You know that feeling…
There is something you really want to do, need to do.
It would help your life, business, relationships, your health.
Taking a course, starting a workout routine, taking your partner on that cool date, giving your children fun hobby-time with you, making new contacts at work. Whatever it is, you know you should be doing it today.
Yet you put it off.
But you really do want to do that thing.
But you never get around to it.
You try to shake it and tell yourself it will be helpful that you need to do it now. You must do it now. You try guilt and shame. And then some anger thrown in too. And still you are stuck.
You feel it in your mind and your heart too. It’s keeping you from getting to what you want to do most. Create a better life for yourself.
Nearly everyone who has ever tried to do something new or improve their life has had to face this.
They are your resistances.
Some manage to put them aside forever and get to work. The writer Ray Bradbury said to just get at it. Stop thinking so hard about it and get to work.
It’s great advice, and it worked for him. He was a prolific writer.
But it still might not be enough for you (and me either, you aren’t alone.)
There are many strategies to overcoming resistances. I have found a few that work for me, but there is no guarantee they will help you, since we are all a bit different.
My #1 resistance-buster
My number one resistance-buster is to remember that life is short, and I have a calling to fulfill. I want to take action more than I want to sit and wait till I feel “alright.” That takes too long. I want my life to improve right now, not in a month, a year, a decade.
Even a small step is a step in the right direction. Each micromove matters.
I keep that in mind, and I don’t let the size of the task or how it might turn out to be bother me either.
I’ve committed myself to learning not to live in fear. It’s not easy, but it’s the only path to the life I want, so I deal with resistance quickly when it pops up.
Ideas to ease your resistance
Here are a few very easy resistance-busters that could help you get back to growing. They are super easy, so give them a try next time you start feeling that block coming your way.
Do something before you start to put yourself in the right mindset for the activity. This strategy is easily done.
Write a few sentences with words that match the activity. If it were going to the gym, you might use words like “strength,” “muscles,” “growing,” “powerful” and those sorts of words. Or tailor the words to what you need to work on specifically.
The sentences don’t have to have any great meaning. It can be a journal entry, but it doesn’t have to be. This sort of language exercise has been shown to affect behavior in research studies, so give it a try.
Make yourself a starting ritual
Many people use a little ritual as a signal to themselves that it is time to get to work. No more delaying.
Some people take a cup of coffee or tea. Others take a walk or meditate. It isn’t important what it is. Just pick something you do to remind yourself it’s time to sit down and get to work. Once you get that cup of coffee, you won’t have any reason to procrastinate any longer.
Find your little ritual and give it a try.
Do a warm-up exercise
This is a great resistance-easer because it throws you right in without an expectation of creating anything in particular although it’s fine to also. There is nothing to fear because whatever your warm up is there is no real point to it.
I’ve just been using it lately and it’s magical.
My resistance sometimes comes not so much in delaying but an uncertainty in what I want to write for example.
So I do a little warm-up writing. It can be anything as long as it
isn’t something that really matters in a big way. A short poem, a
journal entry, a few notes or idea brainstorms. It doesn’t take long
before ideas start flowing in. And that is just the way it works,
Ideas and inspiration often come while we are engaged in our work.
Make the warm-up suit the activity. The above warm-up is great for creative or work-related activities. You can do something else for spending time with someone important. Or for going to the gym or anything else you are avoiding.
For instance if you want to spend quality time with your partner, do some preparation. Put aside everything else, prepare the place you will be in (clean, etc.), ask yourself a few questions to remind yourself how great your partner is.
These three focus on preparing yourself for your tasks. They are easy to do and only take a few minutes. There is another way to looking at the problem that can bring longer term relief to your procrastination habit.
You are playing an emotional game with yourself
The truth about inner resistances of all sorts is that they are really an emotional game you are playing. It’s a game you are trying to win, but you are making it hard for yourself.
The key to banishing inner resistances is to understand your emotions.
Resistance is nothing more than an emotion you feel. You want to transition yourself out of that emotional state and into one that helps you accomplish your goal. All the above exercises help with that.
If you can master this step, then you win every time. Most people don’t bother to truly understand their emotions, so they are always at their whim. You don’t have to be. You can learn how to work with them.
Make it easy on yourself by giving yourself a few minutes for this transition with one of the above strategies and with the self-awareness that you are making a transition.
Resistance is a common feeling for all of us. It’s an annoying little feeling that pops up when there is something you need and want to do to grow. You don’t have to be at their mercy any longer. There is relief from these resistances. Often it’s a matter of mindset and a little preparation.
The important thing is not to let yourself get to focused on the resistance or it will just become even harder.
Instead, find a way around it. Try one of the above strategies and make it part of your daily start.
Understand how your emotional states affect your inner resistances. Let go of how you feel at the moment and allow yourself to transition into a new energy that lets you get to work.
I hope this helps you smash those pesky inner resistances.