OK so….how do you do with New Year resolutions? 

I gave up on them a long time ago. Well actually I didn’t give up, I just kind of adjusted them to resolutions at any moment in time when I had the sudden motivation to get serious about something that needed to get done. 

When thinking about change, it’s really easy to get caught up in all the reasons why it’s not the best course of action. Let’s see, do you seem to have thoughts about all of the below:

It’s too difficult because…

It’s too risky because…

It’s impossible because…

If only…..then…..

I can’t….

I shouldn’t….

It will never….

You see where I’m going with this.

Don’t be hard on yourself if you recognise yourself here. This comes up often in coaching, without even realising what they are saying, clients will say sentences that sound very similar to any and all of the above. This is how coaching can be a significant catalyst for change, because there is someone there who is listening, really listening to what you are saying, that will help you to explore the level of truth in what you’re saying and support and respectfully challenge you to think more broadly and explore any fears that may be driving the thoughts that are preventing you from taking meaningful action around the change that could otherwise be possible for you.


One exercise I do with my clients is The Fear Inventory (credit: Mel Johnson, The Stork and I).

It’s simple and effective, and if you are feeling stuck and looking to do something about it, you can start right here with this exercise.


Step 1

Write down all the fears you have about making a change to your current situation. This could be about your current job / career, it could be about career change or a particular situation you are in.

Here are some examples:

I am worried about how I will pay the mortgage if I quit my job.

I’m scared I will let down the people around me if I leave a career they recognise and value.

What if it doesn’t work out?

I don’t know what I would do.

I fear I will make the wrong decision. 



Be honest with yourself, take some quiet time to reflect and don’t use any filter or downplay any fears, take them as they come and list them all down. Take stock of the whole inventory of your fears, worries and uncertainties. 


Step 2

One by one, work through each fear and pick one of the below options for each one:

Abandon – choose to let go of this fear / thought entirely 

e.g. What if it doesn’t work out? → This is unhelpful and holding me back, I want to let go of this fear and recognise that it is up to me to work out what it means for me to feel more secure in any change I decide to make, and how to achieve that 

Alternative – rephrase / reframe the fear 

e.g. I fear I will make the wrong decision → I will make a change when I get to a point to be able to make the decision with confidence and conviction

Action – take action on the fear

e.g. I am worried about how I will pay the mortgage if I quit my job → I need to have £x amount in savings if I am to quit / I need to have a conversation with my partner to understand if this is something that they can support me through financially / I need to have a base level salary of £x for any alternative career option if I am to quit


How did it go?


Reflect on:

What stands out to you?

What have you learned?

What has surprised you?

What are your new insights?

What does this mean for how you might move forward – what could you do next?


If you found that helpful, you can read more here on the value of working with a coach to accelerate your progress.


Photo by Tom Roberts on Unsplash