5 ways to overcome your inner resistance
Did you start the new year with a sense of excitement about all the possibilities 2017 could hold for you?
Maybe you want to grow your business, find a new job or carve out more time for the people and activities that mean the most to you.
But, if you’re anything like me, it’s one month into the new year and despite your best intentions, your momentum is slowing down. It isn’t because you’re lazy, weak or unmotivated. There is something deeper going on.
The truth is, we’re wired to resist change.
Why? Doing something new challenges us to stretch (uncomfortable!), to step into uncertainty (daunting!) and to risk the possibility of failure (scary!). Naturally, our brains (and egos) kick into protective mode in order to keep us anchored safely where we are.
But here’s the tricky part: it’s incredibly easy to rationalize why we aren’t making the progress we want. A few of the reasons I’ve used? It’s too busy at the office. I’m juggling too much with the kids and work. I’ll get to it when things quiet down (which of course, they never do!). Can you relate?
One of my goals this year is connecting with more women through speaking engagements. This means consistent outreach to organizations that need speakers. I got off to a flying start with a flurry of activity at the beginning of the month. But last week slipped by and my efforts were minimal. I got curious. What was going on here? I realized it was because I’d decided to do something different: make some calls instead of relying exclusively on email. This felt less comfortable to me so I unconsciously prioritized other work.
Here are 5 strategies to help you melt resistance when it’s getting between you and what you want. (I’m using them right now to help me pick up the phone!)
- Acknowledge your emotions. It doesn’t take much for feelings of frustration and self-criticism to surface when things don’t go as planned. Recognize that resistance is a normal protective mechanism. Don’t beat yourself up – that will only slow you down further.
- Remember your why. What motivated you to choose this goal? How will life be different for you and others when you achieve it? Reminding yourself why something is important to you can help you summon the courage to take the next step.
- Reframe change as growth. The word change often triggers a fear narrative: what if things don’t work out, what if I fail, what if people judge me? Growth means “an evolution over time; an expansion, an increase in value…a process towards fulfillment.” That feels far more motivating!
- Take bite-sized steps. It’s easy to get derailed by setting unrealistic expectations that you don’t meet, and then feeling it’s time to quit. Breaking your big goal into smaller steps that you’ll actually do is a much surer path to success.
- Tap into your resilience. When you do something new, expect that there will be setbacks. The critical thing is how you react to them. If you can learn from them instead of seeing them as proof you’ve failed, you’ll be able to course correct and keep moving forward.
I think Steven Pressfield got to the heart of it when he wrote:
“Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”
Here’s to unleashing the life you really want to live!