Resistance is the serial killer of goals. It’s the reason most people never strive for a more fulfilling life. Fear always gives them excuses to forget about it.
Everyone has something they could do that would change their lives. But life-changing tasks aren’t easy—they require ambition.
If you avoid these things, you’re turning your back on a happy and meaningful life. So, blast through it before it crushes your dreams!
Resistance happens when we know we should do something that’d enhance our lives, but we never follow through with it. These thoughts never fade away, yet we keep ignoring them. Over time, this avoidance becomes habitual.
The following tips will show you how to stop letting resistance hold you back from your goals:
1. Notice when you’re feeling resistance
“The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
— Steven Pressfield, The Art of War
The subconscious mind hates when you do anything new. But how can you make progress if you never push yourself out of your comfort zone?
When you feel resistance towards something, then that’s probably what you need to do to move you up a level. Even if you fail at first, you’ll learn what you need to know to get it the next time.
Here are some covert methods you might use when you’re resisting your goals:
- Making things harder than they should be
- Overloading your schedule
- Neglecting your self-care (not sleeping, exercising, or eating right)
- Wasting your time with things that don’t matter
- Blaming others and not fixing critical mistakes
When you realize that you’re resisting your goal, then you can snap out of it and get to work. Remind yourself of back when you first started. How did you feel? Were you excited and obsessed with it? Refuel your passion for your mission, and you’ll melt away resistance.
Also, ask yourself some questions to find out why you’re rebelling against making your dream happen.
- How will the goal improve your life? What’s at risk if you avoid it?
- How bad do you want it? Is it so important that you’d fight through any challenge to reach it?
- What makes you want to avoid working toward this goal?
After you discover why this is happening, you’re better suited to nip it in the bud.
2. Map out your steps
“What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.”
Now that you know why you want this goal, it’s time to create a map to get there. What are the things you need to do to reach it?
For instance, let’s say you want to write a book; the steps you’d need to take could be:
- Choose a genre such as adventure, thriller, drama, poetry, crime, romance, science fiction, or nonfiction.
- Then brainstorm story or topic ideas.
- Develop your characters and the setting( if it’s fiction.)
- Write an outline and fill it out (chapters.)
- Embellish the chapters.
- Then, read and edit it (or hire an editor.)
- Create the book cover.
Then commit to working on it every day, at least for a few minutes. That’s much less intimidating than saying you’re going to write a best seller. Instead, tell yourself that you’ll work on it for 1-5 minutes. One sentence per day is so much better than nothing!
3. Combat resistance with encouragement
Filling your mind with fear and doubt will repel you from your goal. So, try soaking in some knowledge about it to ease your nerves. You’ll be more willing to get started if you’re not leaping into the unknown.
Encourage yourself every day to go for it. Ignore any self-defeating self-talk because those are all lies. Besides, if you identify yourself as a procrastinator, you’ll sabotage yourself. Then, you’ll end up scrolling through social media and forget about your goal.
Sure, it’s easier that way, but it’s better to replace those thoughts with things like:
- “Nothing will hold me back from achieving this goal.”
- “I’m overflowing with passion and excitement to work on this.”
- “Even if I fail the first time, I’ll work on it till I do. My victory is inevitable.”
- “I know I can do this, and nothing will stop me.”
You can do this; it won’t be a breeze, but that’s okay. You’ll build up your skills regardless of the outcome.
If you’re still having a hard time getting started, try these tips:
- Count down from 3, after which you MUST begin working. 3-2-1-GO! Then you won’t have enough time to worry or make excuses to stop you from taking action.
- Set a timer and race against it. Some people get excited by the rush of urgency; it turns a boring task into a game!
- Get someone to keep you accountable and show them your progress every day or week.
Starting is by far the hardest part of any project. Once you get over that hump, you’ll wonder why you avoided it for so long. Like a baby bird, you might need to get shoved out of the nest before you realize you can fly. Chances are you’ll love it too.
4. Clear out any physical resistance
“Resistance by definition is self-sabotage.”
The subconscious has a ton of tricks up its sleeve to prevent you from changing your life. Like if you want to learn how to play guitar, it’ll have you put it in another room in its case. Out of sight, out of mind, and voila! You never learn how to play.
Or if you need to write a paper but can’t get started, take a look at your environment. Do you have clutter scattered on your desk barricading you from your keyboard? Your subconscious did this to make things harder for you.
Clear out any obstacles you may have unknowingly created. For instance, distractions, not having the supplies you’ll need nearby, or disorganization.
5. Don’t edit as you work
“Resistance to change is proportional to how much the future might be altered by any given act.”
If you’re in the zone, don’t critique yourself as you work! That’ll ruin the flow process and increase resistance. Creativity and editing live on separate hemispheres of your brain. Jumping back and forth will slow you down and drain your energy. You can imagine what that does to your motivation.
Tell yourself that you’ve got this and get started. Then keep thinking positive thoughts and roll with it. Afterward, you can edit the results.
6. Take advantage of being on a roll
“True resistance begins with people confronting pain… and wanting to do something to change it.”
When you’re in the zone while working toward your goal, try to get as much done as possible because it won’t last forever. So, if you’re in an imaginative mood, take care of any creative work. Otherwise, work on tasks like organizing, researching, or planning.
You’ll feel more resistant to do creative work if you’re in a planning mood and vice versa. So, work in the genre you’re feeling at the time, and you’ll get a lot more done.
7. Be accountable
“The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment.”
You can use habit tracking apps to assign a friend who’ll keep an eye on your progress. Some don’t involve that you use a partner; instead, you maintain a habit streak. Keeping a streak going is very motivating.
I have a 297-day long Spanish streak on Duolingo. It shows how many days in a row I’ve practiced and the progress I’ve made. There’s also a leader board for added competition with others.
Whatever you need to do to make yourself do at least a little work towards your goal, do it. Your future self will thank you!
8. Finish it
“When you experience resistance, you find the lessons that you are meant to learn.”
— Jon Gordon
Prove to yourself that you can defeat resistance by finishing your project. If you keep getting stuck, take another route. What other ways can you reach your goal? Do you need to adjust your plan?
If fear of failure is obstructing your path, then practice failing. Most people “fail” their way to the finish line. Each mistake is an essential lesson you’ll need to reach your goal.
If you’re feeling brave, you could desensitize yourself from failing by setting an “impossible” goal. Then take actions that you expect to fail. You’ll learn that failing isn’t as bad as you imagined. Also, you learn how to handle it and to move forward despite any apprehension. Afterward, failing will hardly affect you anymore, and that’s priceless!
Don’t let anything hold you back, and that includes yourself. Wrap things up with your goal and release it into the wild because you can handle whatever happens! It won’t be the end of the world!
The only way you can truly fail is to quit or never try.
To sum up, you can master resistance to your goals by noticing it’s there yet going for it anyway. Never submit to this destructive force! You’re more amazing than you think; you just need to give yourself a chance.
Don’t be the reason you never accomplish your dreams!
Always remember why you’re doing this and how it’ll change your life. Think about how proud you’ll be for sticking with it to the end!
After you conquer your resistance to goals, you’ll be unstoppable!
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