We have all been there. It’s been three weeks and you still haven’t accomplished the goal or task you put on your to-do list, and you simply cannot believe that all this time has passed and you haven’t been able to make any progress. You were once excited about your project, but now that excitement is being drowned out by frustration.
When I say we have all been there, I mean it. This is a scenario that we have all experienced in some form or another. Whether it be the fitness goal you set, a new personal skill you wanted to learn, a project at work you wanted to get ahead on, the diet you were set to start, and the list goes on. The best way to combat those scenarios, and accomplish your goals is through better understanding why this is so common. That is what this post is about, understanding how this so common yet unknown pressure, resistance.
Resistance is that invisible force that lures us away from accomplishing the things that we have set out to accomplish.
According to Steven Pressfield’s book The War Of Art what is the most susceptible to resistance is, “any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity.” (Pressfield, 2003).
Resistance is often times fueled by fear, which is fully propelled by our own doing.
Fear of failure, fear of what will happen if we are successful, or even fear of what we will do once the goal is accomplished. These are all common ways that resistance will manifest itself. As mentioned, this fear is all internal, which means we can control it. If we can control the fear, we can conquer resistance! (Pressfield, 2003).
Resistance only punches up.
This is helpful to note, because when you feel a good bit of resistance in accomplishing that goal or task, that means you are on the right track!
Procrastination, as we have all fallen victim to, is the most common form of resistance we will experience by far. It’s not “I’m never going to start the diet” rather it is “I’m not going to start the diet today, I am going to start it after the weekend.” (Pressfield, 2003).
The bright side is that resistance can be beat.
Let’s talk about that.
It is often said that you will make time for what is important to you. It doesn’t really matter how busy you are in your day, you will make time for your significant other, or you will make time to get to the gym, your kids, etc. One trick to defeating resistance is to look at the goal, look at the outcome, and determine how important that outcome is to you. This will help manage expectations in terms of the pace of completion.
Organize everything around the goal/task.
Keep the objective clear and concise, and focus on one step at a time. When a goal or project feels lofty and large, it becomes increasingly easy to procrastinate because how do you make progress when you don’t even know where to start? A relatable example for could be that you have a desire to get the greenhouse cleaned up and organized. Instead of focusing on that massive overarching goal, focus on one area at a time, and slowly and surely the goal will be accomplished.
Another major way to have success in these projects, goals, and tasks, is if time is not of the essence, don’t pay attention to it. The pace is not of much importance, as long as you are continuing to move forward in the goal! Accomplish at your own pace.
Ask for Help
Thirdly, be willing to ask for help. This is a tough one, because we have been trained to think that asking for help is weakness when in reality it is wisdom. Nobody learns or grows without help from someone more advanced than themselves. The challenge is being able to recognize that, and metaphorically (or perhaps literally) raise your hand.
Undoubtedly, resistance will some days win, the bright side is that this is just you beating yourself, and you’re the only one who knows the score.
I truly think just being aware of this resistance and knowing that you aren’t the only one who feels it, will be helpful as you strive to accomplish your goals. Don’t let resistance win that next goal or task. Be cognizant of the way your brain is wired to a sense of laziness and comfort; combat that, and watch your productivity flourish.