Cover Photo for Is fear keeping you from taking your next step?

Journal prompts to disarm fear and help you take the next step

By Julia Wiklander

Far too often fear may hold us back from reaching our goals. That’s why we need to pinpoint fear and the underlying stories it tells us. This post is meant to help you disarm fear with journal prompts and new affirmations.

In her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert writes,

You fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into the realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome. Your fear—programmed by evolution to be hypervigilant and insanely overprotective—will always assume that any uncertain outcome will always end in a bloody, horrible death. Basically, your fear is like a mall cop who thinks he’s a Navy SEAL. He hasn’t slept in days, he’s all hopped up on Red Bull, and he’s liable to shoot at his own shadow in an absurd effort to keep everyone “safe.”

– Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

What’s your next step?

What’s the goal you’re working towards? Is it building a business, learning a new skill, prioritizing more time for self care or reaching a new income level?

Whatever your goal is, take a second to think about what your next step would be.

Is there anything holding you back from taking the next step? Are you procrastinating on getting started with something? Are you avoiding doing a certain task?

More often than not, the obstacles that hold us back stem from an underlying fear. Maybe you’re afraid of judgement, failure, or maybe even success.

Often these fears can be uncovered if we think about the worst possible scenario.

These journal prompts will help you disarm fear.

In your journal, answer these questions:

  1. What is the worst thing that can happen if you take the next step?
  2. What is the worst thing that would happen if you reach your goal?

Would people judge you? Perhaps you’d be made a fool. Would you be unhappy? Would you risk something else in your life? Do you feel like you need approval from somebody?

Now, ask yourself the following questions for each scenario above.

  • Is this true?
  • If not, what is the story I’m telling myself? What fear is lurking behind that story?
  • If the worst thing that could happen is true (i.e. the fear is justified) are you still willing to take the next step? Should you prioritize differently? Is your goal in alignment with how you want to live your life?

Take the time to really specify your fears. Write them down. Say them out loud. Disarm them.

You’re going to have to live with fear, but fear should not keep tripping you up and limiting your development.

Listen to your authentic voice.

Fear has the capacity to hijack your brain and limit your ability to hear your authentic voice.

In this long and hilariously real article, Tim Urban introduces your Social Survival Mammoth. He writes about how you can tame your Mammoth and better hear your authentic voice. I highly recommend this read.

Use affirmations to manage fear.

Once you’ve identified your fear and the story behind it, ask yourself this final question:

What do I want to tell myself instead?

Write down the new story that you want to tell yourself. One way of taming your fear is to remind yourself of this new, authentic, story – out loud – every day.

By affirming this new story every day you will begin to make the fear smaller in your mind, and find more courage to take your next step.

Here are a few examples of affirmations that I use in my daily life:

  • It’s safe for me to be myself completely!
  • I create change.
  • It’s safe for me to dream big and take baby steps towards my goals.
  • I am ready to take the next step!

What will your new affirmation be? Share it in the comments section below!

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Julia Wiklander

Julia Wiklander

I’m the co-founder of Grow & Redefine and founder of Girls’ Globe, a social entrepreneur and risk-taker open to growing and redefining what our lives can be.
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