Health & Wellness Articles

Be Ready When Opportunity Knocks

Take Risks to Take Your Life to the Next Level

Laurie's story is not unusual.  Why is change so difficult? Why do we fear, rather than embrace, taking a risk? And can we find a way to forge new territories that seem to promise, but can't guarantee, a better life?
Let's take a look at why we hesitate to change, and so often spend more time thinking rather than doing anything about it. 
Most of us lead lives filled with routine.  We get up at a particular time, get ready for our day, and embark about the myriad of responsibilities we need to attend to.  We don't give much thought to them; we just go through the motions getting things done, crossing them off our lists and then moving on to the next.  When thoughts such as, "Is this all there is?" or "I'm bored, and want a change," creep in, we know it's time to look for new opportunities.
At this point, we spend a great deal of time dreaming of what we would like to be different.  Whether it's losing weight, starting a new job, finding romance, or finally writing that book, we are too busy to stop and figure out how to get there. We're dreaming--not planning--and we know that all change requires work, the thought of which is simply exhausting.
If that's not enough, we worry. What if we go through all the work to make a change, and it doesn't work out? Or even worse, what if it's not what we want after all?  Edwin Locke, one of the foremost researchers in goal-setting, states that the No. 1 thing that stands in the way of goal attainment is fear.  Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown, fear of making the wrong decision, looking foolish, being embarrassed and so on. 
Combine that fear of risk with a lack of energy to work toward our goals, and a lack of confidence in our abilities, and it's no wonder we stay locked in our old habits and routines despite our unhappiness. 
So, why bother striving for new opportunities, or working to change a current situation that's not optimal?  What do we really have to gain? 
Carolyn Adams-Miller, author of Creating Your Best Life List, says that when we engage in a well-planned risk, even if it's scary, we immediately gain confidence, progress toward goal accomplishment and an increase in our life satisfaction.  Even when the risk doesn't turn out exactly as hoped, we still benefit.  We learn that we can handle whatever curveballs life throws at us, and increase our resiliency (the ability to bounce back after disappointment).  Together, these experiences increase our inner strength and lead us to be more willing to try new and different experiences in the future.  And isn't that what makes life exciting?
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About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen Goldman has bachelor's and master's degrees in health and physical education. An AFAA-certified personal trainer and certified wellness coach, she is also the founder EnerG Coaching, LLC. Through one-on-one and group sessions, Ellen helps individuals make positive lifestyle changes, lose weight, manage stress and attain work-life balance. Visit her at

Member Comments

  • ASLANGEL1030
    Is there a way to print this article in a one-page format? I need it to remind myself I am worth it! - 6/3/2014 11:43:19 AM
  • Good one! - 2/27/2014 6:49:36 AM
  • Great article! This is exactly what I needed to read tonight! - 10/13/2013 11:08:24 PM
  • This was a really great article. - 7/23/2013 7:05:48 PM
  • This was a really great article. - 7/23/2013 7:05:24 PM
  • ''Defining Your Core Values." link is broken - 6/10/2013 10:43:22 PM
  • I totally agree w/BLUEJEAN99 and also--could not access the core values doc. Not sure why I couldn't access it and am wondering if anybody else had that issue. But still, good article. :) - 2/15/2013 1:49:56 PM
  • Great article! Thank you. - 11/8/2012 8:08:35 PM
  • Thanks for this great article. I have struggled with almost every category in my life and have certainly missed out on many opportunities because of fear of taking risks. I don't want to be in that "rocking chair" with only regrets to remember. - 10/30/2012 3:57:37 PM
  • Thank you for the article, though Ayn Rand is not someone I would ever want to emulate in any way. There are many other smarter, kinder people to draw motivational quotes from! - 7/21/2012 1:58:10 PM
  • This was a great article! I've just decided to pursue my dream of a being an antiques dealer and I am amazed at how opportunities keep opening for the me the more I move forward! Love the "rocking chair test"- that's how I finally decided to do this! - 7/17/2012 2:21:12 PM
  • Loved this article. Have printed it for reference and emailed it to others and interesting enough, I read this article at the right time in my life as I am at that moment in time where I am crossing the fear line and have started to make those changes and go for the opportunities. I thank spark people for the support and assistance in getting to this point/feeling in my life!! Laura - 7/17/2012 7:31:46 AM
  • I have been straying a tad from my plan of exercising and eating right. I haven't been taking the time to plan things ahead which makes meals and exercising easier to make happen every day.

    I LOVED THE CORE VALUE work sheet!! I've heard a lot about how to make decisions based on your core values but wasn't sure what the were really. I can see how making decisions could be a lot easier now!

    What a great way to start the day! A new mind set.............T
    hank you. - 7/17/2012 4:49:27 AM
  • GAYLE119
    wished I had cared more about myself when I was younger....I can see the roads not taken and things might have been different - 6/12/2012 4:49:36 AM
  • I liked this article until the mention of Ayn Rand. There are a lot of hateful things that have been written by this person, so I'll just have to wait for something more suitable to my taste. . .. - 6/7/2012 6:42:23 PM

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