Getting over the hump. Pushing through resistance. Overcoming inertia. Fanning fragile embers of aspiration while the winds of negation swirl around me.
How we do this?
Lately, life has been throwing me plenty of opportunities to explore the phenomenon of resistance in my life–as well as the related topic of procrastination. And I have been experimenting with different ways of neutralizing them.
On a daily, if not hourly, basis, I experience tension between competing aspects of myself. I hesitate to call this “lower” self vs. “higher” self. I sense that labeling it like that involves judgement that is not necessarily accurate or helpful. But what the heck. You know what I mean.
When I woke up early this morning, my “higher” self wanted me to get on my darned bike and “live my commitment.” Commitment to what? To myself. To cultivate better health, vitality, and follow-through on things that are important to me.
(An ongoing debate within myself is whether something can be considered genuinely important if you don’t significantly follow through on it. If you say it is a core value, but you don’t live it…?)
In any case, to be concrete, my “higher” self wanted me to climb out of bed, pull on my biking togs and do a 10-mile bike ride that I’ve been doing every morning that I find sufficient discipline to follow through.
Meanwhile… my “lower” self wanted permission to skip it this morning and read a novel on the couch with a cup of coffee while quiet still reigned in the house. After all, yesterday I had done the ride, plus some other outdoor activity–and I felt rather worn out. I deserved a rest, right?
Well, this time my “higher” self won the battle.
I made a deal with myself: OK, you can read 20 minutes–but you’ve got to pay for it by getting on your friggin’ bike.
Bottom-line, today I tried out 2 different strategies for overcoming “caving” and/or procrastinating. Both belong in my quiver of responses when my higher and lower selves punch it out.
(1) Don’t Over-Think It–Just Do It: Nike got the gist of it right. However, prior to “just doing it,” a lot of us (moi) succumb to over-thinking all the pros and cons of doing this or that. Paralysis by analysis. And then I find myself, too often, succumbing to the seductive siren song of the lower self. So when you catch yourself over-thinking, stop. And then “just do” what your higher self suggests.
(2) Negotiate–But Drive a Hard Bargain: Sometimes tradeoffs really do make sense. I do want to read that novel in the early morning with a steaming cup of coffee. But I also know I need to exercise to thrive. So throw your “lower” self a bone–indulge a little. But make it clear to yourself that the price tag for the taking-it-easy piece is a commitment to get on that bike and ride. Or do your yoga. Meditate. Work on your writing. Practice your guitar. Do your art. Whatever your higher self knows will bring you deeper and richer reward.
These are some of my thoughts on getting over the hump.
What do you do to get past the resistance? How do you manage to focus on and actualize what really matters to you?
Man, I’m all ears…