Why Fear Keeps Us Stuck & How to Get Unstuck

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

One of the biggest barriers preventing us to making important life decisions is the fear of change. Why do we get stuck in the fear cycle and how to break from it? How to overcome inaction and make the next step?

Fear of change is like standing under a hot shower and knowing the moment you’ll turn it off, you’ll be freezing cold. Erik Tanghe

In my previous post How to Make Important Life Decisions I talked about strategies for getting unstuck and evaluating your options when it comes to such big life decisions as whether to get divorced or not, whether or not to have a child, quit your job to go back to school or pursue another career.

In this post I will talk about the biggest barrier to making important life decisions – the fear of change.

Something needs to change written on a book cover
Fear of change is the biggest barrier preventing us from life change

Why do we get stuck when want to change our life?

Let’s say you have been discontented with the situation for some time. You’ve developed your strategies of dealing with it, until one day you reach a breaking point. The point where you cannot deal with it anymore and the desire to change becomes very strong. Such breaking point could be triggered by a dramatic life event or an exhaustion.

You’ve reached your bottom and decided to change the situation you are in. This decision fills you with a short-lived sense of hope until the fear creeps in. The fear leads you to doubt your decision and now both options – to change and to remain in the status quo, seem equally helpless and bleak. You feel helpless and empty.

Over time, you are entering the amnesia phase. The fear grows, and your original situation begins to seem better, reducing your anxiety. You are beginning to wonder why you wanted to change in the first place?

Thinking more about it, you are beginning to backtrack talking yourself out of changing. After some time, you are starting to feel unhappy and discontented again until you reach your next breaking point. And a new fear cycle begins.