Is Fear of Failure Holding you Back?

If yes, below are 5 tips on how to try again.

Have you ever given up on weight loss plans because they either left you too hungry, didn’t make you lose weight, or, worst case scenario: made you gain weight?
Like with my experience using something similar to the starch solution in 1978, but that’s a story for another day.

Such setbacks are so disappointing that we can end up fearing the process of trying again.
It took me weeks before I got going with a new weight loss plan.
I kept having this nagging question of ‘will it work this time…or will I fail yet again’?

Have you heard of atychiphobia?

Cleveland Clinic defines it as “That is an intense fear of failure. It may cause us to put off or avoid any activity or scenario that has the potential for an unsuccessful outcome.”
Did I suffer from that when I was young? Don’t know, but it sure took me a while to get back ‘on the bus’ as they say.

After failing, other people are often more determined than ever to succeed.
And that’s impressive.

But what if you are like I was? What if you are reluctant to get started again…just to avoid failing.

If that’s you, here are 5 tips for you:

1) Do a bit of detective work and pinpoint what went wrong last time.
Were you constantly hungry?
Then your next plan should be one that isn’t as low in calories, even if it takes you a little longer to reach your goal. It will be so much easier to stick with it if you’re not constantly thinking of food and trying not to eat.

Make sure you have helpful healthy snacks available because that’s where most people seem to lose their way when they are hungry.

Or was your plan too complicated and many foods were to be avoided? Already as vegans, we are limiting our food choices when compared to most people.

But if there are additional restrictions then finding ingredients could get difficult. Plus it might become awkward to join friends or family for a meal because there’s nothing you can eat. Such plans are just not realistic. They make us miserable and we usually give up after such get-togethers because we think we failed. The guilt trip that follows isn’t much fun either.

It should always be easy to have the occasional meal out without fretting, no matter if you are on a weight loss journey or not.
Just be mindful not to overdo the portion sizes and make some helpful choices. Ask yourself: do I really need garlic bread with the soup and that second glass of wine?

2) Acknowledge that there is no perfect meal plan that suits us all.
Each one of us responds to food in our own unique way. If you tried something that didn’t work out in the past, look at it as a learning curve. Not as a failure. It was a lesson and now you know that next time you need a different way of eating.

3) Redefine what failure means to you.
Perhaps you were too hungry on the previous plan and on occasions you ate more food than you had ‘budgeted’ for. That’s not necessarily a failure other than not realising that you needed extras to avoid crazy hunger.

If the eating plan leaves you wanting, it’s simple to add a vegetable soup, perhaps a salad, maybe a protein shake etc. and all will be well. Way better than letting hunger go on for too long and buying chips or some juvenile colourful junk food because you were too hungry to make a more helpful choice.

👉 Get to know your body. Note down which meals keep you full and which make you hungry after only a couple of hours.
Understand that eating slightly more than a plan puts forward is actually totally acceptable.

Remember that the creator of the plan did not know your exact energy needs or hunger levels. Therefore adjust it until you are comfortable with it.

4) Set yourself up for success.
If you know that in the late afternoons you usually get so hungry that you’re ready to eat the entire contents of a fridge, be prepared.  Have helpful snacks on hand and you’ll be able to make it until dinner without falling off the wagon entirely.

And when you go shopping for groceries, don’t leave home on an empty stomach.
It’s quite amazing what foods ‘jump’ into one’s trolley when you shop in a fasted state.


5) Plan a Series of Milestone Rewards
The benefit of losing excess weight is a reward in itself. But we can also use our brain’s reward system to boost our motivation even further.

Don’t save all celebrations for when you finally reach the summit. Acknowledging smaller victories tells our brains we are on the right track and it helps us keep working towards more milestones.
And they don’t have to be ‘pounds lost’ type victories.

  • Maybe you fitted into those old jeans again.
  • Or you only ate helpful snacks the whole week.
  • Or you noticed better sleep quality.
  • Or you lifted a heavier weight at the gym.
  • Or were able to run longer without feeling puffed out.

All these should be celebrated and rewarded. But not with food.

Choose incentives that bring you joy and you’ll soon realise that food isn’t the only thing that can have the label of a ‘treat’. 😍




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