Resistance & Self-Doubt


What is Resistance

Have you ever wish to do something, but after thinking for a second gave up? Do you feel the urge to procrastinate, delay or wait, or simply convince yourself you are not ready to take an action or decision?

The force that makes you swallow your urge to pursue your dream is what Steven Pressfield called Resistance.

It’s the negative voice that tells you to stay at your job and not risk failure, that you’re not good enough to write something great and that you can always start exercising tomorrow.

Resistance manifests itself in the form of fear of failure, procrastination and self-doubt and, worst of all, is universal. It doesn’t exclusively speak to you, it targets everybody.

“There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.

What’s keeping us from sitting down is Resistance.”

How To Overcome Resistance

I fight Resistance every single day, and these are some of the ways you can also do it.

1. Become aware.

We usually don’t think about Resistance or even realize it’s there.

We just pick non-important things to do, or we get distracted by something online, or we feel that we have to check the news, or we’re just going to watch this one TV show, or any of a limitless amount of distractions.

We can fight this by realizing that we are facing Resistance. Once you become aware of it, you can fight it, and beat it.

  • Read “The War of Art”;

  • Make a visual reminder in your workplace (we made you a free infographic, you can grab it below);

  • Include the question “How did I beat resistance this week?” in your weekly review;

  • Every time you do something that isn’t the most important thing you could be doing right now, notice it.

2. Work like a professional.

This is the main technique that Pressfield outlines in The War of Art: combating Resistance by turning pro.

The professional, unlike the amateur, comes to work ready to work. He’s doing it for a living and knows that as long as he shows up and starts working, the rest will come.

Approach the work like a pro, and you’ll get the work done.

  • Before you start the day, be very clear about what you want to accomplish;

  • Define the most important tasks you want to accomplish. Schedule them. Have a set start time, and maybe a set ending time — you’ll have to see what works for you;

  • When that time comes, you have to start. No exceptions. Do them before anything else;

  • Focus, finish, then move on to the less important tasks.

If you also struggle to keep yourself accountable, you might benefit from an individual coaching or a mastermind group.

3. Get rid of distractions.

Master the art of making the best of your attention:

  • Understand the negative effects and eliminate multitasking;

  • Leverage the power of your environment by purposefully designing it;

  • Practice mindfulness to learn how to sustain attention for a longer period.

But attention: Don’t spend a lot of time on this, because eliminating distractions can be a distraction itself. Create a system and get to work.

4. Know your why.

  • Why are you doing this?

  • Why is this task important? What is it working towards?

  • How important is that end goal to you? Why is it important?

You need to know these things to have the strength to overcome Resistance, especially during the “hard days”.

5. Just start.

Simply start.

Feel Resistance to doing that? There’s no way to fight it than to just start.

  • Reading more about Resistance won’t help;

  • Working on your to-do lists won’t help;

  • Planning and looking for more information won’t help.

Only doing actually helps. And the only way to do something is to just start.

So how do you start, when you feel resistance? You just start.

Feeling the need to do something else? Stop yourself from getting distracted. Remind yourself what you need to be doing, and why. Decide to work like a professional.

And just start.

Looking for a visual reminder against resistance? We created a free infographic with all of these tips for you to hang on your workspace or use it as a background on your computer.