I’m familiar with “not feeling it” when it comes to doing productive and healthy behaviors. I’m familiar with the struggle that takes place inside of the mind, when part of you wants to do what’s best for you, but another part of you feels like doing nothing or something more fun.
This internal battle causes frustration and leads us to seek answers, but then comes another frustration—there are so many answers! Some say the key is time management, some say it’s motivation, I tend to say it’s setting small targets you can meet. So this first problem actually creates a second problem (or challenge) of:
- Knowing the single best strategy to apply to your situation
- Figuring out exactly how to integrate it into your life
- Ignoring all other suggestions
Success is simplifying your thinking into a single objective, but it’s not easy. If you try to absorb and apply multiple pieces of advice you read, your splintered mind won’t know what to do.
What’s the One Way to Beat Internal Resistance?
Say you want to go to the gym every day, and you choose a workout program that suits your needs. Even thought you have the right idea (exercise) and the right application (workout program), you might feel resistance before you have the opportunity to even begin.
Do you try to psyche yourself up? Do you try to force the issue? Do you shrink or manipulate the goal into something more palatable (as I suggest in Mini Habits)? Even with a mini habit, resistance is possible. There may be times when any action feels impossible. What do you do in those moments?
After battling with this issue for years and testing various mindsets and strategies, I’ve come to one answer to defeat internal resistance to action.
Choose to Believe
Of all the thought paths you can take while facing resistance, this one stands above the rest: I believe that I can act no matter how I feel.
This is one of the few thought-driven strategies that can overcome resistance. It’s not a motivational thought, it’s a matter-of-fact thought. You’re not attempting to inspire yourself, you’re reminding yourself that your actions do not have to reflect your feelings.
Choose to believe that you can take action despite your feelings. Until you decide that your feelings don’t control your behavior, they will. You can have the BEST reasons for action and still fail if you assume actions only follow feelings.
This is to say that when you’re unmotivated but would like to take action, you should skip the “get motivated” idea, which implies that you can only act if you’re motivated.
Don’t fight your feelings—let them be—just believe they won’t stop you. This is a peaceful AND effective way to deal with internal resistance. You’re not trying to change how you feel, but how you react to how you feel. It’s a direct answer to perhaps the most common obstacle to daily success.
If you’re familiar with my writing, you know about how powerful small steps can be. One reason they work so well is because they help you believe you can always take action. For example, instead of believing you “can’t exercise because you don’t feel like it,” you start believing you “can just do a few jumping jacks.”
If you find yourself struggling to move forward, ask yourself…
Do I believe I can take action despite what I feel right now? Do I think it’s possible to do it anyway?
Yes. The answer is always yes! You can act despite how you feel. Small step strategies like Mini Habits just help us to realize this truth.
Once you believe that your feelings can’t physically stop you from doing things, they won’t! Try it today with that one thing you’ve been putting off. I know you don’t feel like doing it right now, but you still can. Believe it, do it, and enjoy the progress.