We've heard often that fear of failure is why many plans--business, lifestyle, wellness, personal relationships--fall through. Fear of failure is a significant problem. But fear of failure is not always what lies at the heart of disappointment and lack of results. The more deeply hidden hurdle is actually fear of success.

Is fear of success holding you back from the self-fulfillment and happiness? If you've been caught in a cycle of small gains but no real progress toward your goals, fear of success may be the underlying cause. To finally begin to get what you want, you must first make peace with--even embrace--the fear of success.

1) Be a persistent detective.
Imagine if you could look into the future. What are the possible ramifications or costs of meeting your goals?

Ramifications? Costs? Indeed, if you look closely, you'll see that in the face of paralyzing fear, even good outcomes have a downside. Fears can be so real that just the possibility can stop a person from making a lasting commitment to a goal. For example,

Goal: to lose weight
Underlying fears of success: attracting more attention, vulnerability, the need to buy new clothes...

Goal: to get a promotion
Underlying fears of success: jealous coworkers, loss of coworker friendships, unbearable growth in responsibilities...

Logically, we know those devastating outcomes are unlikely. Even the likely ones are probably not catastrophic. Yet we shouldn't ignore such fears because they can stop you in your tracks. Worse, they can keep you in a state of perpetual denial, self-sabotage, and frustration--where you're always dreaming but not achieving.

Note: Recognizing your underlying fears is not easy to do yourself. You might ask a trusted support person to guide you in seeing what your real obstacles are.

2) Be a possibility expert.
Once you've identified your fears--and lessened their grip on you--visualize the payoff of reaching your goal. Imagine the rewards, the good work that you're sharing with others, and the fun that may be awaiting you.

It's important to do this early on. There will be times when your goals seem impossibly far away. In fact, they may be just around the corner. As a mentor often tells us, "Don't quit before the miracle." Maintain your motivation to succeed by always refocusing on the positive outcomes.

Goal: to lose weight
Success motivator: How fabulous will I feel in those new clothes after I've dropped the weight? How will my energy soar? Imagine having less pain and pressure on my back and knees....

Goal: to get a promotion
Success motivator: How empowering will it feel to have a checkmark next to all my tasks, to move up the career ladder rung by rung, to have pride in my achievements? Imagine moving ahead fearlessly...

3) Prepare for liftoff.
Now that you have begun to reframe your approach, look ahead to how you will continue of the journey to success. What is your vision? Does it reflect balance, self-compassion, and vitality?

Ask yourself what comes next. What steps will move you forward and let you reclaim your right to happy, fulfilling relationships, work, and life? Plot them out. One way to manage your action plan is, when you hit a bump in the road, to say "This is a test." Even when we give our best along the way, we sometimes discover that we need a course correction. Don't lose hope; just choose a new action--knowing that this time, it just may be the right one.

Look at your journey without absolutes. Abandon the notion of one perfect, black and white plan. Allow flexibility in your thinking. Now is the time to set priorities and delegate the excess on your plate. Commit to small achievable goals. Enlist support: Try to think of yourself as part of a larger success team.

Can you taste and feel that you're on your way? You deserve to succeed despite those gremlins that derailed you in the past. Have faith in yourself. You can tackle whatever comes your way if you stay balanced and in control.

Author's Bio: 

Roberta Roberts Mittman, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., M.S., is a nutritional and lifestyle consultant, holistic mindset mentor, and nationally board-certified acupuncturist. Using natural, drug-free techniques, Roberta opens the door to complete mind-body health. Roberta's goal is not only to relieve patients' illness and discomfort, but to help them set realistic goals for physical and mental preventative care and overall wellness. Roberta believes in empowering individuals to be their own best healers.