You know what you need to do to stay healthy, but sometimes you just can’t make yourself do it. Often, it’s not laziness or lack of will—it’s fear. Despite your best intentions, fear of failure or of trying something new can derail your health and fitness efforts. Developing healthy habits means confronting your fears.

Going to the Gym

Being afraid of going to the gym is more common than you might think. There’s even a name for it—gym anxiety. Maybe you feel like everyone is judging you, or worse, your body. You may feel anxious when you compare yourselves to others or you can’t keep up in a spin class.

One strategy to overcome gym anxiety is to go when it’s not likely to be crowded. When there are fewer people there, you can relax and focus. Also, make a playlist of your favorite workout music and listen while you exercise. The music will make you feel good and distract you from other concerns.

Visiting the Doctor or Dentist

It’s also not unusual for people to fear going to the doctor or dentist. You may feel nervous that they’ll have bad news for you or worried that they might do something that hurts. But avoiding or putting off needed health care will only hurt you eventually.

It’s important to express your fears to your doctor or dentist. Don’t worry—they’ve heard it before. Once they know your fears, they can do things to help you. Dentists and orthodontists have strategies for easing anxiety if you let them know.

Trying New Foods

Chances are, you formed your present dietary habits in childhood. You’ve already decided what foods you like and which foods you refuse to eat. But you may not realize that as you mature, your food tastes change. What you didn’t like at age 6, you may love now—if only you would try it.

You may also fear trying new foods because of their appearance or smell. You can deal with that fear by the way you prepare the food. If whole cauliflower freaks you out, try it riced or in pasta instead.


By facing your fears and overcoming them, you can create new ways of eating, exercising, and taking care of yourself. Find some strategies to downplay your fears and keep the ultimate goal of good health in mind.

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