Battling Resistance again

Photo courtesy of Rennett Stowe (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Rennett Stowe (Creative Commons)

Saturday mornings I look forward to my long runs. I go early, so it is quiet, I often see wildlife, and I have a huge feeling of satisfaction when I am finished.

But this week, I almost didn’t go. I didn’t feel great when I got up, allergies were bothering me, legs were sore, and I just wanted to listen to the voice that was suggesting I go back to bed. Yeah, you know that voice. The voice that gets louder when you are about to do something good, challenging and healthy.

Author Steven Pressfield describes this voice as “Resistance” in his books The War of Art and Turning Pro. I picture Resistance as a robed monster creeping around me trying to convince me to be dull and average. And sadly, he shows up again every day.

It is hard to ignore that voice, especially when it gets insistent. There are several things I do that help quiet that voice:

  • Anticipate – I know that Resistance will show up every day without fail, but having a plan in place does lessen the impact early on. If I focus on working my plan, the voice gets softer.
  • Recognize – the key first step is recognizing that what you are hearing is the voice of Resistance.
  • Reflect – on days like Saturday when I feel myself starting to give in, I reflect on the consequences of listening to Resistance. For instance, I knew I would miss my opportunity for a long run for the week (time and schedule don’t allow it other days) and that would lead to feelings I’d rather avoid.
  • Start – Resistance hates it when you get moving. It’s much easier to give in when you are still. As difficult as it was, I put on my running clothes and started my stretches, and by the time I finished, I was mentally and physically ready to go run.
  • Habits – Building habits for those things you feel are most important can combat Resistance by helping you stay on autopilot. It’s easier to ignore that voice if you have a set routine that you move through. My morning involves getting up early to pray, write and run, and my day feels off-balance when I skip any of those elements.
  • Repeat – Because Resistance is relentless, you will need to follow these steps every day, probably more than once a day. Be prepared for battle!

Some days, it takes real strength and focus on your goals and dreams to shut off that voice of Resistance. But the rewards are immense when you are successful.

And on Saturday? Yes, I fought Resistance, ran 10.5 miles, and felt great the rest of the day!

How have you battled Resistance lately?