What are you avoiding? Is it a big project? Something or someone that causes you to stress? Travel or a new adventure you want to go on that scares you a bit? How do you stop your avoidance behavior?
First, you need to figure out what you’re avoiding and why. Then you need to schedule it. After that, you’ll need to do several steps to prep for it and even hype yourself up for it. Do it. And finally, congratulate yourself.
What are You Avoiding and Why
This is the first step, figuring out what it is that you’re avoiding and why you’re avoiding it.
Are you avoiding a project because you think you might fail or that someone else’s will be better? Are you avoiding traveling alone because you’re afraid you won’t have fun, that everyone will pity you for being alone, or that you’ll be a target of crime because you’re alone?
Sometimes it’s easier if you journal this out or even went for a walk and asked yourself the following questions:
- What would happen if I completed this? What are the pros and cons?
- When I get anxious about completing it or following through on it, what behaviors do I do? How do I act or think when I start getting anxious?
- Make a list of everything that worries me about this project. Are they real or imagined worries?
- Does my project feel too big? Can I break it into smaller steps? What are those smaller steps?
- What am I most afraid of? What evidence do I have to support this fear?
- What have my worries done for me? Have they actually helped me? What lessons have I learned from my past worries that I can use on this project?
- If I knew everything would work out perfectly, what would I do? Is there anything that I would change?
- Are there people who can support me?
- What am I missing out on because I’m letting this fear control me?
- What steps can I take to address any real fears? What plans can I put in place to move forward?
Yep. It’s time to schedule it. Why? So we can’t put it off anymore. I’m not saying you have to do it today or even tomorrow, but let’s get it on the calendar. If it’s a big project, then break it down into smaller steps and get those steps onto the calendar.
If you’ve done the journaling above to figure out what you’re avoiding and why, then you already have some tools to move forward. So let’s get this project on the calendar.
One of my biggest fears was traveling, especially traveling alone. My first big travel-alone trip wasn’t planned that way. I actually planned it with a friend, we were going to a yoga teachers’ retreat. Two days before the trip, my friend had a family crisis that she had to handle and couldn’t go. It was too late for me to back out, there were no refunds at this point.
So I went. Alone. Nothing bad happened. Nothing great happened either. I kept to myself and didn’t really make friends, even just trip friends. Although I had a lovely spa day on the Monday after the conference.
My second trip alone was different. I scheduled it by myself, I made some trip friends, we laughed together, and we went out to dinner together. A completely different and more memorable trip.
Now that you’ve scheduled it, it’s time to get ready. You can do that by keeping your eye on the why. Sometimes you might need to remind yourself regularly. Write it on a sign or a note and stick it where you’ll see it.
You also want to address any of the excuses that keep popping up in your head. For me, on that first trip whenever I wanted to back out, I just remembered how much money I’d lose if I didn’t go.
If this is a big project, you might even want to create a vision board. Your vision board can include your why along with pictures of the steps you need to take. You can even include your excuses and how you’re smashing them. It’s great to have a visual reminder nearby.
Amp Yourself Up
Just before you’re ready to start, do your Power Pose. And by that, try the Wonder Woman pose. Or if you prefer, call it the Superman pose. Both do the same thing. Standing up straight, shoulders back, hands (or fists) on your hips with your elbows sticking out. There is psychological evidence that standing in this pose for two minutes increases our confidence.
Do this pose before you start. And continue doing it anytime you feel that your confidence is lagging. Any time you need a boost.
Just Do It
After you’ve journaled and addressed your concerns, you’ve made a plan, and you did your Power Pose, it’s time to just Do It.
You’ve prepared yourself in every way possible, it’s just time to rip the bandage off and do it.
I hope this helps you get over that hump when you’re facing something you keep avoiding. If it doesn’t, if your fears are overwhelming you, there’s no shame in seeking additional help.
What are some tactics you’ve used to help you move past what you are avoiding?