Supercharge Your Growth by Leaning Into Resistance
Updated: Jun 28, 2019
Do you ever feel strongly about wanting to work toward something, but every time you go to take action, something is holding you back? That feeling is a form of resistance, and contrary to what you might expect, it's not a reason to give up. The things we're resisting most often have the most significant potential to change our lives for the better. By taking a mindful approach, digging into where it's coming from and addressing the cause, we can move past it and grow more than we thought possible.
The most significant resistance I've overcome recently has been officially establishing my brand and sharing my story, through @themindfulmeg on Instagram, my website, and this blog. I had been through a year of significant change, including getting married, moving twice within a new country, starting to freelance full time and being diagnosed with lupus, when I realized there was a lot I wanted to share with the world. I had ideas about how to do it, but whenever it came to acting upon them, I would resist without knowing why.
It wasn't until I leaned into that resistance and started taking action that I realized all of the ways I was holding myself back. As soon as I pinpointed the fear that it was all stemming from, I began to overcome it. Each step I took towards my vision helped me to grow, gaining some serious momentum along the way!
Based on my experience, here's how you can overcome resistance to supercharge your personal growth:
1. Become mindful of what resistance looks like for you. It can often be found behind distractions because it's an uncomfortable feeling we'd rather not sit in. When I set out to complete a task and find myself constantly checking my phone, or getting the urge to get up and do something else - that's resistance! It comes with this niggly, underlying feeling of cognitive dissonance, because of the inconsistency between our desires and behavior.
2. Dig deep to find out where the resistance is originating. In my experience, it is almost always rooted in some form of fear - whether that's fear of failure, success, judgment, or something else. Instead of giving in to distractions, consciously feel it and take some time to look at the situation in different ways. Note that fear is tricky and sometimes one type can be disguised in the form of another (i.e., you may think you're scared of failing when really, you're afraid of success).
3. Address the root cause. Doing so will look different for everyone and might include working with a therapist or coach to overcome the limiting beliefs that are stopping you from taking action. I'm a big believer in asking for help when you need it and have worked with both therapists and coaches in the past. An expert, objective perspective can make all the difference in the world!
4. Break your next steps down into manageable tasks and make time and space to do them. Everyone loves making progress and checking off to-dos. By mindfully taking things one small step at a time, you'll be less likely to resist. Each task you complete will inspire motivation to do the next.
5. Once you've achieved your goal, celebrate it! Sit with how good it feels to have accomplished something that once felt out of reach and recognize how much you've grown. The more you do it, the more you'll want to overcome resistance the next time it pops up.
What's an example of resistance you've overcome, and what did you find was key to moving past it?