Today’s blog post is a guest post from Dani DiPirro, founder of Positively Present.
Do you ever find yourself resisting doing what you’re supposed to do? Even if it’s a part of your job that you love, you might hear a little voice in your head saying, Maybe it would be better to wait until tomorrow… As a writer, working from home, I’m faced with a lot of distractions—but the worst is my own internal resistance to doing what needs to be done, no matter how much I might enjoy a task. I’m a writer. I like writing. But sometimes I just feel myself resisting the urge to write, finding a million and one excuses not to do what needs to be done.
And then, not too long ago, I came across the words of Steven Pressfield—”The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance we will feel toward pursuing it”—and I instantly connected with them. I wasn’t resistant to doing things because I was on the wrong path; I was resistant because I was on the right path.
The right path is sometimes the harder path, the path that makes you push yourself and struggle and become better. The right path isn’t the path of least resistance. Sometimes it’s the path of most resistance, but Pressfield’s words have reminded me that the resistance need not be a roadblock. It can be transformed into fuel, something that can be used to propel forward instead of pushing back.
Resistance of the internal variety isn’t an easy thing to transform, but here are five steps for taking that negativity and turning it into something positive.
1. Focus on what you can do now.
The trouble with resistance is that it loves to remind you of all the ways you’ve failed before. When you start thinking of all the days you weren’t productive or all the times you didn’t cross an item off your to-do list, you start to feel really frustrated with yourself. This kind of thinking, I’ve found, can really hold you back. It’s a trick that the resistance uses to keep you resisting so instead of thinking about what happened in the past, it’s best to focus on the present. Don’t worry about what didn’t get done before. Just start thinking about what you can do right now.
2. Silence your inner brat.
We all have an inner brat—that nagging little voice of resistance that lists all the reasons why we should do something other than what we really need to be doing. She’s a persistent little thing—and armed with quite a few convincing arguments—so it’s important to be aware of her. Give her a little something—maybe take a ten-minute break when you’ve been working hard—but don’t give into her. I’ve learned how hard it is to say no, but I’ve also discovered that it can be kind of fun to resist the resistance.
3. Switch up your old routine.
Switching things up is a great way to combat resistance because it throws it off a little bit. If your routine isn’t working, the trick is to try something new to get back on track and revive your interest in whatever you need to achieve. If a new location isn’t an option, there are other ways to change it up: a new tactic, a new resource, a new idea—even a new notebook and pen could be a step in the right direction!
4. Be open to success.
When it comes to resistance, the more you have of it in your life, the harder it is to imagine life without it. If you embrace the resistance on a daily basis, you start to identify with it. It starts to become a part of who you are, a part of your routine. And, with it dominating your life, you close the door to success. The more resistance you face, the more success seems like a silly idea, rather than a tangible thing you’ll actually achieve. You have to open yourself up to success if you want it to become a reality.
5. Take one small step.
Resistance is most successful when it makes you feel incredibly overwhelmed by what you have to do. The more overwhelmed you are, the more likely you are to embrace the “there’s too much to do so I’ll do nothing” attitude. Feeling too overwhelmed can be paralyzing—it’s another trick resistance uses to keep you in a state of unproductivity. Combat the feeling of overwhelm by taking one small step in the direction of productivity. Even if you only do only one small thing, it’s a step in the right direction and a step away from resistance.
Dani DiPirro is the author of Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively Present and Live Happily Ever After Now: A Guide + Workbook for Living in the Present Moment. She is also the founder of PositivelyPresent.com a site dedicated to helping people live positively in the present moment. To check out Dani’s latest book, and watch the Stay Positive video, visit StayPositive365.com.