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Don’t Set Goals; Try Fear-Setting

fear setting tim ferriss

Want to have your best year yet? Of course, you do! Normally come new year, you set resolutions or goals. One of the biggest obstacles to reaching your goals is overcoming your fears.

That’s why best-selling author of the 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss, in this Ted Talk explains why he prefers fear-setting instead of goal setting. This helps to avoid self-destruction and paralysis from starting to pursue your dreams.

For example, if you want to ask for a raise, find a better paying job, start a business, or start investing one of the biggest obstacles is fear. Tim Ferris has a step-by-step process of evaluating what it is that you’re fearing.

Here’s Tim Ferriss’ Fear-Setting Process

You can view the fear-setting PDF’s that he designed personally here. Below I’ll share with you the process and explain more on fear-setting.

1. What if I: _______?

Fill in the blank of what it is that you’re afraid of or fear in your life right now. Be honest with yourself. When you name your fear, it loses its power over you. Or as Helen Keller said, “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”

2. Define Your Fears

Write out all the bad things that could happen as a result of doing the thing that you’re afraid of. Try to list at least ten possible outcomes of attempting what it is that you are fearing to do.

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3. What to do to Prevent Negative Outcomes

With each of the negative outcomes of pursuing what you fear, list exactly what you can do to prevent these bad things from happening.

4. How to Repair Negative Outcomes

If what you fear does happen and there are negative outcomes list in advance what you can do to bounce back and repair from them.

5. List the Benefits of Attempting What you Fear

Now that you’ve examined what the possible worst-case scenarios of taking a risk on something you fear. Take some time to list the benefits of attempting whatever it is that you are afraid of trying.

6. The Cost of Inaction

List out what are the emotional, physical, and financial costs of not attempting to try whatever it is that you currently fear. List out the immediate costs of inaction. What will happen if you don’t try six months from now? One year from now? And, three years from now what will your life look like if you don’t act on what you really want to do in your life, but still allow fear to take over?

This year do not be afraid. Fear not! Use fear-setting to help achieve what you heart desires.

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Hi! I'm Carly

I’m a Finance grad and creator of Best Money Class Ever, a 4-week live virtual personal finance class. I paid off $35,000 of debt and saved a nest egg of over $100,000 by age 26 (earning only around the median household income!).

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