Read Time: 5 minutes and 10 seconds.
The clock hits 5pm on a Friday afternoon and you close your laptop, feeling a sense of relief and excitement for the weekend ahead. You've made a commitment to yourself to do something different, after spending the last few weeks wedged on the couch catching up on your favourite Netflix series.
Feeling explorative, you decide to try a new Yoga class, early on Saturday morning. With excitement and a bit of spontaneity, you book in your first session to “Be Free Yoga”, bright and early at 8am.
Getting home, you uncork a fresh bottle of wine, and luxuriate in the sensation of a weekend well earned. After a few glasses, you go to bed with a feeling of accomplishment, yet a little bit of hesitation towards the yoga class you booked earlier.
The buzzer sounds at 6:30am and immediately, you’re dragged into the realization that you’re going to have to be up early on a Saturday morning. Your mind is torn between getting out of your warm, comfy bed or remaining nice and cozy. Suddenly, you begin to convince yourself to not go.
“It’s too far and it’s way too early for this”
“Why not just go next weekend, there’s always another time”
“I’ve had a long week, lets just cancel for today”
So, you roll over, switch off the alarm and fall into a deep slumber. Yoga class falls into a distant memory as you spend the weekend catching up on your favourite Netflix series.
Are you surprised by this outcome?
In this edition of The Path Toward Purpose we’re going to explore A Strategy for Overcoming Resistance Towards Your Goals - and why we find ourselves struggling to take action towards something that might benefit us.
Let’s get into it…
The Foundations of Inner Resistance
Internal resistance is the internal battle which commonly occurs when you try to take significant action towards a personal goal.
It’s where you’re able to see the benefit of the goal, and the purpose behind it, yet when the time for action arrives you might find yourself backing out from the promise you’ve made to yourself.
The concept of internal resistance is deeply rooted in human psychology. It’s the voice that sits in the back of your mind which influences you to break your nutritious diet, workout tomorrow, and have that beer you’ve been eyeing off in the fridge.
The temptation that tells you that all your goals will be accomplished in the magical land of tomorrow.
Yet ultimately, internal resistance is a form of self sabotage. Naturally, as you push towards trying something new or attaining a goal you’ve set for yourself, there’s going to be doubts and fears on your ability to accomplish it.
Letting these doubts and fears overcome your desire to create positive change is where internal resistance is born.
The Mental Framework
Now, let's look at the neurological elements. This is where it gets interesting.
Your brain must use a significant amount of energy to cope with a lack of familiarity. Especially when you push your boundaries and try something new, it’s going to require actual effort and energy for your mind to cope with the situation.
The human brain is made from the connection of 86 billion neurons, also known as nerve cells. Whenever you try to create a new habit, or take action towards your goals, these neurons must mobilize and reorganize their structure.
This takes significant conscious effort and is one of the reasons why internal resistance is such a factor toward the integration of new habits or goals.
How-To Apply This
To overcome internal resistance, you must define your opportunity cost. For every action you choose to take or avoid, there is a significant price to be paid. By definition, opportunity cost is the potential gain lost from a missed opportunity.
Getting started with this process is actually relatively simple. Here’s a system which you can use immediately to begin to define your opportunity cost towards any short-term goal:
1. Use The Satir Matrix
Ultimately, most decisions related to short-term goals have 4 distinct outcomes that you can determine, if you know the correct questions to ask yourself.
Every time you might feel internal resistance building, take note of these 4 questions and define the most favourable outcome which will suit you best and provide the greatest benefit.
2. Define Your Opportunity Cost
Once you apply the Satir Matrix toward any goal you’re looking to accomplish, then there remains 3 questions which you can ask yourself to build momentum against any remaining internal resistance:
→ What is the true cost of not taking action?
→ Will I gain any positive change if I decide to do nothing?
→ Does the gain of taking positive action outweigh the cost?
Through defining the realistic loss you incur as a result of letting your internal resistance break you, it’s possible to use this as a powerful motivating force.
When you can tangibly see and perceive what you stand to lose, it becomes a lot easier to make the right decisions.
Finally, for context, this entire process will normally take you no longer than 5 minutes to complete. Therefore, I’d recommend only using it for short-term decision making, such as in the example of choosing between going to yoga or remaining in bed on a Saturday morning.
For long-term decision making, I’ve got something for you also, which I’ll be including in a future edition of The Path Toward Purpose.
🚀 Next Steps
Your ability to overcome internal resistance is directly tied to moving towards a purposeful existence. Simply because, the more that doubts and fears cloud your vision, the more likely it is that you’re not going to take the steps required to achieve your life goals.
When you’re able to master the skill of overcoming internal resistance, you’re going to unlock a whole new side of life you may never have experienced before. It’s an existence of momentum, and meaningful progression.
Next week, I’m going to share with you an actionable strategy to help you get more done, in less time. Yes, this is a real concept, and should you choose to acquire this skill, you’re going to be able to truly gain progress towards your purposeful life goals. I can’t wait to share it with you!