're failing to start that new side business, you’re failing to get your work done on time, you're failing to get enough sleep; you're failing to do so many things.
But there's a difference between failing at things you're comfortable and familiar with and failing at things you're not comfortable with. You’re used to yourself being overweight and procrastinating. But you’re not used to the idea of yourself being thin and productive. Even if you could get used to those things, you’re too terrified that you’ll have to admit defeat if you try.
Changing your habits means seeing some huge differences in your life. You're dealing with the uncomfortable feelings that can stem from that along with the uncomfortable feelings that you might fail. That's something you’re going to have to face head on. The good news is that once you acknowledge that you do have a fear of failure and possibly a fear of success, you can quickly overcome it. You can persevere and find lasting change in spite of it all.
Even if you don't successfully banish those 20 pounds when you said you would or even if it takes you longer to help your family achieve financial freedom, you'll learn not to count those things as failures because at least you're trying. In my opinion, as long as you're taking daily steps toward improving your habits and working toward your goals, you're succeeding rather than failing.
It's time for you to experience a mindset switch. Instead of considering the lack of success a failure, you should consider the lack of trying to change a failure. Yes, you will experience bumps in the road. Some days you'll feel a lot more confident than other days. But there is nothing that's going to hold you back. When you develop new habits and experience a new mindset, there's no way you can truly fail.
You will have to deal with the uncomfortable feelings that surround change. That's inevitable and you just have to get used to it. But you won't have to deal with a sense of failure because you're going to look at failure in a whole new light. There are so many people who don't try to change at all because they are afraid they are going to fail. They don’t feel that pull to change and better themselves like you do.
It's so much easier to just stick with that you're familiar with. But failing to try is failing. Trying to change for the better is not failing. Trying to develop new habits to better your life and yourself is a huge, huge win. I think with that mindset, you'll find it easier to change than you ever have before.
It's time to examine your feelings on this topic. Are you afraid you'll fail at habit change? What, specifically, scares you? Have you tried to change a dozen times before, seemingly failing each time?
It doesn't matter—that’s all in the past. You can learn from your mistakes and move forward in amazing ways. Today is the day you're going to feel confident and excited about all of the wonderful changes that are to come. It might be a little uncomfortable and scary, but the result of getting to live the life you want to live is very much worth it.