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Once you have a goal you really want to reach, it helps to have a plan to get there. I’m not going to tell you how to create that. Barbara Sher and Anthony Robbins do it better.

Here on Royal Heart, the focus is fears that seem to swarm out at the planning stage, when things “get real,” when accomplishing your aim starts to seem plausible. The nifty part, is that this is one place where they can actually do their job, usefully warning you of danger while you have time to prepare. However, they can be disruptive and unruly. To function well, they need to be corralled. This keeps them from derailing your work, and puts them outside your head where you can sort what is sensible and rational from blind emotion.

Here’s how you do it:

While using whatever planning method you like, keep a separate spot for notes. Whenever a concern comes up, write it down. Know that you can’t forget them and you will take care of them. Then you can keep working without distraction (at least from your worries).

After you finish, pull out the list. If you’re feeling anxious, do some diaphragmatic breathing, break for a cup of tea, whatever it takes to get to a clear head space. When you come back, sort your list into rational challenges and irrational fears. Often, it is pretty clear which are which. If you find any you are unsure about, subject them to a couple of tests.

Firstly, imagine that someone you know is the telling you about the project. When they bring up this concern, does it seem legitimate, or does it seem like stalling? If it seems like an excuse, procrastination, or just not plausible, put it in the irrational group.

Secondly, play Name That Fear. Get very specific about what’s bothering you. If it seems impossible, then it may be something that is based only on emotion. It doesn’t mean you need to dismiss it, just that it needs to be dealt with whenever it starts getting in the way of your momentum.

Next post, we get to look at one of my favorite techniques, mitigation. This is where all the Whatifs have to get to work instead of just making trouble.