The August Challenge

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IMG 7175 6 7 tonemapped2   The August Challenge

Fear.

I don’t care who you are or where you come from, we all struggle with various fears on a daily basis. It’s one thing that unites us all, but it’s also something we don’t talk about very often. Instead, we often hear much more about hate, anger, jealousy, and criticism which only further leads to more fear. What if we just started talking more about what scares us?

Fear can be crippling. As someone who has suffered from chronic anxiety my entire life, I know that all too well. If left unchallenged, our fears can multiply. I personally fear failure, mistakes, judgment, health of myself and loved ones, not being worthy or deserving, disappointing myself and others. I even fear that I won’t be able to overcome my fears. Sometimes fears are on a smaller scale, but they seem difficult nonetheless – going out to see friends, making a difficult phone call, or getting back into an old sport. Fear can be motivating, “Oh I don’t want to mess up my speech, so I’m going to practice every day this week.” or demotivating, “I messed up and feel like an idiot, so I won’t make myself vulnerable again.”

Because of our fears and in spite of our fears, I’m making a special challenge for the month of August. This month I’m personally challenging myself and any of you who are interested to take control of our fears, whatever they may be!

From the wise words of Eleanor Roosevelt, my challenge for August is to do one thing a day that scares you.

The beauty of this challenge is that YOU define it. You make the rules and decide what is challenging for you. We all know ourselves better than anyone and it’s up to us to define this challenge in a way that meets our own needs.

I currently have some things in my life that are holding me back and I’ll be working daily this month to challenge fears and negativity and make room for personal growth.

To keep myself accountable, I’m logging my daily feats on a calendar each day. By the end of the month, I’ll hopefully have a log of large and small fears that I overcame. The end result is intended to build confidence, inspire new personal challenges, and remind ourselves that we are more powerful than we know.

How to participate

As always, let me know in the comments if you’d like to join in! I’d love to hear about what fears you’ve overcome all month long, so feel free to leave a note on my blog or Facebook page and tell me about it. If you write a recap at the end of the month on your blog and send it to me, I will try to compile all of the links in a post so others can read about your journey too. I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Last but not least, here are some quotes on fear to get us inspired: (source)

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
― John Lennon

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”
― Jim Morrison

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
― Marie Curie

“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”
― C. JoyBell C.

For more inspiring quotes, see my quote page.

If you are looking for more personal work, my Gratitude Challenge, could work hand in hand with this month’s challenge.

Here’s to August!

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{ 136 comments… read them below or add one }

Willow August 1, 2012

Great idea for a challenge, Angela! When I saw you were announcing a challenge, I literally thought ‘well, there’s no way I’ll be able to participate this time… I’ve got way too much on my plate!’ but that fits so perfectly with the theme. I’m preparing for my wedding, and have just over a month to get everything together (and I’m making my cake!). Talk about fear! I have a very big voice in my head telling me I can’t, or that I’ll fail, or that something will go wrong… and an even bigger voice urging me to just elope and get it over with! Pulling off a celebration with the family is definitely a fear I’ll be tackling this month. Thanks for the motivation!

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Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy August 1, 2012

I just got married two weeks ago, and I felt so many emotions before my big day too. The time goes by so quickly, so just enjoy it. No matter what happens, at the end of the day, you will be married and it will be perfect!

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Meghan August 1, 2012

I’m getting married in 2.5 months and I’m terrified. Thanks for the motivation with this challenge, I’m definitely going to participate, even if it scares me!!

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Willow August 1, 2012

Thanks, Emily! I know it will be wonderful in the end. :)

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Alex @ Brain, Body, Because August 1, 2012

I was married in early June and definitely understand your fear. Everyone said, “It’s crazy now, but the day will come and it will be absolutely perfect, no matter what happens.” I didn’t belive it.

…but it’s true :)

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Olya August 2, 2012

Talking about marrige and fear..I was scared to death couple years ago when taking responsibility for making flowers for my niece wedding! Turned out well…There is russian folklore for this “eyes are affraid but hands are doing..” Good luck with your cake, you’ll be fine and, anyway, any mishaps will be remembered later on more than all smoothly going stuff :)

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RachelRuns August 1, 2012

I’m in!! Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been struggling for the past 9 months or so with food anxiety and anorexia, but am working toward my recovery. It has put a huge weight on my life and has had a huge impact on my family relationships.. I was never close with my parents so I denied having a problem to them, and in turn my parents end up causing even more anxiety for me. Even though I know they are just worried about me, its difficult to handle especially since I’ve denied it so long and tend to be a little stubborn about accepting help. I’m working on rebuilding myself and overcoming my anxiety and I’m ready to move onward and upward so this is exactly the type of challenge I need :) You have always been an inspiration to me and have already helped me through a lot!!

p.s. your new layout looks amazing! i love it

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Ash August 1, 2012

What a great challenge idea! I have suffered from anxiety for about 8 years now. Driving has always produced tons of anxiety, so I think to start off the challenge, I’m going to start of by driving to the grocery store and doing some shopping!

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Carolyn @HealthKitten.com August 1, 2012

My scary thing is to change careers.

I worked as a web developer 10 years ago, but got out of that career after a horrible job experience that sent me running for the hills to do anything different. “Different” ended up being an executive assistant and moving into a pro bono coordinator at a major law firm. While I love doing this work as I think I’m helping people in some way, I’m increasingly at odds with the direction and environment of the workplace. Turning from the place that wanted to do good for others into a place that puts profits, working and paying clients over all else.

Thus my scary thing is bringing my skills to a 2012 level and switching jobs! To top off the scary sundae, I gave myself a deadline of October to do so. Pretty damn frightening, if you ask me!!

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Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy August 1, 2012

I love this challenge! I’m going to do my best to write my conquered fear down everyday. My biggest challenge this month? Saying “no” and doing what’s best for me, instead of trying to please everyone else. I suffer from anxiety too, so I think this will be good for me!

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Wendy August 1, 2012

I was looking through the comments for some inspiration about how to challenge my fears and this is perfect! I can really relate to the your fear of saying no when you need to. Thank you!

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sarah August 1, 2012

This post is perfect timing. I’ve just come to realize his much anxiety I have on a daily basis and I am ready to do something about it. Count me in!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table August 1, 2012

I really love that last quote. Perfect reminder today – it’s been a really tough/challenging work week.

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Jessica August 1, 2012

What an inspiring idea for a challenge! You left out my favorite quote about fear:
——————————-
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
(Dune)
————————

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Melissa August 1, 2012

Yay, Dune!

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Victoria August 1, 2012

Great timing for this challenge! I start professional school in just under a month, and I’m already anxious about the new people I have to meet, and all of the things I’m going to have to do. This will be really motivating!

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Kathy August 1, 2012

We all allow fear to hold us back sometimes. I try to hold on to these verses to help me through. We need to let go of our fears in order to rise up higher.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
The fear of man brings a snare: but whoso puts his trust in the LORD shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25
What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. Psalm 56:3-4

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Dana August 1, 2012

Amen. God and His Word is enough for any trial!

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Julia H. @ Going Gulia August 1, 2012

This is such a great post. I actually mentioned something similar at the end of a recent blog post: don’t let anything hold you back. Going into my last year of college before the “real world”, I definitely can see how I might be dealing with fear a bit more than usual over the next year. But like you said, I should use it as a motivating factor!

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Alex @ Brain, Body, Because August 1, 2012

I’ve noticed a few other bloggers writing more introspectively lately and I absolutely love it. Really looking forward to this challenge!

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Tricia August 1, 2012

What a great way to start August! I’ll definitely join in because I’ve been letting fear control my life for too long.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 1, 2012

Oh my, I could go on and on about this! Great theme for August, Ange. There are a few things holding me back from opportunities at the moment but some of these quotes (and your challenge) are inspiring me to move forward. Writing them on post-its now! :)

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The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh August 1, 2012

This is a great idea! I feel so stagnant in my progress right now so maybe I need to look fear in the eye and pump up the volume!

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Radha August 1, 2012

Have you read My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock? A great book that goes with your challenge. .

Love your new blog banner. <33

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Juliana August 1, 2012

Challenge accepted! Off to compile a list of my fears…

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Sloane@stregthinfreedom August 1, 2012

I can’t tell you how excited I am for this challenge. This month is going to be a difficult one, and as a fellow sufferer of chronic anxiety, I have a tendency to let my fears really hold me back or drive me into unhealthy behaviors rather than just face them. I love the John Lennon quote you included! After I first went to ED inpatient treatment I got at tattoo that says “Love drives out fear” to always remind me that fear is an inhibitor, but looking at the world through a lens of love is freeing. I got the quote from The Four Agreements, but have since found it in the Bible too, and the JOhn Lennon quote reminds me of it as well. Thank you so much for sharing this challenge! Good luck on all your accomplishments–I can’t wait to see what you do and can’t wait to participate!
xoxo

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Fearful August 1, 2012

This is just the boost I needed today! I have a few things I fear that I plan on getting over this month. Thanks for the push. :)

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Laura August 1, 2012

What a great challenge Angela! This is exactly what I need this month of August before returning to my last year of undergrad in September. I also struggle with anxiety and your previous posts have inspired me to continue on in learning and growing. When I read your posts about anxiety and issues in University they made me realize “this is me!” and I sought the help I needed. Once again, reading your blog has offered me new inspiration with this challenge!

My biggest fears are social and healthy anxiety as well as fearing failure. This month I want to challenge myself rather then remain in my comfort zone. You are an example of how taking a leap of faith has great rewards (your career change) and that ultimately trusting yourself is the way to go.
This month I am going to trust my instinct rather then chose fear (and comfort).

Have a lovely day :)

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Emily August 2, 2012

I am SO with you on your fears! I am going into my junior year as an undergrad and I always put a ton of pressure on myself to be “perfect” in school, but my biggest fears are definitely social and health anxiety. I tend to avoid social situations where I don’t know anybody, but I realize that this is holding me back from having a truly full life-challenge #1! My health anxiety tends to revolve around the health of my family (not so much myself) and I constantly worry about something “bad” happening to them-challenge #2! Like you, I am going to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone, just live, and see what happens! Good luck to you!

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Laura August 2, 2012

Avoiding social situations with people I don’t know used to be my BIGGEST issue. It prevented me from going to parties or meeting up with friends and I would often make excuses. I started confiding in my best friend about my anxieties and she has become my wing woman. Whenever I am nervous I talk to her about it and she usually talks me into going haha or comes with me. Once I started getting used to it meeting new people became a lot easier. I still struggle with this but it’s a lot better now that I have confided in friends and push myself.

The competitive nature of University puts a lot of pressure on students academically and social pressure can be tough too!! I think it’s just important to remember school is not the end all be all of life and that balance is necessary. Grades won’t suffer if you take time to enjoy yourself.

Good luck to you too!

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Elle August 19, 2012

I know what you mean. I have such a fear of social situations that I usually avoid them…unless I absolutely have to. Even commenting on this blog fills me with a sense of fear…nervous about what people will say, what people will think. Making new friends puts me out of my comfort zone. I guess it’s the fear of rejection. I know I’m late in the game with this August Challenge (as I just found this amazing blog) but I so need to challenge myself in life and not let my fears stop me from having a full and rewarding life.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 19, 2012

Hi Elle, I’m glad you commented. :) Thank you! I hope you grow to feel welcome here. Goodluck with your goals.

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Gloria August 1, 2012

You can count me in! I’m a shy girl, and fear wins most of the time. I graduated from CSNN (Natural Nutrition School) about a year ago with an interest to pursue my own practice, or anything related to the nutrition field, and here I am still working at a gym as a receptionist. I think I’ve been working there for 4 or 5 years now. I really need to get out of my comfort zone..
Thank you for this :)

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Samantha August 1, 2012

Life of fear-
For many years I have really struggled with weight. I grew being told that I was FAT and STUPID. So last year when I had finally lost 50 pounds and had 40 to go, the unthinkable happen for us. We got Pregnant. I had no idea I was pregnant for 21 weeks of it. We had a HUGE move and I had stopped working out. So I thought ” crap I am getting FAT again! ”

After years of trying for a baby and losing 1, we adopted last year. Many say thats why it happen. But the hardest part was I was over EVER being pregnant. I had my baby and Adoption was great for me. I got the prize with out the getting HUGE part. Well now I am HUGE and gained almost 40 pounds and due in 3 weeks.
I have not enjoyed this process at all. I FEAR the delivery and the pain. My anxiety is so bad that I haven’t celebrated the journey at all. My family just keeps saying..” you should be all rainbows and smiles and on cloud 9. Your not as fat now you have a baby growing.” But how can I switch from thinking I am Fat when I was this big just 2 years ago and I fought so hard for so long. I FEAR I will struggle to get the weight off and that I will always be FAT.
So this month this challenge couldn’t of become at a better time. Every day I will pick what scares me that day and deal with it. Tonight is my baby shower, Time to try to get excited about Pain.

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D August 1, 2012

Hi Samantha,
Good luck with your upcoming delivery. Many women struggle with this fear, it is the fear of the unknown. But, you can look at all of the mommas out there and know that they made it through delivery- you will too. It may not be easy, but you can do it!! Women’s bodies are designed with birthing in mind!

As far as the weight anxiety – I would recommend this book. I sat down and read this book cover-to-cover without stopping – it is fascinating and I think it will provide you with some peace :)
http://www.lindabacon.org/HAESbook/

Joy to you!

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k August 1, 2012

Check out to blog or Facebook page birth without fear. Great empowering information!

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Leann Schuering August 1, 2012

Love this. Count me in! Fear has been holding me back in a lot of ways, and I am just now realizing it.

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Bronwyn August 1, 2012

Great Challenge idea. I need someone to really push me into doing some of the things I’m terrified of. I definitely have had some serious anxiety issues over the years, and I’ve just begun really wanting to deal with them, so this challenge comes at the perfect time.

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leatitia August 1, 2012

This is a good idea. I’m in!

Today’s first challenge is a big one for me: Visiting a daycare for the first time for my son. What to ask? What to look for? How to act? How to impress? A lot of unknown for a first time mom. Here we go…

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Katie @ Fun Fearful Female August 1, 2012

I read this post and smiled! I recently started a blog called Fun Fearful Female & was going to issue this exact same challenge to myself and my readers in August. Great minds think alike, right? I’ve loved following you on your journey & look forward to hearing more about how you’re challenging your fears this month. Cheers to overcoming fears! :)

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JMK0316 August 1, 2012

Angela, this couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’ve struggled with massive anxiety for the majority of my life (of the main “If I can’t be perfect and just completely outstanding in absolutely everyone’s eyes then I might as well not even do it at all” type). I decided in May to leave a job that was the latest in a long line of advancing positions in the field I thought was perfect for me and would give me the life I wanted and needed. After using the time off to get back to the small things that keep me sane (running, yoga, baking, etc.), I’ve decided to finish school and rebuild my life from the small, important things up, rather than from the large, amorphous things down. I finally figured out that it’s probably better to do the things that make me happy every day than it is to have things I think I want, and beat myself up because I can’t find the time to do the things I love. All that said, classes start in ~3 weeks – I’m excited! But fearful – that my chronic anxiety will again take over and I won’t be the best me I can be, that my recovered workout and healthy eating routine will be what falls by the wayside as I fit classes, studying, and work back into my daily schedule, that I won’t be magnificently talented at the field I hope to pursue (personal writing/cultural journalism – or something along those lines), and the oddest fear I can name, that I will continue to be fearful and not take the risks necessary to succeed and be the outstanding person I believe I am. Thank you thank you thank you for being somehow telepathically connected to me and posing this challenge for August of 2012, just when I need it. I’ll try to keep you updated :D

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Alyssa August 1, 2012

I like this post. Funny timing too.. I recently became aware of my ability to sabotage positive opportunities that I’ve had, just because a small aspect of them seems really scary to me.. so I flake out and avoid the situation. It’s a good reminder that I need to be helping myself with my struggles. If something scares me, it’s so easy to turn the other way and avoid it, but I can’t live my life doing that and unfortunately I won’t be able to conquer my dreams if I do that. :)
Thanks for posting this!! FYI it sounds like we have a lot in common when it comes to this issue.

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Joanna August 1, 2012

What a great idea! But I’m scared to do it! More reason to join the challenge :) I love the feeling of facing a fear. You feel so much weight lifted off your shoulders.

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Christa @ Edible Balance August 1, 2012

Angela – I adore this post and the challenge! I just can’t do anything more food-related, my routine is tricky enough!

There are definitely areas I need to step out of my comfort zone and take some risks. I signed up for a distance learning course for nutrition and I have been petrified to open the books I received over a month ago! I have a huge fear of failure, I haven’t been in school for over 15 years and wasn’t a very good student either… nutrition has become a passion so it’s time to dive in, crack open those books and continue pursuing it :)

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Amy August 9, 2012

Hi Christa,

A few years ago I made the very scary decision to switch from a liberal arts major to dietetics in order to pursue my passion for nutrition. I was never particularly strong in science and terrified of the courses. But I jumped in …now I’ve just graduated and i’m about to start my internship to be an RD. I know i’ve found my path. Keep fighting for yours it’s worth it :)

<3 Amy

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shelby August 1, 2012

wonderfully timed, beautifully presented.. i will be logging on my iphone. what a perfect time to go to costa rica in 2 days : ) thanks angela!

shelby

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Alicia August 1, 2012

This is exciting! I can always use some extra self help! Recently I was forced to pull my special needs son out of public school based on how badly it was hurting him emotionally. My fear is not being disciplined enough to teach him at home and the challenges that will arise. I will start this challenge by writing out our schedule and by researching new curriculum to help me with him.
I can’t wait to think up all the fears I want to face this month.
Thank you

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D August 1, 2012

Alicia,
Good luck on your journey. There are homeschooling support groups which may be of help, you may want to research some in your area.

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Kom@hungryhealthygirl.com August 1, 2012

I love this idea and especially like the quote from joybell. I also like what you said about fear sometimes being a good thing, but sometimes being a bad thing. That is so true.

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Rosalie August 1, 2012

Your challenge (and past personal challenges) is the catalyst I need to officially set my own goal of fighting my eating disorder-related fears this month. I go back to university a month from now and this is my chance to really face the anxieties and discomforts I have with weight, exercise, binges, calorie counting etc. (extensive etc. ha) before moving in with six people who don’t know my issues. Thanks, Angela, you’re definitely an inspiration and a role model of mine.

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Emily @ www.main-eats.com August 1, 2012

That sounds like such a great idea! I have found myself becoming more anxious as I get older and it is freaking me out which makes me more anxious! I’m looking forward to pushing myself and seeing what you will do to overcome your fears this month! Good luck and empowerment to us all!

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Julie (A Case of the Runs) August 1, 2012

Nice challenge! I just blogged about learning to swim, something that always makes me uncomfortable (but Jillian Michaels always says to be comfortable with being uncomfortable). Planning my wedding also scares me, but must be done. I even get scared when I push myself too hard during a workout… ha ha.

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Amanda August 1, 2012

I am definitely in! I am dealing with resentments and fears in therapy right now, and it’s amazing how hand-in-hand those two things go! My therapist has me keeping a list in a journal – my fears “page” is 5 pages long (my strengths page is 5 lines long, just to show you how far down the rabbit hole I am!) I am going to spend the month at home and in therapy digging into my fear of failure (and, ironically, success), my fear of my body/weight issues, and my co-dependency. Thank you for this!

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Erica { EricaDHouse.com } August 1, 2012

I’m definitely in! I need to take some time and think of something I fear to challenge myself by this month.

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Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy August 1, 2012

what a great post! so true — fear can paralyze us — I’m with ya!

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Wendy August 1, 2012

I’m in! I have a fear of failure. It holds me back from a lot of superficial things and not-so-superficial things. I’m going to start writing a book. I read tons and tons of books and sometimes I think, I can write better than that. But deep down I’m not sure. I certainly don’t expect to be published, but I need a creative outlet and I want to give it an honest try. If nothing comes out on a page, then at least I tried.

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