Yesterday I woke up and had one of those slow-moving days. I was up until 1am the night before, which resulted in a very groggy next morning. Needless to say I wasn’t nearly as productive as I wanted to be that morning, and as a glanced at my calendar and list of daily to-dos, I saw “go to the gym” (circled for added emphasis). “Blah” the last thing I felt like doing today was going to the gym, even though I KNEW I’d feel amazing if I went! My gym partner (and new fiancé) was gone, and he may have taken a bit of my motivation with him…
I walked past my gym shoes at least 10x, charged my iPod, and even planned my workout. I was really good at planning, but it’s the doing that I needed some help with today… What was holding me back? Leadership expert Michael Hyatt believes that “our goals represent the things that matter the most to us.” I agree- so why didn’t I feel like going to workout, something I knew would get me closer to my goal?!
The answer was resistance! Author Steven Pressfield compares resistance to a “destructive force of nature that arises whenever we face a tough, long-term course of action that might do for us or for others something that is actually good.” We encounter resistance any time we try to do something important, and for me, right now that was getting my butt in the gym, because once I was there it’s not like I hesitated to lift weights. Haha I was avoiding the easy part of driving there, not the hard part of actually working out!
Let’s talk about resistance, since there is good and bad. Resistance can be defined as “a force that makes an action more difficult than it needs to be.” For me this was showing up as a trip to the gym, but there are so many other ways people experience resistance- can you relate? That day there were two types of resistance ahead of me- the internal and the external. The internal resistance was this made up struggle in my mind and the external was the helpful kind, that causes my muscles to contract (resistance training with weights 🙂 Both types tear you down, but the external kind builds you back up stronger and the internal kind deforms your spirit and stunts personal growth.
What are you supposed to do when hit with this feeling of resistance? Well first, acknowledge what is actually going on. When you can’t bring yourself to do something you KNOW you should be doing, something you know is good for you, then you can bet the resistance is all in your mind. It’s important to be able to get out of your head! For me this required some outside motivation and I knew exactly where to find it. I popped in my headphones and turned on the only audible book that I keep on hand at all times, the inspiring (and butt-kicking) work by Steven Pressfield- The War of Art. It was exactly what I needed to hear!
So when I finally got in my car I laughed, embarrassed almost at how much harder I had made this whole process than it needed to be. I know I’m not alone, and I felt so inspired to share this little hiccup I experienced because I know there are some of you out there who can relate, and (hopefully) benefit from this story of tiny triumph! I’ve learned that when you can string together enough tiny triumphs, you have an arsenal of success with overcoming resistance, and you are so much more motivated to continue on that positive path, you are well on your way to personal success!
I re-committed to my goals last night. The only kind of resistance I want to invite into my lifestyle is the kind that makes increases the my strength, tone, endurance and provides that well-deserved muscle ache the next day. Keep things simple. Keep things easy. Keep yourself on track. Remember WHY you made those goals in the first place!
Have questions or want to share your own “overcoming resistance” success story? We’d LOVE to hear from you! Share your tiny triumph with me in the comments below! And if you need a little extra motivation, own it and look for a way to find that motivation. If you’re looking for help go ahead and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll chat about some ways to overcome whats holding you back, you may be surprised at how easy it can be 🙂
Live your WHOLE life,
Shannon + Meg
Hi Shannon & Meg,
I love Pilates, but struggled to go to class until I signed up at a studio with small classes that have to be booked in advance. It helps that the teacher is amazing and that the atmosphere is encouraging. I now get to two or three classes a week depending on my schedule. If I miss classes the teacher emails me to see if I’m okay. We all have to find something we like doing, and a system of accountability. It helps to have a workout buddy or someone like my Pilates teacher checking up on me. Here’s to abs of steel.
Shannon Sullivan says
Hi Sheryl, thanks for your comment! That is so great that you found an accountability partner in the form of your pilates teacher 🙂 It’s so much harder to make up excuses for another person than when you only have to convince yourself. You’ve found a good thing there, congrats!