Overcoming barriers to your life goals

Updated: May 9, 2021

So, you’ve made a decision. You’ve finally decided that this is the year of you. That you want more and that you're going to take action and implement change. You’re energized, you’re feeling great, you’re feeling motivated, you say to yourself “This is it! This is the year of me and I’m going to change!”

But all a sudden something happens. Life happens. You find that work gets busier, the kids get needier, things in the house start falling apart, your phone is ringing off the hook, social events come up, COVID happens. Thing after thing after thing just happens.

And you stand there and watch your new goal just get sabotaged. You think “What just happened? Is this the universe saying I shouldn’t be doing this? Is this a sign? What’s the deal?”

Sound familiar?

Well, let me first console you and say that you’re not being personally attacked by the universe, you’re not going crazy, that is what has been termed 'resistance'.

So, to explain resistance a little better, whenever we consciously make the decision to change ourselves and go to the next level, we are inviting resistance into our life. Resistance is when we start believing that all these things in life are preventing us from achieving something we want. Unfortunately, the majority of people are not ready or expecting this resistance, and as a result, resistance takes them out.

Resistance is actually just us thinking that life is getting harder. When resistance is present in our life it can look like thoughts such as “I’ll just start tomorrow” or “There’s just no time to do this now”. Now, whilst these responses are okay once or twice if they become your go-to response than it is resistance, and you’re not going to get anywhere. When resistance is in control we can't grow and we end up staying exactly where we are.

With resistance, it’s important to understand that nothing in life actually got harder, though it may seem that way. Truth is, life continued to happen as it always has, what changed is that you have now noticed it because you’re going against the flow of the stream. Instead of laying back and just letting the stream (life) take you where it decides, you have stood up turned around and begun going against it because you want something different, you want more.

So what can we do to address resistance? We will now explore 3 easy steps that you can carry out.

Activity: Steps to addressing resistance.

1. Recognise it

First of all, we need to identify the resistance that may be occurring. This may take the form of thoughts or behaviours. Thoughts may be things like “This is too hard”, “This feels wrong”, “There's just no time for me”, “I’m being selfish for wanting something for me” etc. etc. This type of thinking doesn’t get us to where we want to be. Types of thinking that do get us there will be the opposite such as “ I know this feels different but it’s what I want”, “I can put aside 30 mins for me”, “It doesn’t matter what others think or say what counts is what I think and say.” Furthermore, those events that we think increased or become harder are still happening at the same pace. The ebbs and flows of life didn't actually change but you perceived them as having changed. Stick with it and keep going upstream because the life achievements that are the most satisfying don’t come easy. If you truly need more help ask, there’s no shame in reaching out for help. In fact, it makes you a stronger person. And lastly recognize resistant behaviours, this may look like laziness, playing it safe, not putting yourself out there, or not changing your routine. It’s pretty much any behavior that will prevent you from achieving your goal.

2. Be prepared for it

Another great defense strategy is to prepare yourself. The sooner you expect the resistance the sooner you can be prepared. At the time we decide to change something in our lives our primitive brain is triggered. Our primitive brain is designed to keep us safe by having a routine, knowing what to expect, and accessing the easiest options available. It is designed to be on alert and look for danger and how it shows up will be in those thoughts discussed in step 1. These thoughts are what you have developed from years of different experiences and they are great at unconsciously directing our behaviors. Knowing that this process is going to occur allows you to be ready for it and take back control when it starts occurring. Taking back control from this part of the brain can look like taking a moment to acknowledge the thoughts, thanking yourself for trying to keep you safe but explaining that you are safe and not in danger and that you need to do this so that you can grow and become empowered. You can do this in a mirror, a quiet place, out loud, or just think it. But doing so makes it a conscious action and decision and needs to happen.

3. Work through it

Now we need to be aware that this is a work in progress. Applying these steps won’t make the resistance completely go away but over time the resistance will become easier and easier to the point where you won’t even notice it occurring. The way we are now, in terms of where we are is a result of years and years of life experiences and the beliefs we developed as a result so it’s going to take some work if we are going to address and change it.

And lastly, you must be committed, consistent, and kind to yourself in this process. You may feel scared, uncomfortable, nervous but don’t forget what you will achieve having gone through it. You will be empowered, confident, loving, happy, and have a great relationship with yourself and others. It will be worth it.

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