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Why do we find it so hard to ask for help?

Over the next few weeks we'll look at how to ensure that the people around you can become part of your change making arsenal. We’ll look at the roles they can play such as supporting you, accompanying you on new endeavours, as a competitive spirit or sometimes as a brake if you become too fixated on any particular goal. We’ll show you how to be specific about what you need so your loved ones really understand how to help. We’ll discuss how your own expectations of your journey may change along the way, how to manage this within your support group and how to seek out wider groups of helpers to speed you to your goal.

When asking others to help, one major stumbling block is a fear of failure and, even more so, the fear of being publicly embarrassed if we don’t succeed at our new habit change. If you’re reading this blog you probably have some big health related changes to make and there’s a good chance that you have already tried and failed in the past. This fear of publicly failing may make you want to try on your own before you enlist the help of others but it would be a huge mistake.

In the book Feel the Fear (and do it anyway) by Dr Susan Jeffers, she discusses how this fear prevents us from taking action. Here are some of the reasons she gives for continuing with your desired action or change, regardless of your fear.

  1. “Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the bigger underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.” In this, she means that our inaction causes more anxiety than any other action we may take to change our situation. This is especially true if your desired change is related to serious health conditions and your quality of life can be greatly improved by succeeding at your goals.

  2. “The fear will never go away as long as you continue to grow.” We are all constantly growing and changing so we will always experience fear about the unknown. If we wait until we are no longer afraid we will never take action and we will increase those feelings of helplessness.

Before we ask other people to help us we must accept that there will be some public failure, that the journey won’t be smooth and that this fear of failure may not ever go away. If we ask someone for help and we don’t live up to their expectations, they may be disappointed and they may even feel less inclined to help a second time. This does not matter; remember that your health is more important than their opinion. When we leverage the help of other people we’re making a public admission that we can’t do it alone. Rather than feeling embarrassed about this, admit it loud and clear and be prepared to keep asking even when you fail.

Over the next few weeks we'll look at different ways other people can act as a spur for our good intentions. We'll then lay out a gameplan for best galvanising those around us into action.

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