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Afraid of Change? Try These 5 Fear-Busting Strategies

Do you fear change? Particularly if it’s a big change? Use these 5 fear-busting strategies to manage your fears.

Change scares a lot of people, so you’re not alone. The key is to tap into some strategies to handle your fear so it doesn’t stop you from doing what you want to do.

Start by considering what bothers you about change:

  • Fear of the unknown. Even when you’re unhappy with your present situation, not knowing what will happen next can be stressful.
  • Fear of failure. Creating change in your life and work can come with the risk of rejection, disapproval or failure.
  • Fear of success. Positive change can be scary because your life may not be the same if you succeed.

Even successful and confident people experience fear, doubt and worry when they make changes in their lives. But they also take steps to handle these reactions. You can too.

Try these 5 fear-busting strategies

  1. Name your fear.
    Fear often loses some of its power when you identify it. What scares you about the situation you’re facing? Describe it out loud. Write it down. Then you’ll know exactly what you’re dealing with.

  2. Get to know the unknown.
    Fear often comes from not knowing what to expect. But you can figure it out. Talk to people, read articles and look online for information. By turning unknowns into knowns, your research can reduce your fear and increase your confidence.

  3. Ask yourself "what if?"
    Just thinking about how you would handle a situation can decrease your fear and increase your ability to manage it. Try these exercises:
    • Imagine what could happen if your worst-case scenario comes true. Be specific and write it down.
    • Make a list of things you could do to handle any problems that arise.
    • Now, imagine your best-case scenario, if things turn out as you hope. Describe it in detail.
    • Finally, make a list of what you will do to handle any problems that result from your success.

  4. Stop worrying and take action.
    Worrying won’t improve an outcome. And the stress worry causes might make things worse. The cure for worry is action. Chances are you’re worrying for one of the following reasons:
    • You don’t know what to do:
      • Describe the possible options. Brainstorm or research if you don’t know what the options are.
      • Find out everything you can about the options you’re interested in.
      • Choose the option that feels best to you.
    • You can’t decide what to do:
      • Describe your options in detail.
      • List the pros and cons for each option.
      • Choose the option with the most pros or the fewest cons.
      • Or choose the option that feels right, even if another option has more pros.
    • You’re waiting for something, such as a job interview, an exam or an important meeting:
      • Write a list of everything you can do to prepare for the situation.
      • Check that you’ve completed every task on the list. Complete any unfinished tasks.
      • Write the following on the list: "I have done everything I can do. I am prepared." Put the list away.
      • Divert your attention: watch TV, read or visit a friend.
      • If you start to worry, tell yourself, "I am prepared."

  5. Use positive self-talk
    An old show-business expression declares: "Fake it 'til you make it." Talk to yourself in a way that does exactly that. You don’t even have to believe what you say to yourself for this method to work. Just talk to yourself in an upbeat way. Start with these suggestions:
    • I welcome change.
    • I make good decisions.
    • I am confident and capable.
    • I know that I can change my life.

Create your own statements. Use the present tense. Keep your statement positive and write them down. Repeat these messages to yourself several times a day.

You can manage your fear of change

Going after the things worth having often involves risk, doubt or fear. It’s okay to acknowledge your fear of change. Now you know 5 fear-busting strategies that can help you manage your fears and make effective changes in your life and work.

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