I once heard “The amount of resistance you have to doing something is proportionate to the amount of benefit you will get when you actually do it.” The person who said that was talking to someone who was resistant to actually getting out her bills, looking at her bank account and debt to formulate a plan but I believe it applies to many projects and events in our lives.
One of my favorite books is Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art (not to be confused with Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.) The War of Art describes that when we are trying to live up to our potential, we are going to face resistance. Resistance can come in many forms (i.e haters and external obstacles) but the REAL resistance is our own internal resistance. We choose something that is easier or more comfortable because even though it isn’t in line with our highest self, it’s familiar and we know how to navigate. We stay stuck because we are afraid. Fear of new ventures never goes away and yes we lose things along the way. But the things we lose are marginal compared to what we gain for doing the work to become the person we know we are meant to be.
It’s easy to talk ourselves out of the best option in exchange for a good option. What I mean is I can have on my calendar to write a blog post…. but the bathroom needs to be cleaned or I need to check the stats for whatever Facebook ad campaign is running now. Cleaning the bathroom and checking ad stats are not BAD things to do. They both actually have to be done at some point. I’m not blowing off work to go get ice cream with my friends at 10 AM on a Tuesday. But the good task is then the enemy of the best task and that is writing a blog post. It’s easy to say that we are waiting for x or y: the right time, the fear to go away, etc… But the truth is, there is never going to be a perfect time and fear will never completely go away. We can’t wait for inspiration to strike. We much put in the work day in and day out and enjoy the process on the way to the goal.
I got the idea for this post thinking about the opening of my gym, Condition Kettlebell (which was 10 years ago last Friday.) I moved across the country back to a city I love but had ZERO reputation in the fitness community. I opened a space with no following because I knew it was what I was supposed to do at the time. I remember sitting in the parking lot of Target picking up the last of the supplies to open and Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry” came on the radio. I felt especially connected with the lyrics, “I’ve gotta get a move on with my life. It’s time to be a big girl now.” I remember thinking, “What are you doing??”
I had moved from San Diego where I had a pretty easy, comfortable corporate job and an inexpensive apartment less than a mile from the beach and great friends. But I wasn’t living up to my potential. I wasn’t doing what I felt I was MEANT to do. It wasn’t easy to move back to Atlanta, open a space and live in the storage room (for almost 4 years!) but I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. My life would be completely different if I had chosen to stay in a comfortable life and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be nearly as fulfilled. And I struggle with resistance DAILY. I sometimes label it as “procrastination” but it really is resistance because of fear of putting myself out there. Pressfield’s book explains that resistance/fear is a struggle for everyone – some just seem to hide better than others.
These principles also apply to starting a new exercise and nutrition plan. It’s comfortable to not count calories and sleep that extra hour in the morning. It can be intimidating to walk into a gym and maybe when you get fit your friends will make fun of you and you will feel like you don’t fit in as much as you did when you all sat around drinking margaritas and eating chips and salsa every weekend. It’s difficult to make big life changes. And let’s be honest, it can seem like a BIG life change to start a new regimen or routine. But the more resistance you feel, the more benefit is waiting on the other side. At the end of the day I’ve never said “I really wish I didn’t workout today” or “I really wish I had that second piece of pie.” It can seem daunting and like it can be a big downer, but the positives FAR outweigh the negatives. Not only will you feel better, look better and move better but you’ll be proud of yourself for keeping your commitments. You can do this.
I have a “Badass button” (distributed by Jen Sincero, author of You are a Badass) and I’ll leave you with one of my favorite phrases…