The resistance. We've all felt it. We know we have things to do. And somehow, hours and then days slip by and we just can't make ourselves get it done. I'm sharing six tips to help you overcome the resistance and make things happen in your life. It's gonna be awesome.
How to overcome the resistance
Not long ago, I was listening to an episode of the Food Blogger Pro podcast about how to avoid resistance in your work. I found it super helpful, and it helped me recognize when I was coming up against resistance in my own work. Since then, I've been working on some of my own ways to overcome the resistance, so I'm sharing them with you.
Whether you're trying to build your own business like me, or you're striving to show up for your family in the best possible way, or you just want to become the best knitter in your neighborhood, you're probably going to have some moments where you just don't want to do the damn thing.
If the thing is truly inconsequential, don't do it. But if not doing the thing means making no progress toward your goals, we've got to figure out how to work through that resistance and make it happen. What we want most is at the top of the mountain. We only get there if we keep climbing. Step by step, day after day until we get to the top, even when we feel like taking a nap on the slope might just be the very best thing ever. Let's get into it.
Change your story
I've talked before about how developing a gratitude practice has changed my life, and it's helpful here as well. Instead of worrying about all the thing I have to do, I try to remind myself that I get to write blog posts and take pictures of food. Maybe it doesn't make me any money yet, but someday it will. But only if I keep working at it. True, the world will not end if I don't finish a post, but it's not taking me in the direction of my dream to sit and watch Russell Brand on YouTube for three hours.
I get to create and inspire people. How beautiful is that? And sure, there are boring parts. But if I can learn to be grateful for that, to change my story and know that I am lucky, blessed even, to do this work, it seems so much more important. Mindset is magic. Use it to shift your vibe.
Stay focused on the bigger picture
Have you ever found yourself suddenly reorganizing your pantry or cleaning out the garage when you know you have a deadline looming? This is the resistance. Your brain will find all sorts of other admittedly important things to do to feed your resistance. And while your pantry or garage might be an actual hot mess, is that really the number one priority? Is it taking you to the top of your mountain? Or could it wait until you get that proposal finished or your website updated?
I love to make lists, and I write out a task list for myself every morning. I could never get into time blocking. This works better for me. When there's a lot going on, I go a step further and rank that list by high, medium, and low priority. Then I simply let go of the mediums and lows until the high priority list is complete. When it gets really crazy, even the high priority list is further prioritized. Focus on what's most important. Do that first and don't let yourself get sucked in to the low priority stuff.
Ask for help
Sometimes you just can't do it all yourself. Let people know you need help. Whether it's asking your spouse or partner to pitch in more or speaking to your boss to see if something can be taken off your plate, or even hiring someone to do the things you don't love, a little help is essential.
Help can also come in a more intangible form. Sometimes you just need a little accountability and a little motivation. I've teamed up with a few friends to form an accountability group, sort of our own little mastermind. Speaking your goals out loud to other humans greatly improves the probability of those goals being accomplished. That's just science. And if I'm feeling resistance to something, I know I have a group of friends I can go to. They'll give me five minutes to feel sorry for myself, then remind me to get over it and handle my ish. It's brilliant.
Start with the easy stuff
Sometimes a task can seem so large and overwhelming, you avoid it just because you don't know where to start. There are so many metaphors and cliches about this, it's not even funny. But the prevailing wisdom is true. You just have to get started. And usually once you do, the work starts to flow more easily, and you realize it wasn't as bad as you thought.
For example, when I'm feeling a bit of writer's block, I'll start just by putting the elements of my blog posts in place. Adding photos, recipe cards, the stuff every post has. I get the basic structure and shape in place. And usually, once that's done, I find I do have something to say about chicken or pie or whatever. Start with the easy stuff. Just take one step. The next one usually follows much more easily.
Take a break
This may seem counterintuitive. I'm over here talking about motivation and how to get things done. Why on earth would you take a break? Isn't that all we've been doing? Well, yes and no. What we've been doing is stressing out about how we don't want to do the thing. Sometimes if you release the thing and do something that will shift your perspective or change your vibration, you suddenly find yourself back in alignment with the thing you were resisting.
Here are a few ideas that I find helpful.
- Take a walk, even if you're in lockdown. I walk in circles around my apartment sometimes. It's better than continuing to sit and worry.
- Put on some high vibe music. Whatever makes you feel good.
- Dance to that high vibe music. Even if you look dorky.
- Sing, to the music or just on your own.
- Take a shower.
- Take a short nap.
- Do some yoga. My favorite is a quick crow pose to literally change my perspective. But even some shoulder rolls and a quick forward fold can help to release tension.
Anything that will shut your mind down for like 20 or 30 minutes to let your brain settle can be helpful. Stop resisting and find a new flow.
Friends sometimes ask me how I stay motivated while working from home. The simple answer is deferred gratification. I'm not exactly a morning person, but I would rather get up and get things over with than sleep late and have to work until it's bedtime again. The sooner I finish my work, the sooner I can do something fun.
I love to use a timer to keep myself on track and not get swept away and let what was meant to be a five minute break suddenly turn into an hour of scrolling on Instagram. I definitely use chocolate as a reward throughout the day. But mostly it's the promise of free time that I'm working toward. Get up, get going, and keep your eyes on the prize. Then you'll have time to have a glass or wine or give yourself a pedicure at the end of the day. Decide on something that would motivate you, and make sure you actually treat yourself. You worked hard. You deserve it.
These are just some of the things that help me stay motivated and overcome the resistance to my creative work. What do you do when resistance rears it's pretty, tantalizing head? Let me know in the comments. I'm sure we could all use as many ideas as we can get.
And remember that even if you didn't make as much progress as you wanted, you still get to love and forgive yourself. Take a deep breath, and decide how you're going to do better tomorrow. It's gonna be awesome.