How to Use ‘Fear Setting’ to Take Action and Achieve Your Goals

Most of us actually know the steps we need to take to achieve the things we want in life. In fact, in 90% of cases they’re very simple steps. Want to get into shape? Then work out. Want to earn money online? Start writing that blog. Want a new job? Apply.

The problem then is in convincing ourselves to actually take action and to start making those things happen. This is where too many of us fall down and the thing that’s holding us back is fear.

Fear is actually what prevents us from doing lots of things we want to do and it takes many forms: fear of failure, fear of losing our money, fear of change… But in the vast majority of cases that fear is not actually valid and if we challenge our fearful beliefs we’ll find they are founded on nothing.

This is where ‘fear setting’ comes in.

What Is ‘Fear Setting’?

You’ve heard of goal setting but fear setting is different. Suggested by Tim Ferriss in the book The Four Hour Workweek, fear setting essentially means that you’re going to take the things that you’re afraid of and then write them down, define them and quantify them.

So say you’re afraid of changing jobs because you think you’ll end up with no income, you would write this down as a fear. Perhaps you’re scared that a lack of income will result in your partner leaving you? Write it down. Perhaps you think you wouldn’t be able to get your old job back? Write it down.

Now what you’re going to do though, is to rate how likely each of these fears really is and to write down preventative measures and contingency plans.

For instance, you might be afraid you won’t be able to find more work, but to mitigate that risk you could simply start applying to other positions before you hand in your notice. Likewise you might have the backup plan of living off of your savings for a year. How likely is it that you wouldn’t be able to find any job for a whole year? Even if it is just working in a supermarket to make ends bit? And would your partner really leave you? Wouldn’t she be able to support you anyway? Couldn’t your parents help in an absolutely dire situation?

As you will see quickly, there are hundreds of reasons that most of our fears really aren’t valid and once you start analyzing them this way they quickly start to lose their impact. This is essentially the same as a technique used in CBT called ‘thought challenging’ and it’s one of the quickest ways to immediately challenge your limiting beliefs and to start succeeding. Give it a go!

Keith Hillman

Keith Hillman is a full time writer specializing in psychology as well as the broader health niche. He has a BSc degree in psychology from Surrey University, where he particularly focused on neuroscience and biological psychology. Since then, he has written countless articles on a range of topics within psychology for numerous of magazines and websites. He continues to be an avid reader of the latest studies and books on the subject, as well as self-development literature.