4 Ways to Beat Resistance
What do you resist?
Exercise? Eating healthy? Cleaning your house? Meditating? Working?
I resist writing and putting together talks and workshops. And I resist hard. Don’t get me wrong, these are both things I love to do once I’m doing them, but getting me started is a whole other matter. When confronted with writing, my resistance Hulks-out and I often feel powerless to overcome it.
To be perfectly honest I am writing this post because it is easier than working on the presentations I am scheduled to give or the magazine article I have committed to writing. Resistance – 1, Kira - 0.
What creates this resistance? For me it’s a couple of things. Perfectionism and overwhelm. When perfectionism rears its ugly head, and tells me that what I create must be perfect, I feel too pressured to want to start at all. Perfect or bust? I choose bust. The pressure to be perfect combined with the immensity of some of my projects also leads me to feel overwhelmed, and when I feel overwhelmed, I tend to retreat to my happy place which doesn’t involve any writing or creating new work. It’s safe. It’s not risky. And it’s also unrewarding.
But I’m not done. In the end, I know I will prevail over resistance. How, you ask?
With my 4 Ways to Beat Resistance. Here is what you can do to overcome resistance:
Break your task into small pieces and work on one little piece at a time. Set easy targets, like working on it for 10-20 minutes per day. If you do 20, or even 10 minutes per day for a week, you’ll be a lot further ahead than if you don’t. Some days you may wish to dedicate more than your minimum time to the task, and that’s great, but remember to keep your targets low when you’re first starting out. Whether it’s exercise, a project at work, or a piece of writing, by starting small you will set yourself up to win.
Consider how you would like to feel. Try on the feeling you would have if you were to accomplished the task. Then try on feeling as though you hadn’t. You can choose how you feel by which path you choose to take. Gym or no gym. Work or no work. How do you want to feel at the end of the day? Figure it out, and then do what it is that will bring you that feeling. For example, I wanted to feel relaxed, and happy that I’m ahead of my blogging schedule, so I chose to work on this post today. Had I not, I would have felt stressed and unhappy. No thanks.
Be kind to yourself. Ease up on the “shoulds” because they only lead to guilt, feeling bad, and more procrastination. It’s a vicious cycle. Instead of “I should go to the gym today,” use “I choose” instead. “I choose to go to the gym today.” Different, right? And if you don’t manage to make it to the gym, don’t beat yourself up. You can go later today or tomorrow.
Celebrate your successes. No matter how small, celebrate your wins. Even if you think they are too insignificant to celebrate. You broke through resistance, and that is a victory. If, after breaking through, you force yourself to do even more work rather than celebrate what you did accomplish, you’re probably going to run into resistance again very, very soon.
Ultimately, you just have to do it. There is no special secret. You can however, make it easier for yourself to get on the task by using the 4 Ways to Beat Resistance.
For an additional boost, the following are my two favourite books on overcoming resistance:
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield and Shawn Coyne
I Don’t Want To, I Don’t Feel Like it: How Resistance Controls Your Life and What to Do About It by Cheri Huber
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