4 Signs You Have A Fear Holding You Back

Photo by Paul Garaizar on Unsplash

Deep down, do you have a fear of chasing your goals? Do you enjoy the dream more than living in reality? Is that fear running your life? Are you afraid that if you start taking action, you will find out that you’re not good enough or maybe you had enough time all along?

You’re not alone. I lived in this for many years. I used to always tell myself, “if I had 8 hours a day to write, I would easily do ‘x’.” I was making excuses for myself. It wasn’t until I looked back at exactly how much time I had wasted to see how much time I had moving forward.

On any given day, I was wasting at least 4-5 hours. I would get home from work, sit down, stare into my phone for 30 minutes then realized I wanted to go workout and then I think to myself, “where did the day go?”

If I had used even an hour of that time a day to do the work over the last 10 years, that would be almost 900 hours of work I could have. Every little bit matters.

It’s difficult to break a habit that’s queued up in your brain. To this day, if I sit down when I get home, my brain goes into relaxation mode.

What Are The Signs Of Fear?

If you feel like you’ve been stuck in the same place for a long time and don’t know where to go, there’s a good chance that your small fears are keeping you from moving forward. Fear is insidious and runs deeper than just standard “being afraid of heights” or “afraid of sharks” type of thing. Those fears are obvious (and logical). The fears that we need to watch out for are the ones we don’t notice.

Fear Will Prevent You From Starting

When there’s something you want to do and you just let the days go by without any effort towards it, there’s a chance you’re afraid of it. It can be scary to start a new blog, change career paths, start eating healthy or train for a tough fitness event.

Fear prevented me from starting a blog in the past. I’ve wanted to start a blog for the last 5 years but instead of writing posts, I would start researching how to write a blog. Eventually it just became mental masturbation instead of being productive. I started to read books that weren’t even applicable to the type of writing that I wanted to do. I began make every excuse in the book of why I wasn’t going to write.

It takes discipline to break free of this. If you have a mind that can easily get into rabbit holes like mine does, you will find yourself spread thin instead of dialed in. Set an intention like, “I’m going to write about ‘x’ for 30 minutes today.” Do nothing else other than that topic. If you waver from your intentions you will begin to go down a rabbit hole and get nothing done.

Break your goal down to the lowest denominator. If you don’t feel like working out today, just put your workout clothes on. Then step out your door. Then head to the gym. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the big goal at large, breaking it down to the smallest goal that is achievable in that moment will help you make steps towards achieving it.

“Denial is the ultimate comfort zone.” – David Goggins

Fear Is A False Comfort

There is a false comfort in letting your fears control you. It’s easy to do the same thing everyday and never break your habits. The pathways in your brain cannot change unless there is some kind of stress behind it.

Historically, people that were petrified in fear were probably safe. They didn’t take risks. They kept their head down, survived and that worked for them. Some people want to just blend in with society and live a normal life without risk. That’s okay if that’s what you really want to do.

If you have a voice in the back of your head, telling you that you can do more. Blending in is probably what you don’t want to do.

Learn to learn into the discomfort. Do something that you don’t think you’re prepared for. Be prepared to fail. Put yourself out there and learn through the growing pains. When I ran my first 50 mile run, I almost dropped out the day before the race. I didn’t go on a run longer than 10 miles in almost 6 months and felt like I wasn’t prepared. Instead of dropping out, I decided to show up and give it a shot. To my surprise, I finished it. It made me wonder how much more I have in me if I prepared with a diligent training plan.

I went out on that run with knowing that I might hurt my ego by dropping out of the race.

Fear Will Keep You Chronically Stressed

If you do not face your fears, you will always have them hanging over you. They become this weight on your shoulders that grows by a feather a day. It’s subtle enough where you don’t feel it getting heavier and heavier.

For the last several years, I always felt that stress. I felt the stress of not doing something and was starting to learn to live with it. When was going to accept defeat? When was I going to accept that I wasn’t going to start a blog or be a writer?

Many people aren’t self aware enough of this chronic stress. Most people end up taking it out on other things and end up drinking themselves to death or becoming that abrasive co-worker.

“What is a fear of living? It’s being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself – for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don’t know what you’re here to do, then just do some good.” – Maya Angelou

Fear Will Prevent You From Living

If you allow your fears to keep control, you will start to feel like you’re living a dull life. It won’t matter if you go on fantastic trips or do something “fun” every weekend. Those fears that you haven’t overcome will live in the back of your mind. Making it harder to be present.

Any day that I don’t write, I have this difficulty to be present. No matter how hard I try to be present, I always have that in the back of my mind that I didn’t do enough today. I had the last straw with my fears when I realized that I was missing out on enjoying what are supposed to be fun moments in life.

Conclusion

We will always have new fears pop up in front of us with whatever we are doing. Learn to lean into those fears as a sign that you should do something. Start making steps towards that fear. If you don’t make steps towards that fear, you may come to regret it at some point in your life. Even if you have regrets now about mistakes you made in the past. It’s not too late. Starting now is always easier than starting in the future because you can control the present but you cannot control the future.