Updated: Jul 20, 2021
What Resistance Looks Like
Have you ever felt resistance to doing your homework before? Uh...duh obviously. Ok, silly question.
I imagine you have experienced resistance many times in your life when you are faced with something you don't want to do. That could be homework, or chores, or exercising, or having a difficult conversation with a friend, or waking up early.
Resistance is a natural part of life. It's actually biologically pre-programmed into every person. Your brain's primary objective is to keep you alive and safe. One of the ways it does this is by conserving energy.
So when things seem difficult (i.e. they cost energy), your brain will find all sorts of clever ways to resist spending that energy. That might be the sudden urge to check Instagram or watch Netflix, it might be thinking things like, "This is stupid. I'm not going to do that," or "Oh I'm tired right now. I'll do it later." But we ALL know that you're not going to do it later.
See the brain is so clever and extremely good at what it does. It deserves a promotion if anything, or maybe a nice vacation.
Your brain works hard for you! Treat it well.
Resistance is not a good thing or a bad thing. It is just one of your natural protective mechanisms. But sometimes this natural mechanism can go overboard. Resistance could prevent you from doing necessary things. It could even prevent you from doing something you love!
It's like when I first learned to snowboard. The first time I went up the left, I fell. They had to stop the whole thing, and a whole bunch of people were just staring at me pitifully. Talk about embarrassing! After that magical moment, I proceeded to spend the next few hours falling on my rear end over and over again never making it more than a few feet down the mountain at a time. By the end, I was wet, sore, and my butt hurt like hell.
It would have been easy for me to quit right then. My brain was telling me, "Hey man, it's cold out. We are still pretty sore from yesterday too. Don't want to embarrass ourselves getting off the lift. Probably best if we just stay inside and relax by the warm fire." Very convincing arguments. But had I listened, I would have given up on something I love so much now.
Giving into resistance is not always in your best interest. If you are not careful, resistance can keep you stuck in the same place or make you miss out on enjoying life to its fullest.
Resistance: The Great Storyteller
The thing about resistance is that it is just your brain telling you stories. Ya know we all love a good story, and your brain is a master storyteller. And like all stories, some are more true than others, and some aren't true at all.
It may feel like it's all true because...hey why would your brain lie to you, right? Well just remember that your brain's job is not to tell you the truth. Your brain's job is to keep you alive and safe, and it will do that any way it can including lying to you. My God, the betrayal!
But no need to cut out your brain and donate it to a mad scientist conducting highly entertaining (and highly illegal) vampire-human brain crossover experiments just yet. Remember that your brain does this because it loooooves you.
Let's check out how this works. Let's take exercising for example. It is common knowledge that exercising is good for your heart, body, and mind. It makes you feel more energetic, helps you live longer, and makes you stronger. Yet so many people hate exercising. Why?
Exercising costs energy, and remember that your brain wants to conserve energy. So what does your brain do? It starts creating resistance!
You'll experience this resistance as thoughts like, "Ugh...I don't want to get sweaty and gross." You might also suddenly feel "tired" or "sick". You will probably also just feel a general repulsion to doing it. And even though logically you understand that exercise is good for you, you might not do it because of this resistance. So what can you do?
Quick aside: Ever tried taking a cold shower in the morning? Try that out if you REALLY want to experience some resistance! One time I paid money to sit half naked in a frozen lake in Canada. You think I might have experienced a little resistance with that?
Squash Resistance by Doing the Opposite: Accept It in All Its Glory!
The first thing you have to do to overcome resistance is notice that you are resisting. The best way to tell if you are resisting is whether or not you have done the thing you are supposed to do! If you haven't done it yet, then you are experiencing resistance.
Once you realize you have resistance, you need to call it out. Say to yourself, "I'm feeling resistance." Sometimes just calling out what you are feeling is enough to diffuse it. A little attention goes a long way.
If you are still feeling resistance even after you call it out, then ask that part of yourself why you are resisting.
Say, "Mr. Resistance (or whatever name you want to give it), why are you resisting?"
You might be surprised to find that part of you talks back and actually tells you the reasons why it is resisting!
Whatever that part of you tells you, reply by saying, "fair enough you feel that way and thank you for trying to protect me. And even though you are feeling [whatever it told you it was feeling], we are still going to do this. Don't worry. I'll be here with you the whole time. I got you."
After that, you should notice that your resistance levels drop or go away entirely, and you can get on with doing with whatever it is you are supposed to do.
Now go do your homework! You know you want to.