What if there is a shapeless intangible force in your life that is preventing you from growth and stopping you from getting things done? A force that doesn’t have your best interest at heart.
What if this force is arising from within you and not from the outside?
Allow me to explain.
All of us know that there are certain things we can do to better our lives, whether it’s exercising daily, getting up early, practising meditation etc. However, we often find it difficult to garner the motivation to bring ourselves to do these things.
It may be the same case even in your work, where you have a good idea of what needs to be done, but you keep avoiding it and procrastinate.
You know doing these things can have a positive impact in your life or work, but there is a force that’s stopping you, and your mind comes up with all sorts of reasons to keep putting it off.
This force is what is commonly referred to as resistance.
This is one of the main reasons why people have such a hard time getting round to meditate. While many would like to try it, the thought of actually sitting down for a few minutes to meditate makes them feel uncomfortable. And soon enough, their mind comes up with reasons to convince them that maybe meditation is not their cup of tea. But meditation is just but one example.
Resistance can also appear in the form of laziness or hesitancy towards doing something that needs to be done.
This force is so pervasive that it’s present in almost every area of our lives and prevents us from, doing the smallest of things, to adopting new habits.
Incorporating many of the habits and practices I’ve talked about in the blog like the ones below are all perfect examples of activities which require overcoming resistance to get started and maintain.
In this post, I’d like to share with you a few tips about doing things that are uncomfortable and maintaining habits despite resistance, so keep reading.
Understanding the nature of the mind
One of the keys to overcoming resistance lies in understanding the nature of our mind.
Our mind tends to prefer the known and comfortable and is wired to seek out the easiest way to feel good. We tend to be lazy and hesitant to do things that require effort or make us feel uncomfortable, since our natural tendency is to avoid feeling any discomfort.
One thing that our mind loves is instant gratification. If you look to your life you would realise that you never have to force yourself to check your messages, spend time on social media, binge-watch shows/videos, eat sugary foods etc.
There is usually almost zero resistance from our mind to do the things that provide us with instant gratification.
But the thing is, many of the things which can have a positive impact and add real value to our lives, are usually things that require a certain amount of work.
For example, maintaining a habit of regular exercise (which requires effort and enduring discomfort) is something that can have plenty of benefits in your life from better mood, more energy to more motivation etc.
Ultimately the rewards that come from doing the activities that require enduring discomfort can be more fulfilling and rewarding than chasing instant gratification. Therefore it helps to have the big picture in mind to help make our decisions more wisely.
Don’t let your mind deceive you
The mind can be very deceiving sometimes and can come up with very convincing reasons to not do something so that you don’t have to deal with any uncomfortable feelings.
When we begin feeling discomfort most of us automatically tend to talk ourselves out of doing something, simply because the natural tendency of our mind is to avoid facing discomfort.
Our mind loves to be in control and finds comfort in routines and predictability. The discomfort we feel is merely the feeling of stepping outside our comfort zone (out of our usual routines or into the unknown).
However don’t let the discomfort convince you that doing a certain activity or taking up a new habit isn’t for you.
Focus on the rewards
Look at the reward for finishing or doing the activity. If it’s exercising, think of how much better and energised you will feel once you are done. This is what I do on the days I am feeling too lazy or hesitant to get started.
While I love to read books and magazines, I often face tremendous resistance to get started.
The thought of opening YouTube and spending some time watching videos usually seems
more tempting and easier to my mind. However, reading makes me feel relaxed and inspired like few other activities can. And reminding myself of the way it can make me feel helps me to get started.
Just get started
When it comes to getting over resistance, it all really boils down to taking action. Everything becomes easier once you start.
If you are waiting to feel motivated before doing something or picking up a new habit, you can go on waiting forever. Motivation is fickle and can’t be trusted since it will come and go.
Blogger and author James Clear says the problem is not doing the work, it's starting the work. Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it.
I couldn’t agree more with this statement when I examine my life. And I find it to be absolutely true for me when it comes to writing articles, exercising and meditation.
He says the key to adopting new habits is to make it so easy to start taking action, that you can’t say no to it.
He suggests an easy way to get started with new habits is by using something called The 2-Minute Rule. The two minute rule states that, “When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.”
Suppose you are aiming to make a habit of meditating for 10 minutes every day, here’s what you can do.
Start by meditating two minutes a day for a couple of weeks. And then slowly and steadily increase the time at a pace that you feel comfortable with until ten minutes seems easy and doable.
Suppose you want to devote more time to reading. Devote 10 minutes a day to reading for a month and then slowly and steadily increase the time.
Making a habit of running away from discomfort is a sure way to limit us from fulfilling our potential and lead the best life we can. There is only so much growth that occur in our comfort zone
When you face resistance, tell yourself you are stronger than these uncomfortable sensations and you won’t let it dictate your life and make decisions for you.
So what new habit are you going to pick up today?
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