Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Motivation: Overcoming Mental Resistance


In the past month or so I found myself in a bit of a slump. My motivation levels dropped, which was really evident by my lack of action. I had the most difficult time doing some of the simplest things. The more I wanted to break free of the pattern, the more it persisted. Finally, I had enough. I made the decision to get back into the flow that I once had. But, for some reason, it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped.

It felt almost as something was stopping me from taking the action I knew I needed to take when I needed to take it. What was happening to me? After some thought I realized that I was battling resistance. Resistance is this force that keeps us from taking action. Most often resistance is internal. Rarely does something physical get in the way of us doing what we need to do. Resistance is invisible, but it’s stronger that we think. It starts off small. A thought pops into our head telling or reminding us to take some type of action. Instead of doing it immediately, we choose to do something else (or nothing at all). Time passes, and soon we start feeling slightly guilty because that thing still needs to get done.
But instead of taking quick action, we avoid doing the thing. Another internal reminder pops up about the thing, and we mentally hit the snooze button, pushing it off further. Soon we start to feel worse about our inaction and, in order to cope, we spend our time in doing meaningless things to take our focus away from the necessary.

 Last week I was conducting a coaching session with one of the people I mentor.  She was dealing with this same internal resistance and it was beginning to impact her work performance.  "I know what I need to do", she says "but I just don't do it." Having dealt with something similar, I assured her that her issue can easily be overcome by trying a few different techniques.  I've used several tricks whenever I've battled resistance.  Depending on the situation, I like to try one or all of them at the same time.  

First and foremost, it's important to remember that there is absolutely nothing stopping me to take action.  From there, I just have to make a mental (or verbal) decision to do whatever it is I have been avoiding.  If I have a lot of things built up that I've been avoiding, it's easier for me if I write all of them down.  Everything.  Then I pick the easiest thing on the list and do it without thinking.  If I've been avoiding a call, I don't debate when the best time to call the person, I pick up the phone and dial.  Resistance comes into play when I start reasoning, planning, or making reasons.  When I operate with Zero Resistance, I am being un-reasonable (without reasons).  

It's also important to recognize when you are resisting doing something.  You are resisting when you are able to do something, but don't.  If I could have invested 10 minutes to meditate this morning but chose to do something else, I've resisted. The importance of identifying resistance is so we don't get down on ourselves about our choices.  When I stop blaming myself for being lazy or unmotivated, I can move to a place of power from which I can choose to create my present & future.  I say to myself "I'm allowing resistance to take over, so what do I want to do about it?"  Then suddenly I can change everything.  

The great thing about overcoming resistance is that once you get started in the right direction, you will start to experience this wonderful thing called momentum.  After momentum comes into play, suddenly it's easier to keep getting things done.  Resistance minimizes.  In his book The 10X Rule, Grant Cardone gave some great advice about fear.  He said that the more we feed into it, the more it grows.  The exact same thing can be said regarding resistance.  The more I avoid something, the stronger the resistance becomes.  The more action I take, the more motivated I feel and suddenly I want to conquer even more things I've been avoiding.  

Every time we do something in spite of resistance, we get a small surge of accomplishment sent directly to our brains.  If we keep feeding it, that feeling can become just as powerful and addictive as resistance once was.  So when I'm in a slump, I just know that I have to create enough momentum to move myself in a different direction.  If I just go to the gym, I know how good I feel about myself even if I only worked out for 30 minutes.  If I continue to take the  small steps resistance will fade and my motivation will grow.  


 

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