I don’t really feel like getting up to tuck in the dog.
I love him but he has this annoying habit of waiting until I get all settled in, happy and content under my own blanket, fixated on the tv, and THEN he starts whining. And whining. And whining…
Tuck me in! Tuck me in! Tuck me in! So annoying.
I feel the familiar shadow of resistance start to creep up. Why does he always wait until I am all tucked in to start whining!? And he is perfectly capable of tucking himself in…
Without even realizing it, I start to get locked into the classic resistance trap characterized by that ‘all or nothing’ thinking.
Do I get up and tuck him in feeling resentment the whole time (especially because he is just going to wiggle around and want to be tucked in again 10 minutes from now)?
Or do I avoid the whole thing and ignore him with guilt while I listen to him whine? And whine. And whine…
Neither option feels attractive. In fact, both options leave me feeling powerless. When I get locked into that resistance trap my creativity and perspective shrinks and I am not able to see any other options.
If you ever get locked into the resistance mindset, here are some ideas to help you manage and overcome it so that it doesn’t hold you back from creating what you want in life.
Investigate Cause & Effect
It can be helpful to understand where the resistance is coming from and how it is impacting our decisions.
Typically, resistance shows up when we have thoughts such as, “I have to…”, “I should…”, “I don’t want to…”. All of these thoughts hint at a lack of agency and power over our decisions.
These thoughts are an attempt by our brain to correct us and keep us on track, but they usually have quite the opposite effect.
Resistance typically causes me to avoid something or use willpower to move forward with it.
The avoidance can look like distracting myself, trying to get someone else to do it, or procrastinating.
The willpower sparks an internal battle that causes me to put in a half-hearted effort, drag my feet or otherwise sabotage the effort.
All of this avoidance, resistance, and willpower can be exhausting. Especially if it becomes the default pattern of accomplishing things.
Knowing that the survival brain has good intent but with ill effect can help us build some compassion for ourselves.
We can also use the appearance of resistance as a signal that a change is required.
Become More Intentional
There are 3 strategies under this category that help me tremendously when managing resistance:
- Decisions 24 hours in advance: I tell my brain that I can do anything that I want, including eat a tub of ice cream, forego my daily run, play hooky, or whatever comes up, as long as I make the decision 24 hours in advance. When I am tempted to avoid a task and distracting myself with something else, I promise that I can do that very thing 24 hours from now (if I should still desire).
- Tracking progress: If your brain is anything like mine, you might have the tendency to forget your accomplishments or minimize them in an effort to focus on the failure. Tracking progress is a great reminder to recognize and celebrate your accomplishments, however small they might be.
- Set aside “free time” in your calendar: When we overschedule ourselves and start to feel overburdened by all of the pressures and demands that we put on ourselves, it can be helpful to have some time set aside every day where nothing is asked of us.
Explore Other Options
When we get locked in to our ‘black and white’, ‘all or nothing’ thinking it can seem like there are no options.
Or at least no GOOD options.
A couple of ways to open your perspective are to consider other options in advance, when your brain isn’t feeling the pressure of making a decision in the ‘heat of the moment’.
With regards to my dog and his requests to be tucked in at inopportune times, I ask myself
- What are some other options that I could consider?
- How do I want to feel in that moment?
- How can I create other feelings, other than resentment and guilt?
Exploring these ideas in advance can help me feel more powerful in the moment.
The reason that I love coaching is that it reminds me that I have agency, the power to choose my response and show up the way that I want to in any situation.
With a bit of intention, mixed with a healthy belief in myself and my abilities, I can create any result that I want to.
Although I know this intellectually, to internalize and experience it on an emotional level is a whole different story. That is the beauty of coaching.
The other benefit of coaching is that it requires me to take a look at all of the ways that I have options. Exploring a path (multiple paths, in fact!) by which I can create the results that I want.
This can be a little scary at first.
It is so much easier to assign blame than it is to take responsibility; however, it really is the key to developing agency, taking control and realizing our dreams.
If you feel like you are struggling with resistance and it is causing you to show up in unintentional ways in your life, I encourage you to set up a free coaching consultation with me today.