Have you ever had a task to do but just could not seem to get it started, much less completed? Why? Why do we procrastinate? NO matter how important, enjoyable or helpful our task might be?

It’s resistance.

resistance is the force we encounter whenever we try to: be productive, healthy, creative, or disciplined about anything.

If you have ever listened to the voice in your head that gave you a good reason not to do something hard or beneficial you have faced resistance. If you ever decided that now was just not the right time, or maybe something else needed to be done instead, you have faced resistance. If you have ever talked yourself out of making an effort, you have faced resistance. And, all to often, resistance wins… just look at your to-do list. (cue scary music)

In a masterful little book: The WAR of ART, Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Author Steven Pressfield describes this ubiquitous force and what you can do about it. His vantage point is that of a writer so he describes resistance in terms of things that interfere with being creative. But his analysis applies all challenging, positive and productive things that: need, ought or could be done for your betterment or the betterment of the people you care about.

One of the places that resistance is strongest is around health and fitness. Adopting and practicing healthy behaviors is hard. Exercise, good nutrition and getting quality rest takes discipline, knowledge and ultimately a great deal of effort (it’s worth it).

It is your effort that resistance strives to interrupt or destroy.

Even if your wellness practices are things you love, there is still an amount of “effort-ing” that has to take place. Think of an example from your own experience. Perhaps it was a bike ride on a sunny day that you skipped because the gutters needed to cleaned. Maybe is was that time you were going to try a healthy new recipe but work got in the way. Or, when you were going to take the kids to the park for a game of kickball but got detracted by the T.V.. All of these are examples of things you skipped even though they were going to be fun or enjoyable.

It’s not the gutters, work or the T.V…. it’s RESISTANCE

Get used to looking for it. Ask yourself questions about why you are doing the things your doing and why they are being prioritized the way they are. If there is no pressing reason to be cleaning out the junk drawer or going for an extra long dog walk, it is likely resistance is at work.

Once you become familiar with what Resistance: feels like, sounds like and acts like you can take control of it. Once you take control of resistance it looses it’s power. It has no independent capacity to disrupt you. It needs your complicity.

You are unstoppable once you have recognized resistance and decided not to let it distract or interfere with what you are doing.

“This very moment, we can change our lives. There was never a moment, and there will never be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second we can turn the tables on resistance.” Steven Pressfield

Wow… alter your destiny?? YES, absolutely!

Once you are unstoppable, you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

Try it. Consider something that you really want or ought to do, make it an intention. Maybe something important like planning for the future. Maybe something fun like learning (or re-learning) how to play a musical instrument. Maybe getting in better shapeYou already know what it is.

Once you form your intention, take action. See what happens. LOOK for resistance, it’s lurking in the mundane tasks, the fun activities, your work life, your social life and very much in the rational and real demands for your time. Take note of it. It might be useful to keep a resistance journal.

Put resistance in it’s place. You will continue do all the things you want, ought, and need to do. But now you can recognize when those things are being co-opted by resistance and prioritize as necessary.

Beating resistance is a day by day, minute by minute task. Take solace in small victories. Progress is minute gains over long time frames.

Soon enough you will look back and be amazed at how much you have achieved learning to recognize resistance and putting in it’s place!


George Curtis

All stories by: George Curtis