I wish I could draw. Because I would draw you my image of what author Steven Pressfield calls “Resistance.” In his books The War of Art and Turning Pro, Pressfield aptly describes that force that prevents us from writing or doing what we know we need to do.
In my mind, Resistance is a hooded, faceless creature, dark and ominous, quietly moving in front of those things I know I should do and encouraging me to turn around and do something else. Think images from the Harry Potter movies.
But sometimes Resistance can take other forms – for instance, a warm, cozy bed on a cold morning, or the lure of Facebook or surfing the internet or email.
Some days, like today, he can even take the form of something good – like the idea for this blog and the desire to sit down and write it – which is fabulous except that instead of Resistance blocking me from writing (which is the usual target), he is discouraging me from running.
I feel like I must suit up to do battle against Resistance every day. And some of the tactics of war that I employ against my opponent include:
- Recognizing Resistance in any shape he takes. He is a wily thing, and may attack you blatantly one day, and be sneaky and whisper in your ear the next. Identify him quickly and you have a better chance of combatting him.
- Building habits. By developing habits and schedules around the things you are passionate about, you will increase your chances of accomplishing your goals. Writing and running are two of my passions, so I have built the habit of getting up at the same time every day to write, and then go for a run. I don’t even really think about it anymore and it helps me stay consistent.
- Doing the hardest thing early in day. When you tackle the hardest task of your day first thing, not only can you celebrate having accomplished something great, but it will build your confidence to get more done during the day – and make Resistance shrink into the background.
- Finding an accountability partner. Find someone who can hold you accountable for consistently making progress, whether that’s a running or exercise buddy, mentor or friend. I find it is harder to allow myself to give in to Resistance if I’ve told someone else what I am working on or know I need to report back to them.
- Rewarding yourself. Periodically reward yourself for winning against Resistance. This is serious combat, so a treat after you reach a goal will keep you motivated.
The drawback of Resistance is that he will attack you afresh every day. But awareness and some battle plans will strengthen you in the fight. Are you ready? Let’s gooooo!
What does Resistance look like to you today?