Many people regard their resistance to getting things done as “the enemy.”
But what exactly is resistance? Basically it’s that feeling of being distracted that stops you in your tracks and diverts your attention to any kind of displacement activity. For example, you know you must get up in the morning and fill in your tax return, but that feeling of “I can’t be bothered” creeps in and before you know it you are doing everything else except the dreaded task that needs doing, and it gradually becomes more and more urgent.
It can also affect things you actually want to do but fear you might fail to accomplish, or that you know will require effort.
“I must get stronger and fight my resistance to getting this job done,” said one of my clients recently. But doing battle with your resistance is just as futile as was King Canute’s effort to stop the tide coming in. Not only can you never win, but fighting your resistance merely makes it stronger. It’s like trying to lose weight – willpower alone is not enough.
As we have seen, it’s because whatever you focus on becomes your dominant thought, which means that your mind will create more of it for you. Therefore, if you obsess about your resistance, or think about it whenever you try to do something, your resistance will inevitably become stronger.
I would like to offer a much more intelligent strategy, and one that is far more likely to give you the results you want, and as usual it begins with heightening your self-awareness. That’s where you resistance actually does you a favour, for when you find yourself resisting a particular task or action, it’s like a huge signpost saying “focus your attention here,” meaning focus on the task and getting it done, not on your resistance. When you see a road sign directing you to the route you want, you don’t think about the sign. You see it, but you think about which way to go. It’s the same principle.
Now your mind will support you. By focusing on your next step to accomplish the chosen task, you create more of the appropriate action, or more powerful action and, hey presto, the job is well on the way to being done.
There are many possible applications for this technique, such as achieving your goal, getting over writers’ block or addressing an issue you’ve been avoiding.
If you are working towards a major goal that’s going to take some time, chunk the goal down into small steps and tackle them one at a time. This way you start to see progress sooner so you feel encouraged. If you find yourself procrastinating, then try the signpost technique.
The techniques I have used to achieve my biggest and most ambitious goals have been exactly as I describe in these articles. Why not try some of them and see if they can help you too? Let me know how you get on.
Dave’s coaching work, or The North London Coaching Community: www.daverobsoncoaching.co.uk
Dave’s groundbreaking book, The Five Pillars of Happiness: www.thefivepillarsofhappiness.com
Dave’s blog: www.weeklywordsofwisdom.wordpress.com