Do you have goals that you want to achieve? Dreams and aspirations that seem out of reach?
Maybe you know what steps are necessary but feel like it’s too difficult to get started?
If this sounds familiar, then you’re not alone. Many people find themselves in the same boat – they know what they need to do but can’t bring themselves to take action and get started.
The truth is, the hardest part of any change is taking that first step. But once we make a decision and take action, everything else becomes easier.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to overcome the fear of change and take that first step. We’ll look at the science and psychology behind why there’s so much internal resistance initially, how it shows up in different areas of your life, and how you can take control and start making progress.
By the end of this post, you’ll know exactly how to begin taking the steps necessary to make positive changes in your life. So, let’s get started!
Why Is It So Difficult To Take That First Step?
Whether you want to start a business, transform your body, or make any other kind of significant life change – taking the first step can be intimidating. And here’s why…
From a scientific perspective, it all comes down to something called cognitive dissonance.
This occurs when we have two conflicting beliefs and values competing for our attention.
In simple terms, it means feeling uncomfortable with the idea of change, because of all the unknowns. Our brains are wired to keep us safe and away from potential danger, so naturally, it’s difficult to push through these conflicting feelings and take a risk.
From a psychological standpoint, we may also be holding onto limiting beliefs or negative thoughts that make it hard to take action and achieve our goals. For example, maybe we don’t feel worthy of success, or we fear failure and rejection.
Common Areas Cognitive Dissonance Can Show Up In Our Lives
Cognitive dissonance and fear of taking the first step can show up in all facets of our lives. Here are some of the most common areas it shows up for female entrepreneurs and working professionals…
- Health and Wellness: When we know what kind of healthy lifestyle we should be living, but can’t seem to motivate ourselves to stay consistent with our nutrition and exercise. However, once we get a few exercise sessions in, and start seeing positive results, it becomes easier to stay in the habit.
- Career: When we want to start a business or pivot in our career, but fear failure and lack the confidence to take a risk. However, once we make the jump and start taking action, we feel a sense of accomplishment and our confidence begins to grow.
- Business: When we know the marketing strategies and tactics that will help our business grow, but can’t seem to take action and implement them. However, once we break things down into smaller steps and start seeing results from our efforts, it becomes much easier to keep going.
- Relationships: When we know we should end a draining relationship or take a chance on someone new, but feel too scared to do so. However, once we muster up the courage and make the leap, we often find that it was worth it.
5 Types of Cognitive Dissonance and How To Overcome Them
There are many different ways that cognitive dissonance can show up in our lives, but here are 5 of the most common:
We procrastinate because we feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Breaking tasks down into smaller steps, setting deadlines and rewarding ourselves for completing those goals can help get us past the procrastination.
2. Lack of Self-Belief
We may not have enough faith in ourselves and our abilities, so we avoid challenging tasks or taking risks. Positive self-talk, affirmations and surrounding yourself with supportive people can help build your self-belief and increase your confidence.
We strive for perfection because we fear failure or rejection, but this prevents us from getting started on a project or making progress. Redefining our definition of success and focusing on progress rather than perfection can help us to move forward with our goals.
4. Fear of the Unknown
We don’t take action because we are afraid of what lies ahead and if it will turn out well. Reminding ourselves of the worst-case scenario and focusing on small, achievable steps can help us move past this fear.
5. Overthinking / Analysis Paralysis
We overanalyze because we don’t want to make a mistake or take the wrong path. However, it prevents us from taking any action and achieving our goals. Learning to trust ourselves, accepting uncertainty, and having faith in our decisions can all help reduce overthinking and get us closer to our desired outcome.
5 Quick Tips To Overcome Cognitive Dissonance And Take That First Step Towards Change
We can’t always prevent cognitive dissonance from happening, but we can choose how to respond to it. Here are some tips on how to move forward and take that first step:
1. Make a Plan
Break down your goals into small, achievable steps. Create a plan of action with deadlines and rewards for completing each task. This will help you stay motivated and make progress towards your goal.
2. Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
It’s natural to feel uncomfortable when facing something new. Remind yourself that this is a normal feeling and it will pass.
3. Have Faith in your Decisions
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or take risks, trust yourself and the decisions you’ve made. You won’t know how things turn out until you take that first step.
4. Get Support
Having the right people in your corner can make all the difference. Connect with friends and mentors who will encourage and motivate you to take action.
5. Celebrate Success
When we celebrate our wins, no matter how small, it helps reinforce positive behavior and keeps us motivated to continue on our journey.
You’re Not Unmotivated or Lazy. You’re Just Tired.
Quite often, we’re very hard on ourselves when we don’t take that first step – we mistakenly believe that it’s because of a lack of motivation or laziness. The truth is, it often has more to do with feeling tired and overwhelmed.
For this reason, it’s important to watch your self-talk and not be too hard on yourself. It’s ok to take a break and recharge. In fact, it’s necessary. Self-care is the key to overcoming cognitive dissonance and taking that first step towards change.
Taking the first step towards change can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be.
With a little bit of planning, self-belief and the right people in your corner, you can overcome cognitive dissonance and make progress towards your goals. So go ahead, take that first step – you’ve got this!
P.S. If you’d like some help with overcoming cognitive dissonance and taking that first step, book a FREE 45-minute Energy Optimisation Session call with me.
I’ll help you uncover what’s been blocking you and give you the clarity and energy to take that first step.