More on overcoming hard choices…Don’t resist


The devil is not in the detail, it’s in the denial.

Resistance is our enemy. That’s what author, Steven Pressfield tells me in his book, The War of Art.

Resistance is there any time it comes to making that first step – to meditate, take a yoga class, eat right, pursue a new career, end a relationship, pop the question, write a blog or any activity that rejects an instant fix in favour of long term growth, health or wellbeing. Put simply, any good choice we know to be good for us.

If we let it, resistance will start throwing up excuses of why we can’t, shouldn’t, won’t do what we know we need to do. Stuff like:

  • I don’t do mornings
  • I don’t have time
  • It won’t work for me
  • I’m not good enough
  • Tomorrow will be better
  • I’m not ready
  • I just can’t sit still
  • There are others that come before me
  • I’m not flexible enough
  • I’m not young enough, old enough.
  • It will work itself out

When it comes to making those good choices, the problem is not that we don’t know they are good choices, the problem is our resistance to ‘doing the work’.

Hands up, guilty as, you got me!

So how do we stop resistance working against us from achieving our wellbeing or life goals? Deepak offers his wisdom on this saying; the devil is not in the detail – it’s in the denial.

We deny any problem with not ‘doing the work’ is real. Maybe telling ourselves we don’t eat that badly or drink excessively. That we can cope with stress at work or an unloving relationship. That it doesn’t matter if we don’t pursue or fulfil our hopes and dreams.

We deny that time will bring future problems. Because we feel ok today, we can ignore all that advice we know we should be listening to right now. We will be an exception to all the risks we are running. Any of this sound familiar?

So now I’m thinking, when we make a hard choice, maybe it’s hard because of the resistance we create making it? And what if we could remove some of that resistance from our choice making, by making some of those hard choices easy (or at least easier).

Which brings me back to those three steps offered up by my spiritual teacher, Deepak Chopra, that might just prevent resistance from rearing its ugly, monster head in the first place.

Here they are again:

  1. Work on making small easy good choices that make you feel good right away. (No reason to find resistance to that here).
  2. As you continue to make these choices, notice the positive effects build until you have a foundation of easy choices that are bringing you long term results. (So once you’re ‘doing the work’, it becomes not so much about wanting to feel good anymore, it’s more about not losing the good feeling you’ve already created).
  3. Build upward, level by level, to create a pyramid, with harder choices on top that have now become easy, because of the foundation you created. (Keep making those easy choices, which at the start would have felt really hard).

Small changes, that represent easy choices can side step the monster that is resistance sent to thwart our good intentions.

Small changes lead us effortlessly towards any life goal. Don’t live in denial that you don’t really, really, really want what you want, or what you know is good for you and those around you. I encourage you to start small today.