By Heather Hartung, Certified Health Coach at Vine Healthcare
I love the image of the flower breaking through the dry, cracked earth, above. We can bloom right where we are, despite all of the forces trying to keep us down, both real and imagined. What keeps so many of us from doing what we want to do? Why do we get so stuck and struggle to make a breakthrough? Why, despite our best intentions for the day, do our most important goals or aspirations not get met?
There is a word for it. Resistance. And intention is no match for it, only focused attention. In his book about resistance called The War of Art, Steven Pressfield says, “Resistance can not be seen or touched, heard or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. It’s aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.”
Resistance steals our joy, keeps us from making progress, and sabotages our goals.
Whether our goals are health related or the progress we are trying to make is toward something else, like following a calling, resistance prevents us from doing what we are meant to do and being who we are meant to be. In Pressfield’s words, “Resistance prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius.”
Many of us struggle with this every day without realizing it. We don’t know why we are struggling so much. Why we can’t seem to make the big breakthrough.
Which activities most commonly elicit resistance? Pressfield describes them as any activities which reject immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health or integrity. He goes on to list specifics, such as the pursuit of any creative calling, the launching of any entrepreneurial venture, any program of spiritual advancement, and of course any diet or health regimen!
“The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”
The amount of resistance you feel is proportional to the importance of your goal and how much it means to you. If it meant nothing to you, there would be no resistance. So, on a positive note, the more gratification you will receive when you accomplish it!
The most common manifestation of resistance is, as you might expect, resistances very best friend, procrastination.
“I think I’ll just start tomorrow…”
This is a trap, and resistance’s greatest weapon, because procrastination becomes a habit and tomorrow sometimes never comes.
Maybe we are procrastinating doing good things, worthy things, or just things that need to be done (like laundry and the dishes) but if they keep us from following that call deep within us, they are resistance. The laundry and dishes will still be there after the important work of the day is done. (Plus, if you put them off, maybe someone else will do them! Maybe?)
There is no mystery to fighting resistance. It’s an act of will. We make up our minds and we proceed. Every day. Every day we must be prepared to confront our own self sabotage. This is true in the pursuit of our callings and it is true in the pursuit of good daily lifestyle habits.
Everyone will find their own path to conquering resistance, but here are some general tips that might help you on your journey:
- Set a time every day during which you work toward accomplishing your goal. Prioritize it and make sure you take at least one focused step, every single day toward it.
- Focus on the work and its demands to the exclusion of all else, while you are doing it. No multi-tasking.
•Don’t be over ambitious. Take manageable steps. You’re in it for the long haul and you don’t want to burn out.
•Share your goals/work/dream with someone who will help inspire you and keep you accountable.
•Be organized. Eliminate chaos from your world and mind as best you can.
- Make no excuses.
•Ask for help and get support when needed.
Are there specific areas where you struggle with resistance? Now that you have a name for your struggle, try tackling this resistance head on with some of the tips above to reach your goals and make significant breakthroughs in your life!