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5 Steps to Overcome Fear and Meet Your Goals

Standing on a Bridge

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” ~Nelson Mandela

The world can be a scary place.

As we go through our daily lives, we face many challenges, and often these challenges can bring about fear. We may fear the loss of something, or perhaps the lack of fulfillment. We may experience fear when going on a job interview or a first date.

The greatest challenge with fear is that it can hold us back from achieving our goals, but it doesn’t have to.

Over the past six months I have let one fear hold me back from achieving the one thing I feel I wholly deserve. I’ve had a fear of not meeting my soul mate.

After being single for nearly six years, I felt a sense of loneliness and a desire to build a relationship with someone.

I turned to online dating last fall, a method I tried for over eight months. I was able to meet many people and enjoyed dinners and walks with potential mates, but nothing ever developed past two dates with the same individual.

After many dates that didn’t lead to anything long-term, I felt deeper fear, sadness, and a loss of hope.

I came to realize that my desire to meet the person I would potentially spend my life with had manifested into a fear that drove away any hope of building something real and lasting.

Dating began to feel like a chore and it became unenjoyable. For love to happen, I had to overcome my fear and enjoy the time I spent meeting new people.

I believe in the power of intention. But in setting forth an agenda, we must learn to let go and have faith. Things may not happen when we want them to, but often a delay is the result of greater things at work.

Wayne W. Dyer wrote in The Power of Intention that, “if we focus on what’s ugly, we attract more ugliness into our thoughts, and then into our emotions, and ultimately into our lives.”

Intention is related to fear because if we can trust our own intentions and allow our minds to focus on the potential positive outcomes, we will face less fear in most situations.

It’s easy to let fear play a part in our daily lives. I’ve had many opportunities to face my fears lately, but I knew little about overcoming them. Alas, I learned several key facts that have broken down my fears and allowed me to focus on achieving my goals.

These 5 techniques will help you overcome fear in your daily life:

1. Start small.

Fear comes in many shapes and sizes. Facing it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture.

My fear of living life alone created immense challenges. “I’m going to grow old alone,” I once said. Deep down, I knew this wasn’t true, but my mind had saturated into a restricting fear around the worst-case scenario.

I broke down my anxiety into smaller, more manageable pieces. Instead of wondering how I could meet my soul mate, I thought about how I could make new friends instead. By focusing on meeting new people, I have increased my odds of reaching my goal without the anxiety and pressure of finding “the one.”

Instead of focusing on the end result, I can now focus on more manageable goals.

No matter how large or small your fears may seem, scaling down to a more manageable size will be beneficial. Slowly step out of your comfort zone and begin moving towards your goal.

2. Have faith.

While achieving your goal may not happen on your preferred timetable, it is important to have faith that time will bring success. Trusting that achievement is not only possible, but probable will help soften your fears.

Think back to an event in your life that may have seemed bad at the time, but allowed for certain circumstances to occur that brought about a greater and more wonderful event. That’s proof that the world is not against us, but is indeed working with us.

3. Write it down.

Making a list of your fears is a great way to work through them.

Writing in a journal has been very helpful for me to overcome my fear of not meeting my soul mate. I have written about particular dates I went on and how the meetings made me feel.

I’ve found it useful to write down a fear and then describe on paper why I feel I have it. This task has been essential in helping me chart my progress and list what I have learned in the past.

Writing has allowed me to accept that things are evolving, even if they don’t seem that way—which brings me to the next important technique for overcoming fear: acceptance.

4. Accept what develops (or doesn’t).

When I was using an online dating service, every first date felt like a blind date. Profiles only went so far in explaining other individuals’ personalities. I had to accept the fact that the first date might not lead to a second and that he might not be “the one.”

I had to accept that I couldn’t force a relationship, nor could I force the timing of true love.

The Dalai Lama once said, “If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.”

5. Let go.

Letting go can be one of the greatest challenges to overcoming fear. At times, we hold on to something because we feel it empowers us; however, holding on only weakens us.

Once we have accepted what may or may not develop, we need to detach ourselves from the outcome. Letting go of our fears allows us to focus more on the present moment and less on the fear itself.

After following these techniques, I no longer have a fear of spending my life alone, because I know and trust that there are great things ahead. Now I can enjoy meeting new people and going on dates without fear.

Photo by Geraint Rowland

Avatar of Ash Blankenship

About Ash Blankenship

Ash Blankenship is a writer based in Washington, D.C. He’s written for the Urban Times and posts frequently at Medium.com. You can follow Ash on Twitter at @ashblankenship.

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  • Sharon R

    I, too, was a single warrior for 5 years. And, when I mean single…imagine tumbleweeds rolling down a dusty, abandoned town…that’s how single I was. No trial dates, no online dating, just school, single parenting, and work. I lived my life in black & white while everything surrounding me was in neon colors. That fear you so eloquently described was etched in everything I did, reminding me everyday that by the time love would find me, you’d be able to play tic-tac-toe on my prominently carved crow’s feet. (I would’ve just started collecting cats to fit the “crazy cat lady” label befitting me later on, but my kid’s allergic to animals). There was one thing I did do right and that’s your #2. I had/have FAITH. I made a playlist of uplifting songs that would get replayed over and over again if I ever felt down and depressed about my solo situation. Cheesy songs like, “I Knew You Were Waiting” by Aretha Franklin and George Michael had serious meaning for me. It talked about still believing when everything looked bleak and I grasped on to that and offered it as a prayer to the universe. Sure enough, someone out there heard me…and replied! I’m not sure if he’s the “one”, but just as you wrote on #5. I LET GO of what the outcome will be and just focus on the present.
    Thank you for sharing your story and your wisdom. I was touched by your sensitivity and honesty. I hope you enjoy your journey and find love wherever you go!

  • mahavir

    if something for betterment of humanity then why this cost is there if any body get benefit from this that is the real cost for any human being as i think so

  • WD

    After my last long term relationship ended, I too, as expected, had the same fears. I imagined at times that what makes my fear ‘real’ and ‘powerful’ was the fact that I live and work around the globe, thus minimizing my chances to share this life with someone who would be up for this kind of lifestyle, without living it through me, but rather as a part of his own story. I am also very much attracted to people of cultural and linguistic backgrounds different from mine, which complicates the already existing contextual factors of any bi-national, same-sex couple. Of course, such relationships can be amazingly beautiful, yet extremely challenging – hence a ‘proof’ that my fears about not finding my ‘soul mate’ may be justified. Luckily, my positive emotional anchors appear stronger on most days, reminding me that the universe does send people my way, and just like you, I had to learn to start small, have faith, let go of the attachment to the outcome and simply accept what may or may not develop at any given time, in any given place. I find it that on the days when I am the most in my true element, the most interesting events happen or people come into my life, as if the universe is saying ‘you are on the right path’, and so I smile and thank the universe for the gifts. I am at peace knowing that what is meant to come will come at the right time, and in a mean time, I will enjoy my journey as holistically as I can. And I will continue to dream. And perhaps, as the saying goes, love finds way when we live with the patience of a butterfly.

  • growthguided

    Great post Ash,

    thanks for taking the time to put these ideas down for us!

  • Ravi

    Many thanks Ash for sharing the ideas.
    Yes it is indeed true that we need not worry about things we can change or things we cannot change.

  • Miss MJ

    Our parents play a great role in what we fear. We watch how they react to certain things, people, we even carry their torch of prejudices for them as their children. We have to exercise our own rights to fear and find our own ways to release that fear. We are carriers as human beings and we are good at carrying the weight (read: fears) of others. This was a wonderful article. It was very insightful.

  • yesica

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    In pain, in this experience to the surface of our own inability, we see
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  • Moukthika

    Hi I’m a teenager n student I have every thning sufficient but my carreir I want to do something n my father is against that he wants to study what he wants n its true that what my father want me to become is good it has many job oppurtunities n its one of the highly paid jobs but I don’t like that I don’t want to be that if I say that he never agrees he says its good for u do this he has even joined me into that.but I don’t like.it n my mind doesn’t accept to do dat wat to dooo???

  • Amadou

    The fear not being able to give up internet friendship especially unknown ones. The fear of getting ready on the eve of my day at work. The fear of not being to complete my driving lisence.
    The fear if living in a country where I can’t speak the language. The fear of hating to smoke whilst I continue smoking . Fear of being a greased or spoken to badly. The fear of falling asleep. The fear of spots not painful on my private parts etc etc etc. Any help please?