Overcoming Goal Fear

How do you feel when you think about your weight loss goal, is there some doubt or hesitation present? What feeling rises to the top when you think about your future?

It’s tough to get where you’re going if dread is the fuel you’re trying to use to get there. 

It’s tough to head out in the direction of somewhere you don’t want to go or don’t want to be. 

It’s tough to work for something that you don’t actually want.

It’s tough to move towards something you are afraid of becoming.

This is something that happens with goals sometimes. 

Questioning your goals

We might set a goal based on what we think other people think we should do or want.

Based on some outside information, we might set a goal because we think it’s the right one.

 We might set a goal and go after it because it’s the one we’ve always wanted, even though it may not be something we still want or care about.

The first money goal I set in my business was not my idea. It was not a number I came up with that I wanted for any personal reason other than I thought it was just what people did.

It isn’t based on something I value, or that is important to me. I’ve done many things in my life, aspired to a lot of things based on some version of this is what people do.

If the weight or health goal is based on one of these reasons, it’s worth re-evaluating. No matter what, we want to love our reasons for working hard to get somewhere. 

So ask yourself: 

  • What drove you to create or choose the goal you currently have?
  • What is your reason for wanting to get there? 
  • Do you love that reason? 

That’s all you need to know.

Goal fear

One phenomenon I’ve seen in my clients is that they’re actually scared of getting to their goals. 

On the one hand, they’re excited to experience freedom around food, but on the other hand, they’re afraid of getting there or of who they’ll be when they are there for good.

For example, maybe you think about being at your goal weight, and all you can think about is how it won’t last. You have some belief and some excitement about getting there, but you have zero belief or excitement about being able to stay there.

When we are thinking “I won’t be able to keep this up,” or “I won’t be able to stay there,” or even, “I don’t know if I want to,” there’s probably a “What’s the point?” hanging out in there too.

You have both the desire to get away from where you are  and a fear of failing when you get there.

That’s going to be a hard sell.

Examining future you

Or maybe you think of future you, and as one of my clients put it, “She seems insufferable.” You don’t like people who are like that. People who say no to dessert, or sit and don’t eat at a party because they aren’t hungry, or don’t drink when everyone else is.

If you don’t actually like future you, it’s going to be really difficult to do what is required of you now to become her.

There also may be some fear about what it will be like to no longer use food as a buffer between you and emotion. On the other hand, you may be thinking that once you get there, there’s no turning back, no more hiding behind overeating or procrastination of your goals.

It may feel a little scary, a bit vulnerable, naked, raw, or exposed.

If any of this is happening for you behind the scenes in your brain, you’re most likely seeing some self-sabotage happening on your journey.

Removing the obstacle of doubt

If we are afraid to arrive at our goal and stay there, if we don’t love the version of our future selves we are working to become, if we’re worried about what life will look like without being able to comfort ourselves with food, then we are probably doing whatever it takes to stay right where we are — safe in the familiar discomfort of right now.

All of this makes perfect sense. You have never been where you are going. You imagine the unknown, the seemingly impossible. You conceptualize a human who doesn’t exist with skills you don’t have yet but are working to develop.

There’s going to be some doubt. There are going to be some worries. There is going to be some discomfort. 

It doesn’t need to be the obstacle that keeps you from moving forward.

If you are both excited about getting there and worried about staying there, that’s okay. You likely have a bunch of evidence from the past stockpiled as proof that you can’t maintain your weight.

Just because you haven’t doesn’t mean you can’t. 

Creating new evidence

Your brain just wants to warn you, to prevent you from being blindsided. It wants you to be prepared as much as possible for whatever you might be walking into.

Thank your brain for its concern for you, for trying to protect you, and just let it know you’ve got this. 

You are in the process of creating new evidence — evidence of what is possible for you, evidence of what you are capable of, evidence that you can make fundamental changes, that you can learn how to take care of yourself in a different way.

Examine your judgment

If you think future you sounds like a nightmare you wouldn’t want to be in the same room with, it’s probably time to look at where this judgment is coming from.

There absolutely might be people in your life who are insufferable, but you don’t necessarily need to become one, even if you and that person see the same number on the scale. 

Can you conceive of someone who is at your goal and that you would want to hang out with?

Could you be a person who feels confident and loves herself but is really lovely to be around? 

Is it possible to be a person who doesn’t eat when she isn’t hungry, even if everyone else is, and you can be proud and content with that, rather than embarrassed and annoyed?

If you have the “I don’t want to be that girl” happening for you, it’s important that you ask why not? 

Why is the way she is and what she does a problem for you? 

That will be important information for you in forming this picture of the future you that you actually want to become.

You may have some current judgments of that girl based on some older outdated beliefs. You may disdain her based on jealousy, envy, or even injustice that you are carrying around from the past.

So, inquire about this if it’s coming up for you. 

The false safety of buffering

If you’re worried about living a life without all the buffering and hiding that you currently do, that’s because you don’t know how to live that life yet.

The ability to numb emotions with food, escape discomfort with food or feel joy with food, that’s what we currently know. That’s all we currently know.

Right now, it feels like safety.

But it isn’t actually keeping us safe.

I would argue that, in reality, safety is a willingness and capacity to allow and tolerate discomfort and know you’ll be okay. Safety is not viewing it as a problem to be solved or a threat to our wellbeing but a message to look into and learn from.

That’s a skill we are or want to be working to cultivate and build in the process of weight loss. 

Change leads to results

It isn’t that we’re going to get to our goal and all of a sudden no longer have food as an escape hatch. We aren’t going to arrive at our destination and have to give up the crutch of food.

We will arrive at our goal because we have learned to deal with life and our emotions differently. 

The fuel of excitement

We have chosen to question and then lean into the belief that food isn’t a real solution or an answer, that all we need is within us, and that we can navigate life and food on our terms.

So really think about how you feel when you think about your goal. You don’t have to feel 100% certain or amazing about it right now. It’s okay if there are some doubts present. But what you want to tune into is what stands out, what rises to the top?

It needs to be excitement with just a small side of doubt or anticipation and joy with just a drop of hesitation. 

In other words, the primary fuel driving you to your goal needs to feel good and make you want to move forward. Because if fear of failure is driving this bus, if disdain of future you is in the fuel tank, there will be more detours and U-turns than forward progress.

Imagining the unknown and the seemingly impossible can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be an obstacle to keep you from moving forward.

And if you want to learn more from me about how to lose weight for the last time, watch my free video about how to lose the first five pounds — and keep going.

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Natalie brown certified life and weight loss coach

Meet Natalie

I spent over 2 decades battling my weight and hating my body, before I found a solution that worked FOR GOOD. I lost 50 pounds by changing not just what I eat, but WHY. Now I help other women like me get to the root of the issue and find their own realistic, permanent weight loss success. Change is possible and you can do it. I can help you.

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