Doing something we’ve never done before can make us feel one of two ways: Excited or Fearful. If you’re excited about something, you are likely to do it. However, if for whatever reason you are fearful of it, your chance of doing it goes way down. If you’ve stopped watching Game of Thrones and are actually reading this on your iPad, it’s far more likely that you have fear about starting a fitness program. Let’s first evaluate where this fear comes from and why it exists.
Embarking on a new journey or venturing into uncharted territory can be very intimidating. When we have no previous experience with something, we typically don’t know what to expect. If we don’t understand or can’t predict a favourable outcome, we tend to shy away from even taking the first steps towards that new journey.
Let’s relate this to starting at the gym or hiring a professional fitness trainer. When it comes time to stepping up and taking care of our health and fitness, we tend to create various outcomes in our minds of things that haven’t even happened yet. Some of these outcomes are not necessarily favourable. I’ll pay for a membership and not use it. I’ll join and fail. I’ve done it a thousand times and never succeeded. I’ll show up for the first time and everyone will laugh at me. Visualising these negative outcomes is our brain’s way of trying to talk ourselves out of starting. “It probably won’t work for me”, “I just don’t have the time”, “My friend tried it once and it didn’t work for him/her”, you get the idea. At this point, we will use any excuse to justify preventing ourselves from experiencing failure or any other uncomfortable feeling. Stepping into a whole new world is scary.
Expand Your Comfort Zone
We wouldn’t be where we are today in our society if every single person who ever lived stayed cuddled up in their comfort zone. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having a comfort zone. However, EXPANDING your comfort zone is how everything in this world progresses. Yes, it will be uncomfortable for a short while, and yes it will scare you and yes you may not like every single second of it and yes there is a chance of failure or of some other unfavourable outcome. But by continuing to push yourself through barriers and finding ways to increase your chances of favourable outcomes, you will eventually manage to make the uncomfortable, comfortable.
Support and Guidance
When it comes to health and fitness, ensuring that you have proper support and guidance is what will give you the greatest chance of a favourable outcome and subsequently, will help you overcome the uncertainty that is causing your fear. Think of your very first day at your job. I’m guessing you weren’t just thrown to the wolves and wished “Good luck!” Within the first couple of months, you likely had someone to help you and guide you along the way. They showed you where the bathrooms and meeting rooms were. They clarified what your boss was looking for. They educated you about the company culture and expectations. Ultimately, they helped provide the direction you needed to become a useful employee. Be it a mentor, a boss, or your friendly cubicle buddy, somebody was there to help you become successful. The same goes with health and fitness. Finding that source of guidance is the key to giving yourself the best chance at success and eliminating all the unfounded fears you have about failing.
In the end, we have to ask ourselves how badly we want positive results. Being scared or fearful is part of what makes us human; it exists as a warning mechanism to prevent us from getting hurt. But in this instance, a positive outcome is the desired result and thus we cannot let fear prevent us from achieving something that will benefit us. We have to trust ourselves, trust the person guiding us, and jump in and commit.