Resistance, Procrastination, Fear of Failure, the Trifecta
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.