• Denise Cartagena

Take Action and Let Go of the Fear of Failure

Start living your best life and being who you want to be!

Okay, here we are. We have noticed something going on in our lives that isn’t quite right. We thought about making a potential change, got connected to our emotions and motivations, and we’ve taken a chance on ourselves. We have committed to making this change, and now it’s time to take action.

If you haven’t read it yet, check out last week’s blog, 4 Ways to Set Up Your Goals So That You Can Actually Achieve Them. This article talks about how to get ready to create your desired changes. One main point it makes is to break down your goal into tangible baby steps. These baby steps are what we need to take action.

It’s important to remember that creating change is uncomfortable and makes you vulnerable to going back to old habits. These baby steps will allow you to create change gradually, fostering your self-confidence when you are able to achieve it one step at a time. So if you haven’t already, write down each tangible baby step you can take in the direction of the change you want to make. For example, if my goal is, “I will limit myself to only eat out twice a week by 10/31”, my baby steps might include (and are not limited to):

  1. Decide which days I will eat out this week

  2. Decide which meals I will eat out on those days this week

  3. Draw up a schedule for the 21 meals of this week

  4. Create a grocery list

  5. Go grocery shopping

The purpose of mapping out tangible baby steps you need to take is to know what step comes next. You’re able to start crossing steps off your list quickly, which will allow you to notice that this change isn’t as big and scary as you might have thought before. By sticking to the baby steps, you start achieving success right away, perhaps allowing you to achieve more than you had originally planned. If we refer back to the example above, if I started with step one and decided that I wanted to eat out only on Friday and Saturday this week, I might go straight to step two and decide that I will eat out for Friday's dinner and Saturday’s brunch. This might make me excited about what I might eat for those meals, and draw a schedule for my meals this week. By this time, I’ve already completed 3 steps, and I’ve just barely started!

So thinking back to the 6 Steps of Change, Action, as we’ve been covering so far, is step 4. The remaining two steps are Maintenance and Relapse. Either one of these steps is a possible outcome at this point, so let’s talk a little more about each.

Maintenance is what we’re striving for. If we are able to achieve this, it means that the change was created, we have created a new comfort zone, and we can remain here. I mean, of course, until we end up at step one again and really want to create another change. Otherwise, we are content, we have achieved our goal, and we can continue living our best lives! So going back to our example above, my goal is, “I will limit myself to only eat out twice a week by 10/31”. By 10/31, my new habit is only eating out two times per week. I have sustained this change and I am happy with my success.

However, Relapse is possible, and here’s why. So as I’ve mentioned, creating change requires us to step out of our comfort zones, which means that it’s immediately “uncomfortable”. It might bring up a lot of doubt or remind us of what’s stopped us from making this change in the past, etc. We are automatically vulnerable to going back and clinging to our comfort zones, or old habits or behaviors, even if we have successfully been checking baby steps off our list since day one! When we give into that temptation to go back, that is called Relapse.

Any time we attempt to create change, we are subjecting ourselves to this temptation. BUT I NEED YOU TO KNOW that no matter how powerful of a change-maker a person is, they are still at risk to going back to their comfort zone. My point is that we are not perfect beings, and that’s okay. Lasting change isn’t just made overnight! It takes a conscious effort and time. If you are attempting to create change, you will probably go back to your comfort zone at some point, as will I and anyone who is trying to change themselves! AND THAT’S OKAY and natural!

Failure happens, and I’m not saying that to scare you away from trying in the first place. I just want to shed light on the idea that it’s not failure that determines if you’re capable of creating this change, it’s what you do with that failure. Are you going to let this relapse defeat you and never try making this change again? OR are you going to get back up, dust yourself off, and try again?

Okay, let’s take a step back, that was getting a little heavy. Now I’d like to offer you some perspective. Let’s say you’re in a position that you relapsed back to your comfort zone. You forget all about the goal you once had in mind, and continue on where you began. It’s okay. Maybe this means you weren’t in the right place to create this change right now. Maybe when you are ready mentally, emotionally, and/or spiritually, you’ll try again. Maybe something else is getting in the way. Maybe creating this change is going against conformity to your family or friends, and that’s not something you want to go against right now. Maybe you’re burned out from working so hard at your job and you don’t have the mental space to think about change right now. Maybe the fear of failure or rejection is too overwhelming. We, as humans, are complex beings!

Going back to our example, let’s say I was going strong for a week and half, but during the end of the second week I ended up eating out for the remainder of my meals. What else is going on in the big picture? I was really sad about something and couldn’t get myself to cook dinner one night. I couldn’t sleep, and the next morning I realized I ran out of coffee so I just ran to Starbucks for some caffeine, but then settled for a breakfast sandwich when I got there. Then my friend really wanted to grab dinner and talk about something going on. There’s so many things that can come up and we all process and react to them differently. I could easily fall off right here OR I can wake up on Monday morning, remember my WHY for making this change in the first place, and push myself to start again.

The biggest thing I can share with you right now though, is that it’s okay. You’re okay. When you’re in the right place to get back up, dust yourself off, and try again, you will. You are a winner, so don’t let this temporary loss defeat you and scare you from making future changes. You can still do this. You can! Maintenance isn’t too far away!

If you want more on how to connect more closely to your motivation to make change in your life, check out my FREE virtual workshop. If you’re in a place where you want to focus more on your emotional and mental roadblocks so that you can set yourself up for success in the future, book a free consultation with me and see how we can work through them together! Just know that wherever you are in your own personal growth journey is where you’re meant to be right now. Things will unfold naturally when they are meant to do so. Always remember that there are resources out there for you!

Happy Growing & Best Wishes,