Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Resistance is Futile #inspiration #motivation #BetheChange

I’m rereading Stephen King’s On Writing, with my students this semester, and in doing so, can’t help but see intersections between my life and his words of wisdom. For example, King says “The scariest moment is always just before you start.”  And it’s true!

The resistance that we encounter when commencing a project or activity, is usually enough to deter us from that project entirely—at the very least—procrastination ensues. I’m a fabulous and productive procrastinator—to the point where it actually doesn’t make any sense.

Most important task: Write 2000 words today.

Instead: I regrout the shower. Clean the house. Do planks and pushups and blog and prepare for my classes on Monday, practice French and….etc.

Why would I do all that stuff?!? Why don’t I just sit down and bang out 2000 words? It would definitely be less labor intensive and time consuming…

Because the resistance for each of those tasks is less than the resistance I encounter when trying to write. Writing is an enormous mental and emotional commitment. It is the “scariest” thing after all.

But what is this so-called resistance?

Leo Babauta says this: “Getting things done is really about one thing, and one thing only: overcoming the resistance to doing what we need to do.”  (Here’s the full *awesome* post on this).

It sounds incredibly simple, but it is also incredibly challenging.
The resistance can be so much! Basically that resistance is the intimidation or reluctance you encounter when faced with a task. You might know it as:

-I don’t feel like going to the gym.
-I could make a salad or something healthy. But cooking is so much work! Let’s order pizza.
-I could call my mother. Or I could take a nap.
-I could tackle that huge project for work. Or I could meet up with my friends for cocktails.

Tasks that we enjoy, or that are lacking in difficulty/do not intimidate us, are the most readily accomplished.  For everything else there is procrastination—until the immediate peril of NOT doing the task becomes a force GREATER than the resistance and suddenly we find ourselves doing the task.

But perhaps we are tired of relying on amped up stress to kick us into gear. What’s an alternative solution?

You guessed it! Small steps!

By breaking enormous tasks into baby steps, we remove the intimidation and lessen the resistance. 

So you have enormous power and potential in baby steps! You don’t have to be stressed and overwhelm. You can take control of the situation. And for our health and sanity, we probably should.

If you want more on baby steps (what they are and how to make them) visit yesterday’s post.


  1. Most non-writers don't understand the emotional toll writing can take on the author. The writer has to live in so many different places at the same type.