The Secret to Beating Resistance
In last week’s blog, The Face of Resistance, we talked about the power of resistance, especially when we are trying to make important life changes. So, you already know that the routines and habits we develop can serve us well such as making us more efficient and keeping us safe. You also learned that these same habits can create a lot of resistance that keeps us stuck in negative routines (or ways of being) that we are trying so hard to change!
So the question becomes, then, how is beating resistance possible?
There is one primary way – and it may even be the only way – of beating resistance. We must find the achilles heel, so we can cripple it’s power over us. Do you know what that is?
The achilles heel of resistance is action.
The only hope you have of beating your resistance is first by accepting it as a normal and expected response to any process of change. You will learn to recognize the many faces of resistance as it repeatedly rears its head along the way. You can’t outwit your own resistance (it comes from you!) and you certainly can’t outrun it because resistance, my friend, is always one step ahead of you. In fact, your only hope of overcoming resistance is taking action!
You can almost always predict the action you need to take in the face of resistance. It is likely to be, quite literally, the opposite of what resistance is telling you to do. If resistance says, “Go ahead and give up. You’ll fail anyway.” Then what do you know you must do? Keep going, of course! If resistance says, “Don’t go workout today. You’re tired. You deserve a rest.” Then what must you do? Get up right now and go workout! If resistance says, “No need to put in for that promotion. You probably won’t get it. You know they all like Sam better than you.” What must you do? Put in for the promotion!
Resistance is the voice of your subconscious desire to keep things low-key, safe and to avoid risks at all cost…even if this means you’ll never meet your ultimate goals, such as a promotion. This push-pull discomfort you feel when trying to make decisions is often your future self, if I can put it that way (or the person you want to be), tugging against resistance, which strives to keep you exactly as you are. And boy, does resistance have a ton of good arguments, right?
The truth is that beating resistance becomes a full-time job for the successful. The good news is that you can become skilled at recognizing it and subduing it. The even better news is that you can learn to revel in it. After all, what great fisherman feels the thrill of the catch without the battle of skills against an equally determined aquatic bull that will resist to the end! An easy victory feels more like a defeat, doesn’t it? So rather than being frustrated, enjoy the hunt and the thrill of beating back your own resistance and emerging – in a much better place – the victor!
Your Daily mFIT Challenge
If you didn’t do last week’s challenge, start there. You’ll first need to notice what you’re resistance so you can pick a target. Or if you already have a target in mind, that’s fine too. Here’s the challenge (an example is listed below the challenge):
- Step 1: Pick one thing that you want to improve.
- Step 2: Decide what accomplishing this one thing would look like; meaning, how will you know that you’ve accomplished it? This is crucial. You must know what your target truly is in order to succeed.
- Step 3: List specific action steps that would make this happen (i.e., how to reach your target).
- Step 4: Order your list of action steps in terms of difficulty.
- Step 5: Starting with the easiest step, take action on a daily basis toward that goal. It doesn’t matter how small the step is. Just take this one small step daily or as frequently as possible.
- Step 6: Once you feel totally comfortable and okay with the first step, move on to the next action step. Feeling comfortable means that you are no longer resisting this action in a way that would prevent you from taking it in the future. Don’t be in any hurry! It takes time to develop new habits, remember?
- Step 7: Proceed through your list of action steps until you reach your target goal.
- Step 8: Maintain faithfully for at least 60-90 days, then re-assess.
- How loud is resistance now?
- How comfortable are you in your new routine?
- Can you maintain your target goal with only minimal effort?
- Step 9: Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate!!!!
- Step 10: Make your next mFIT goal and repeat.
Example of mFIT Challenge
Gloria is very shy and has a hard time talking to people unless she knows them very well. This makes things very awkward for her socially. Her goal is to be able to talk with people easily, at least at work, so she can feel more comfortable and make friends. These are steps Gloria might take for beating resistance.
- Step 1: Pick a target.
- Gloria wants to improve social skills.
- Notice how vague and undefined the goal is. This is why we do Step 2.
- Step 2: Make the goal very specific, defining success:
- Success would mean talking to co-workers with ease (i.e., not feeling nervous or feeling like she has nothing to say).
- Success would also mean developing relationships that included eating lunch with them (instead of alone) and enjoying it or going out occasionally with them after work and enjoying it.
- Success would mean NOT avoiding social encounters at work.
- Success would mean no longer feeling nervous over social issues when driving to work every morning.
- Step 3 & 4: Action Steps (we put them in order of difficulty).
- Looking people in the eyes and saying “hi” as she passes them in the office.
- Greeting people as they come in or pass by her desk. Again, just saying hi and smiling.
- Extending the greeting beyond “hi” by saying something like, “Hi, how are you today?” Or “Hi, how was your weekend? Do anything fun?” This also means being prepared to talk about how she’s doing or what she did over the weekend.
- Note that this helps her learn about people’s interest or activities.
- This automatically gives her something to talk about at a later encounter.
- She might also write personal information down in her contacts about each person so that she can remember personal things about them for later.
- Up to this point, all the encounters have been by “chance,” nothing she has initiated. Now it’s time to up the ante by approaching co-workers at their desks and initiating conversation.
- She will need to be prepared with several specific questions and be prepared to answer similar questions in return.
- Asking someone’s advice about work or personal matters is a greta ice-breaker and subtitling suggests that she trusts them.
- Eat lunch with co-workers.
- Go outside the office with co-workers.
The remaining steps all stem from Steps 1-4, so we can end the example here. Hopefully, this gives you and idea how to start you own challenge.
Take the Challenge a Step Further: Post Your Target
On our Facebook Page, post what your target for change is and keep us updated on how it is going. We support you in your mental fitness journey!