If things aren’t changing for you, it’s because they don’t have to.
Change only comes about when something has to happen.
If you smoke, and the doctor tells you if you keep smoking you only have a few months to live, you’ll crush those remaining cigarettes in your hand and throw them in the trash (if your health means something to you).
We’re driven by our greatest fears, or our ‘have tos’, as I call them. They are dictating what, where, when, and how you’re doing things.
If you’re more scared of your boss than you are of not paying the bills, you won’t go to work. But if not going to work means you’ll become homeless and won’t be able to feed your family, you’ll go to work.
There is a power behind your have tos, and you can use it to make significant changes in your life, like overcoming anxiety.
I activate my have tos by following these three steps:
1. Decide why
If you don’t have a good enough reason ‘why?’ you simply won’t do it. That’s why the first step is to understand why you’re doing it. What is the reason for the change? Your family, your health, your happiness?
2. Clear the path
If one of your goals is to break the pattern of anxiety and depression, but somebody is tucking you into bed when you don’t want to get out of it, nothing will change. You don’t have to get out of bed, so you won’t. Willpower is overrated so don’t depend on it. Depend on your ‘have to’ mentality instead.
3. Limit your options
Getting into a ‘have to’ mentality requires focus, and having too many options on the table will seriously affect your focus. It will take you to the ‘maybe middle ground’, and that’s not where you want to be. Get laser-like focused on what it is you want, and stick to that. Are things guaranteed to go right if you do that? Of course not. But that doesn’t matter, as long as you’re going in the direction you want.
By taking these three steps, you’ll put yourself in the very best place to get things done and take action. That’s when you know things are really changing.
Make ‘have to’ your mantra.
There is little point going into a social situation with a long list of things that are going to make you more confident.
Focus on one or two, because that really is all you need.
Here are three. Take your pick, but if you pick any one of them, I would go for the last one. It really is the key to dealing with social anxiety.
1. Ask questions
In any conversation, the person asking the questions is the one in control. This is a great way to build your confidence, so get practising asking questions.
2. Everybody is human
When you get socially anxious, it’s easy to focus on yourself, but if you’re feeling nervous it’s highly likely other people are too.
3. Don’t care
Everybody gets judged. They do it - you do it - everybody does it. It’s time to accept this fact and not care so much about what other people think.
The worst time of my life was waking up in the morning without any direction.
An instant feeling of dread would hit me, and because I had no focus, the horrible feeling continued throughout the day.
It was only when I set clear goals (and took action on those goals) that things began to change.
My goals gave my life meaning and purpose.
Instead of anxiety being my focus, my goals were my focus.
Anxiety naturally came as part of the package, but with a BIG difference – it wasn’t my sole focus. It did its job properly, rather than dominate my life.
Without purpose, anxiety will hit you hard by feeding off your lack of direction.
Your mind becomes a breeding ground for anxious thoughts, and when you have nothing to focus on or strive for, anxiety quickly takes over.
You need to know where you’re heading in life; otherwise, you risk being taken over by high anxiety.
You wouldn’t get in a car without a destination in mind, so don’t do the same thing with your life.
Know where you’re heading by setting clear goals. Or, at the very least, have a good idea what your day looks like when you get out of bed.
Start finding your purpose by setting clear goals today, and you will wake up with a very different frame of mind.
I always compare panic attacks to bullies.
What does a bully thrive on? Attention, right?
Without attention, a bully doesn’t have anything to work with.
There is no fuel to stoke the fire.
When you start dealing with panic attacks in the same way, they will move on.
If you stop giving panic attacks the attention they crave, there won’t be anything fuelling their behaviour.
It’s up to you how long a panic attack lasts, or whether it begins at all.
Remember – it’s you that holds the power.
The best way to connect with Carl and join the discussion is on his Facebook page