Fear of success is often the hidden factor blocking your attempts at improving yourself in some way or another. I'll focus on weight loss in this article, but the principles apply to any goal that you wish to achieve.

Many people tend to bracket the fear of success with the fear of failure, which I think is wrong.

Fear of failure is a conscious fear, that stops you from attempting something because you fear the consequences of failing and failure itself.

Whereas the fear of success is very much a subconscious fear of the changes that will occur with success. This type of fear is much harder to spot and until you do, you may find yourself under-achieving.

So how do you identify and overcome fear of success?


Let's deal with identifying first (horse before cart and all that!). The one major question you need to ask yourself is "What will happen if I achieve success?". Write down thorough answers for your goals and how it'll affect all areas of your life.

This requires some rational thought that focuses on the reality of the situation. In other words, what is the most probable outcome of success and what will it change in your life?

It might take you a while to get some real answers, beyond those of your initial thoughts. But this will be time well spent because once you have those answers, it becomes much easier to move on.

Written down all the consequences of success? There will most probably be positives and negatives. Now it's time to focus on overcoming that fear of success.


Look at all the negatives, and see if they are rational beliefs or irrational. An irrational belief usually occurs from a negative self-view. This can be over-turned with positive self-talk.

Once you have filtered out the irrational negatives, you're left with the rational negatives i.e. the realistic outcomes of success that are negative. For example, after losing weight you may feel more pressured to remain at that weight, people may show more interest in you (a positive for some), other people might not like the "new you".

The only way to tackle these negatives is head on. You need to face up to them NOW and accept them as a part of your success. No success is all good with no bad. The sooner you accept there may be negatives, the quicker you can deal with them and get beyond your fear of success.

Once you've consciously identified the rational negatives, it's time to really focus on all the positives. For weight loss this could be the new body you've always wanted, the pain-free joints, healthier heart and so on.

The positives far out-weigh the negatives, and that is what you will need to reinforce to yourself everyday.


A technique that is widely used is positive self-talk in the mirror. This is something I've used in the past with my sport, and now use for my business. I admit, at first it does feel strange talking to yourself out loud in the mirror.

Make some private time and space for when you do, and it will become a more natural process. Just like the negative talk can lead to negative outcomes, continually reinforcing positive talk will lead to positive outcomes.

If you feel like you can't overcome your fear of success through self help, then it's a good idea to see a cognitive behavioural therapist. They have techniques to tap into your subconscious thoughts so that you can begin to overcome your fear.

Ultimately though, it's down to you to make that commitment to succeed. Once you overcome your fear of success, you'll be more motivated to exercise and eat well, than ever before.

That combination of motivation and self-belief will carry you through to reaching your weight loss goals and beyond.

Author's Bio: 

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Asad Tufail is author and creator of Better4Fitness.com - Exercise Fitness Advice dedicated to helping you be happy and healthy. Find exercise, diet and equipment tips. With added focus on pilates, swimming and physiotherapy advice. If you aren't 100% happy with your body, help yourself and visit Better4Fitness today.

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