Confession: I struggle with Resistance every day. Part of the reason I keep so busy is that otherwise, I’d get nothing done. You name it, I resist doing it: exercise, writing, working, chores, calling people, cooking…. Sometimes I think I’m a sloth in a human body.
Once I’m doing whatever it is I’m resisting, I’m usually fine. I get in the flow. I just do it, and it’s almost never as bad as it was through the lenses of my Resistance. Then once I’m doing it, I resist moving on to the next activity. I know this one, I’m comfortable now, and I don’t want to finish and have to re-focus on something else.
Why is it so hard to do the things we tell ourselves we want to do? Resistance shows itself in many guises:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of success
- Fear of the unknown (how do I move forward with this project? How do I even start?)
- Tiredness/lack of energy
- Negativity (Why bother? It sucks. I suck. Etc.)
- Time (we tell ourselves we have no time, but even if we have 15 minutes per day, that’s something)
Ever hear the saying, “What you resist, persists?” That also goes for Resistance itself. Resistance is, for many of us, a daily battle. Overcoming Resistance (or not) is a habit, and as with any other habit, which one we choose creates a pattern in our brains, and our lives, that increases our likelihood of repeating that pattern, over and over again.
So, if we consistently opt to feel the Resistance and do it anyway, we set ourselves up for success. We’re telling ourselves a very important message: that we’re not buying what Resistance is selling. Those fears and thoughts might seem like good reasons, but they’re not real unless we make them so by giving into them.
Conversely, if we give in to Resistance on a regular basis, we’re telling ourselves that our goals don’t matter, even to us. Pretty soon the Not Doing becomes a habit, and it becomes very hard to overcome the inertia and get back to doing what we told ourselves we really wanted to do in the first place.
So, the next time you feel Resistance, start by acknowledging it. “Hi Resistance! There you are again!” If possible, acknowledge the reason behind the Resistance (it could be one of the above, or something else). If a reason comes up regularly, you may want to journal about it, to try to dig deeper into why it’s such a big factor for you.
Then, say to yourself the reason for the Resistance, AND your reason for doing it anyway:
“I feel tired, AND I’m going to do it anyway, just for 15 minutes.” “
“I’m afraid it’s going to suck, AND I’m going to do it anyway, because maybe it will be better than I think, and I won’t know until I try. ”
“I have all this other stuff to do, AND I’m going to do this right now, because it’s important to me.”
And so on. Learn to work with Resistance, instead of fighting an exhausting battle you can never permanently win, and create the habit of Doing It Anyway. See how the consistent practice of Doing It Anyway reaps big rewards in your life: you reach your goals faster, and learn to see yourself as someone who does what they say they will do, a major confidence and motivation booster in itself.
Do you have any other tricks for dealing with Resistance? Share them in the comments!
And check in with Friday Favorites this week, when I review Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, the ultimate manifesto against Resistance.