Resistance, procrastination, and fear (if all-consuming) are the three greatest stumbling blocks to ensure failure in anything that you set out to do. Fortunately, you can conquer these road blocks with the help of awareness and mindfulness to get you on the road to success.
First, let’s look at how resistance, procrastination, and fear lead to failure.
Let’s say your goal is to lose weight. The amount of weight is 25 pounds. This is where the internal scorekeeper shows up. In your brain, a big mental chalkboard appears with the goal of losing 25 pounds. On the left side of your mental chalk board you start writing all of your intentions. They may look something like this:
- I’m going to drop three sizes or three inches from my waste
- I’m going to look great in a bikini/muscle shirt
- I’m going to lose 25 pounds by February 1 (You decided to do this January 1)
- I’m really going to lose weight this time
- I’m going to choose the quickest fastest diet to get there
- I know I won’t have to eat this way forever I’ll make a sacrifice
- I’m starting now
Resistance is the first culprit. The bigger and grander the goal, the more resistance you will feel. This is where the thousands of excuses immediately start.
On the left side of your mental chalk board are the good intentions. On the right side of your mental chalk board are resistance, procrastination and fear.
The resistant list starts looking something like this (using losing weight as an example):
- If I lose 25 pounds, I’ll have to buy all new clothes and that’s going to be expensive.
- I won’t be able to eat hamburgers and French fries anymore.
- I’ve got a party next Saturday, so maybe I should start after that.
- I’m going to have to give up alcohol.
Enter the procrastination monster and the procrastination list:
- I didn’t go to grocery store and buy all of the healthy food I needed to buy.
- I got up late and didn’t bring a healthy lunch.
- It was a really stressful day at work and I needed a couple of beers to chill out. I’ll eat even less tomorrow.
- I got too busy and didn’t get my walk in today.
Fear comes along with an eraser and starts erasing the goals and replaces them with questions, condemnation, and doubt.
- How will I deal with the new attention when I’m at my ideal weight?
- My family is overweight too and they don’t like it when I don’t eat what they want to eat. What happens if they don’t love me when I lose weight?
- If I tell my friends I don’t want to go out drinking, maybe I will alienate them. I don’t want to lose my friends.
Failure, in this case, is failing to lose the weight you wish to lose.
Resistance, procrastination, and fear all come from being overwhelmed. If you look at all of the work, all of the steps and all of the commitment involved in a big goal, it is overwhelming. That is a fact. But no worthwhile goal happens all at one time.
When it comes to gaining weight, the weight didn’t happen overnight. It was a process of overeating and lack of exercise. The small, consistent actions over time multiplied to produce the weight issue.
That’s the good news, the silver lining!
The small actions that you take over time will get you to your goal. Taking small steps every day towards whatever goal it is that you have will eventually get you to your goal. That leads to success and not failure. And let me add, it’s easy to do and easy not to do.
Consistent action, persistence, and trust trump resistance, procrastination and fear.
Resistance keeps you stuck because you’re not moving. One law of physics (inertia) says that it is harder to move a stationary object than an object that is in motion.
I saw an interview with author, Steven Pressfield. He was talking about Resistance with a capital R. He calls it a law, just like the law of gravity. It shows up when you are planning to do something big and meaningful. That was so cathartic and affirming for me! It wasn’t my lack of willpower or strength, it was the law of Resistance! (I hope you find this freeing for you too!) His book, by the way, is The War of Art. EVERY creative person, perhaps even every person, needs this powerful, little book.
Failure ultimately comes from not even trying. If you give in to resistance, procrastination, and fear, you will fail. You won’t fail if you try. And by the way, that means to keep trying until you succeed.
When you start to feel resistance, when you start putting all of the reasons on the right side of your mental chalkboard, catch yourself. Say, “I’m resisting I’m procrastinating, or I’m afraid.” This is bringing these destructive forces to your awareness. Sit with this resistance, procrastination, or fear. Be mindful of it and ask what is the root cause.
Don’t write those steps on the right side of your mental checklist anymore. Stay focused on what your goals are. And by the way, make the goals realistic and attainable. (Losing 25 pounds in a month is not realistic and strict diets are not healthy.) Recognize resistance when you see it. When you do, you’ll find that it won’t turn into procrastination and a total shut-down.
When you are in action, you won’t be fearful. Trust in yourself and trust in your worthy goal. Trust also eliminates fear. When you love yourself and trust yourself, you will succeed. After all, it’s your goal, not anyone else’s goal.
Simply being aware and mindful of your internal dialogue, you can change that dialogue to empower you. You won’t be failing. You’ll be moving forward.
So, turn your resistance, procrastination, and fear from the direction of failure toward the success trifecta: consistent action, persistence, and trust.
This mindfulness means changing your mindset. A great way to silence these thoughts of resistance, procrastination, and fear is through meditation. I also trust in a Silent Partner to help me on this journey, which would be God. I know I need constant encouragement to live out the goals I have. God Notes – Daily Doses of Divine Encouragement offers this encouragement. These meditations: Be Still, Let it Go, and Trust can help too.
Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl of gastric holidays, can be filled with lots of guilt from indulging on the feast of culinary excess and guilt from family conflicts. As much as we love the classic Norman Rockwell painting of a loving family gathered around the table, some households may resemble the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s!
Here are three tips to help you have a guilt free holiday when it comes to food and family.
If you are constantly thinking about losing weight and fail at losing weight, I have good news for you – stop thinking!
Our minds are extremely powerful. Through our thoughts we create our reality. Thinking too much may be keeping you from losing weight.
Think about it… :)
In our sensory and technology driven world we are bombarded with images and thoughts simultaneously. These are the marketing images of:
• The ideal body
• Six pack abs
• Perfect skin
• Perfect hair
• Perfect clothing and accessories
Our Mind is Always Processing
• All of these images filter into our own conclusions. Translation: “We aren’t good enough.”
• Acting as a calculator, the mind is calculating calories, carbs, good foods, bad foods
• Mental judgments start in thought forms of: “You shouldn’t have eaten that. You have no will power. You can’t lose weight. You’ll never look like…”
• The scale is one more reminder, if the news is bad, to set off more mental judgments
Think, think, think
Add to those thoughts how hungry you are because you’ve decided to go on one more drastic diet! With all of these thoughts, it’s amazing that we can even function.
I take this time to be still
to clear my anxious thoughts.
I surrender these thoughts to you.
Replace these thoughts with peace.
Fill me with your loving presence.
Help me to listen to the still, small voice of your Spirit within me,
the voice of truth.
When I listen to the truth, I cannot fail.
When I listen I am guided.
Through your loving guidance I let go of anxious thoughts.
I gratefully receive your love, peace and direction.
Are you following your bliss? In this post I’ll share five tips to help you follow your bliss. The word bliss came up from a conversation that I had with my son Steve. It was during his last year of college. He was discovering what he wanted to be at the age of 22 and his mother was/is still discovering what she wants to be when she grows up. Can you relate?
Anyway, I asked Steve if he would consider me to be a happy person…. a pretty loaded question, but I was prepared for a number of answers. The reason I asked is that the prior eleven years had been pretty rough.
Celebrate your progress and success is step 21 of 21 Days of Focus. You made it! Hopefully, these last 21 days have helped you to form a focus habit.
It’s important to acknowledge and celebrate the progress and successes that you have. If you don’t, you can experience burnout. You may think that you haven’t accomplished very much, but by tracking your progress, not allowing doubts and fears or comparing yourself to others to slow you down, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come!
I don’t know how you feel, but these 21 days have flown by for me. What this exercise in focus has confirmed for me is that time passes very quickly. If we don’t focus each moment, it is easy to get distracted and not accomplish the goals, dreams and projects that we want to. Time marches on and it’s up to us to seize each moment and make each moment count.
Knowing our strengths is super important for focus, but sometimes we get stuck. The reasons we get stuck are (1) it’s easy to get overwhelmed and (2) because many times we need help. Our strengths can only carry us so far and our knowledge base can only carry us so far. That’s why it’s important to seek out mentors, coaches and partners to keep us focused and moving in the right direction.
Someone has most likely done what you are trying to do and has short-cuts that they can teach you. It’s important to be a part of a community too where you can be nurtured and encouraged.
Just like I talked about balance in step 14 and balancing your physical and emotional/spiritual life, seek out people or organizations that can help you to stay focused, help you grow and keep you accountable in your business, personal and spiritual life. For business, seek out a coach or group that can help and teach you new skills. For my online business, for me that was Terry. I continue to learn from him every week and increase my online skills.
If you enjoy a hobby or you are pursuing a certain dream or goal, check out groups where you can connect with like-minded individuals. Since I want to hang out and be encouraged by other writers, I’ve joined the St. Louis Publishers Association.
Focus is only lasting if it is fueled by your values and purpose. In Step 14 we talked about creating balance in your life and how life is a series of sprints. In order to continue to sprint again and again we need a drive. That drive comes from our deep values we hold and the purpose that we want to accomplish in our lives. In step 10, listen to what expands you, your core values and purpose will help you to feel expansive.
Over the last 19 days, I have been laser focused, not only on these blog posts to share with you but on my own dreams.
In 1977 I wrote in one of my journals that I wanted to write a book. In 1977 I was 23 years old. I had a lot of life experiences that needed to happen for me before I was able to write the book I had in mind! As the years went by I always felt a burning desire to write a book and one that would inspire and encourage others.
Decades went by and life got in the way. I was building my career in radio sales. I was married and raising my son. The dream was just that, a dream.
Mid-life was a wake-up call for me. Twenty-five years had passed and along with those twenty five years came an incredible amount of experience! Again, life got in the way. This time it was a divorce, a series of career setbacks and my mother started having health issues. But through it all, my dream to write a book kept nagging at me.
Awareness in all things is a powerful tool for life. In Step 10, Listen to What Expands You, I asked the question if you were experiencing more clarity. Awareness allows us to see things for the first time. While I said I knew where everything was on my cluttered desk, I really wasn’t “aware” of what my desk looked like to others until my sales person made her, “Oh, Jackie!” remark.
Benjamin Franklin wrote in his 1750 Poor Richard’s Almanac that “There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.” As we focus, we can learn more about ourselves. We can change and grow.
Practicing these focus habits for the first time, I was not aware of how much time I wasted on email until I put my attention on it. If a project is not getting done, if we are not moving in the direction of our dreams, we can usually see why if we are honest and aware.
Just as it’s important to feed your body good new nutrition in step 14, creating balance, it’s important to feed your mind and soul with good food that inspires and motivates you. When you have a good meal (and read a good book) you want to tell people, right? In this post I’ll share good books that have nourished and fed my mind and soul.
Just like there is junk food, there is a lot of junk programming or books that don’t do anything to help you grow.
Our library just went through a major renovation. I am in there at least every other week checking out 2-4 books at a time. I also own many books because I love to highlight key points that I can go back to again and again.
At the age of 89, my mother and I signed up as reading tutors for kindergarteners. There was a big room full of people and we were asked to tell everyone our names and why we decided to volunteer. When it came time to introduce ourselves my mother said, “I want to teach children how to read because you never know how one book can change your life.” What a beautiful statement that was!