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How to Eliminate Fear of Not Achieving Goals

fear of not achieving goals

When I was younger, my mom used to tell me that fear was like a monster under my bed. It was always there, lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce on me when I least expected it. As I got older, I realized that fear is something that we all experience in different ways. (Fear of not achieving goals is one of them.)

For some people, fear is like a tiny voice in the back of their mind that tells them they can’t do something. And for others, it’s an internal struggle between doing something and not doing it. But for me, fear is a beast that devours everything in its path, leaving chaos in its wake. And I’m terrified of it.

Fear of Falling 

I’ve always had a fear of falling. In elementary school, I convinced myself that I would die if I fell down the stairs on my way to class. And I was terrified of walking down the stairs in my primary school, so I always ran down them and jumped off at the bottom. My fear grew to include anything that could cause a fall, like ladders and chairs. 

In high school, my fear expanded to include everything. I was afraid of crossing the street, walking in parking lots, and even down hallways. And I was convinced someone would push me over the railing just to see how far I’d fall. But I got over my fear when I was around 18. I realized that the worst thing that could happen would be a bad fall or maybe a sprained ankle. And I had learned how to land on my feet when I jumped off things as a kid, so I figured it wouldn’t be so bad. 

Do You Have a Goal?

Have you ever set a goal to improve your life, whether it be a New Year’s resolution or something you’ve wanted to do for a while, only to find yourself not achieving it? What was the goal, and what happened?

I’ve had a lot of ideas in my head about what I would like to do. I’d be sitting at home, watching TV or just on the computer, thinking about it. But in the end, I just never went through with it. I think that’s because I was afraid to fail; it would be a big deal if I failed. But if you don’t try, you’re still failing, aren’t you?

I get it! No one likes to fail. It’s embarrassing, feels like a personal attack, and can be really discouraging. But why are you so afraid of failure? Is it because you’re afraid of not reaching your goals? Or is there something deeper going on? Let’s look at the psychology behind why you’re afraid of not achieving your goals.

The Amygdala’s Function In Anxiety And Fear

According to psychology, the amygdala is responsible for our experience of fear and anxiety. This tiny, almond-shaped portion of the brain is found just behind the eyes, close to the brain’s center. The amygdala is part of the limbic system responsible for our emotions and memory.

The amygdala is constantly on the lookout for threats. When it perceives a threat, it sends a signal to the hypothalamus, triggering the fight-or-flight response. This response causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as a release of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

While this response can be lifesaving in dangerous situations, it can also be triggered by more mundane things like public speaking or test-taking. Because these triggers are out of our control, anxiety can be a big problem for many people. (For more detail on the science behind anxiety, see this article.)

How Our Brain’s Threat Detection System Affects Goal-Setting

Our brains are hardwired to pay more attention to potential threats than opportunities. This threat detection system evolved to help keep us safe from dangers like predators and natural disasters. But in the modern world, this system can work against us.

When we’re constantly looking for danger, we’re more likely to see problems and obstacles instead of possibilities and solutions. This can make it harder to set and achieve goals.

According to psychology, there are three main reasons why our brain’s threat detection system can hinder goal-setting:

We’re more likely to…

  1. Focus on what could go wrong instead of what could go right.
  1. Underestimate our abilities and resources.
  1. Paralyzed by fear instead of taking action toward our goals. 

But there are ways we can overcome our brain’s tendency to focus on threats. In fact, the following three strategies have been shown to work in multiple studies: 

Set SMART Goals

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Setting a goal and breaking it down into more manageable, precise steps makes it simpler to see what you need to do. This keeps us from getting sidetracked by all the other things that could go wrong and helps us stay focused on the task. 

Keep Track of Your Progress

It’s easy to underestimate how much we’ve already achieved in life, and it’s also easy to underestimate how far we have to go before reaching a goal. Keep going until you have a chance to succeed. Realizing how far you’ve come inspires you to keep going until you reach your objective.

Take Time For Yourself

It’s important to give yourself a break from the daily stressors that can trigger anxiety. This does not mean you should be selfish or ignore others—it will have the opposite effect. Taking a few minutes for yourself each day will help you recharge and relax so that the anxiety does not consume you. 

fear of not achieving goals

The Evolutionary Origins of Fear And Its Impact On Goal-Setting

According to psychology, there is an evolutionary origin of fear and its impact on goal-setting. In simple terms, our ancestors passed down certain traits that make us more likely to fail at certain tasks. For example, one of these traits is anxiety. Our bodies release a hormone called cortisol when we experience anxiety. This hormone made us more alert and focused, making us less likely to make mistakes.

Another trait that can impact our ability to achieve our goals is procrastination. This tendency to put off tasks until the last minute can also be traced back to our ancestors. They often had to delay gratification to survive in difficult situations. We still have this tendency today, even though we don’t always need it.

The Psychology Behind Not Achieving Goals

When it comes to our goals, we often focus on the result rather than enjoying the journey. This can create a lot of pressure and anxiety around not achieving our goals. The fear of not achieving our goals can keep us from taking risks and trying new things.

So how can we get over the fear of not achieving our goals? By understanding why we fail and learning from our mistakes

  • We should stop setting unrealistic expectations. 

We see other people achieving their goals and think we should be able to do the same. But compare yourself to where you were yesterday, not where someone else is today. Set realistic expectations for yourself, and your goal will seem more achievable.

  • Don’t get discouraged easily. 

We stumble and make mistakes along the way, and instead of getting back up, we give up altogether. Set intermediate goals for yourself so you have smaller successes along the way. Baby steps are the ones you should aim for. So you can develop habits into a lifestyle

Write Down Your Goals

If you don’t write them down, they’re not really real. It might seem silly, but once you write them down, they are more solid and real. And the more real they become, the more likely you are to reach them. Put your goals in a place where you can see them daily, on your refrigerator or in your journal. Let your goals remind you every day of what you’re working towards.

fear of not achieving goals

Final Thoughts

There are many things in life that we fear. Some of these fears are evolutionary and have helped us survive as a species. Other fears are learned and can hold us back from achieving our goals. Fear is a natural emotion that has evolved to keep us safe. It is the body’s way of telling us that something is wrong and that we must be careful. Fear can help us avoid danger and keep us safe from harm.

However, fear can also prevent us from reaching our full potential. When we let fear control our lives, it can stop us from taking risks and pursuing our dreams. It can hold us back from trying new things and making changes. You need to learn to control your fear to achieve your goals. You need to be willing to take risks and step outside your comfort zone. Comment on your thoughts about facing your fears and if you have one. 

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Khushboo Sangwan

Content writer

It was easy when we were kids. Why don’t we dream like a 5 year old anymore? I mean we can, if we let ourselves. Hey I’m khushboo sangwan. My love for writing developed over years. It was about poems, quotes then motivation becoming thoughts. I love to get those ideas on a piece of paper serving on this digital screen. I guarantee you’ll find all that you need to know about growing years with amazing writing tips on the go. Keep on binging to the fresh content! ;-) 

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