Fear: A painful emotion or passion excited by the expectation of evil, or the apprehension of impending danger; apprehension; anxiety; solicitude; alarm; dread
Doubt: To waiver in opinion or judgment; to be in uncertainty as to belief respecting anything; to hesitate in belief; to be undecided as to the truth of the negative or the affirmative proposition; to be undetermined.
To suspect; to fear; to be apprehensive.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, these are the official definitions of fear and doubt. My official definition of these two words is that they SUCK. Fear and doubt are two of the most powerful emotions that human beings feel, and they are also the most debilitating. What other emotions can you think of that cripple progress and overall quality of life more than fear and doubt?
Being in the fitness field every day, I see different stages of fear and doubt in people.
* Fear and doubt when beginning a fitness and training program. These individuals are BRAND NEW to fitness and they are freaking out of their mind. What do I wear? What do I do when I show up? How will I feel after? There is no way I can keep up with the others in the group if I’m brand new. These are all fears and even though they may be small to some people, to this person they are huge.
* Fear and doubt about when to start a fitness plan: ‘I’ll start after the New Year.’ ‘I’ll start once work settles down.’ And my favorite….’I’ll get in shape first and then sign up with a trainer.’
*Fear and doubt about continuing a training program: These people end up with a laundry list of excuses…time, money, husband wants them to stop training (yes, I have heard this one several times), they want to try working out on their own.
*Fear and doubt during a training session: This happens quite a bit because as I mentioned, fear and doubt are automatic in the human brain and are often a protection mechanism because stepping out of your comfort zone hurts…physically and mentally. ‘I can’t do that exercise’, ‘I can’t do that many repetitions’, ‘How can I keep up with everyone else in the group?’
What do all of these stages of fear and doubt have in common? The answer is that most of the people that feel these things do not believe that they DESERVE SUCCESS. The good thing is that this can be solved! Regardless of what stage of training or fitness you are in, you must overcome fear and doubt in order to be successful.
Here’s the basic cycle of negative behavior leading to fear and doubt:
1. It begins with the thoughts in your own brain
2. Negative “self talk” begins…‘I can’t….’
3. These negative voices then lead to “trying”, which is usually a very soft attempt that gets you nowhere
4. Then you start to feel better because you say “I tried” and “It wasn’t my fault” because I just couldn’t do it
5. The cycle repeats
Living in this constant cycle of fear, doubt, and negative self talk only leads to more of the same. You must instead attack the fear and doubt head on. Now this sounds like of weird and abstract, right? How do I “attack” emotions?
There are two things that need to be done:
1. When these thoughts come into your head, you must practice replacing them with positive thoughts. When you think that you can’t do something, you need to rationalize with your own brain that you in fact, CAN do it. Why would you be limited to doing something? External forces that hold you back? Other people? Screw all of that stuff…you CAN do anything…most people are just afraid to FAIL. As soon as a negative, self defeating thought pops into your head, replace it with a thought about why you can achieve that particular thing.
2. Take immediate action when fear and doubt creep up. At that moment, do something that puts you out of your comfort zone and allows you to succeed. People want to “feel good” about themselves but life is not that easy. You must get your feathers ruffled a little bit in order to have a consistent feeling of success. If you are fearful about the gym, take that first step to signing up for a free week. If you are fearful about how to continue training and doubting your own physical abilities, step up to the challenge and commit to your health. If there is that one exercise that freaks you out and kicks your butt every single time, challenge it head on and focus on one repetition at a time until you complete it.
How often do you feel these emotions? I personally feel them every single day. Since the early spring I have been on a mission to improve my business and develop a lifestyle that I am in control of. With this freedom comes a TON of fear and doubt. Am I going about this the right way? Are people going to be open and accepting of my ideas? Can I really go into this company and sell them my program? I’ll be honest, it’s been a huge learning experience for me and every single day I step out of my comfort zone.
My point with this little story is that fear and doubt are natural human reactions to new situations, but the difference between success and constant failure or settling for less than you deserve is how you deal with these emotions when they sneak up on you. Do not walk around life in a constant state of “settling” just because it is comfortable. If you want to get in shape and feel and look great, you can. It’s all about overcoming these nasty little emotions and dealing with them head on through positive thinking and serious action. You need both aspects though, so find your fears and go after them.