At one time or another, everyone hits it. The wall of resistance – that place where willpower is not enough to push you to action. Some might call this procrastination, while others call it avoidance. No matter what it is called, the result is the same – there is little to no forward movement toward completing the thing that needs to be done.
I’m sure you have experienced it and know what I’m mean. The things that I typically resist are not necessarily difficult or challenging. They are things like bathing the dog, balancing the end of the month financials, making sales calls, and watering the house plants. And in truth, completing these items would most likely not take that much time, but my mind has already made it up that the task will be time consuming. Ugg!
Is it possible that procrastination and resistance are parallel to one another, each serving different purposes? And might there be value or even a message in experiencing either or both? I believe so.
Let’s explore how Merriam Webster defines both words.
Resistance (opposition, challenge, fight, struggle) Defined as: the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument
Procrastination (Stall, delay, postponement) Defined as: the action of delaying or postponing something
Even though resistance and procrastination are not the same, they may have similarities when it comes to their unintended benefits.
The Unintended Benefits of Resistance and Procrastination
By procrastinating, you may be gaining an unintended benefit in return. For example, delaying balancing my monthly financials is usually due to me needing an extended amount of uninterrupted time to focus and get them right. I often run into challenges with technology and remembering proper accounting principles. I also answer my own phone. So I’ll often put that task off until I know I can work on it without interruption.
When it comes to resistance, the unintended benefit might be that your intuition saves you from making a big mistake. For example, in the past my intuition caused me to be slow in signing a contract with a vendor. At the time, I wasn’t sure why I was delaying. It wasn’t long before I was made aware that the vendor was not all that he claimed to be, and therefore was not a good fit for me and my business.
Why do we procrastinate?
In my observations of people, I have noticed that procrastination seems to be more prevalent than resistance. And why is that? Here’s what I believe.
The list of reasons we procrastinate are as many as there are days in the year. Here are just a few of the most prominent ones.
- Fear of failure – Who am I if I fail? What will become of me?
- Judgment of self-and/or others – when we judge others, we set a subconscious standard that we come to expect of ourselves.
- Fear of vulnerability – putting ourselves out there in a big way sets us up for feedback. Even though we encourage feedback, we worry that it will be ugly or negative, or attracting the wrong attention.
- Fear of humiliation – concerns that someone will publicly make fun of us.
- Fear of getting it wrong – this applies to any and all things where there is a right way and a wrong way to do something.
Overcoming Resistance and Procrastination
When it comes to overcoming resistance and procrastination, there are two things to consider.
Determine which delay tactic it is.
Is it resistance or procrastination?
If it is resistance, study the situation and actively listen to your intuition. Ask intuition, what is not measuring up here? Is there something that seems too good to be true or out of balance? Identify what it is. From there you will know the next steps to take.
If it is procrastination, remember this quote from Lao-Tzu, “The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.” To get beyond procrastination you need only take one step in the direction of the thing you’ve been procrastinating on. That first step will give you the momentum to take the next, and then the next.
Anytime you’re struggling to take action on a task that needs to be done, ask yourself these questions to help you get to the root of the issue.
- Is this resistance my intuition is putting up? Or Am I procrastinating because I just don’t want to take action?
- Identify any unintended benefits by asking yourself, what am I getting out of not taking action?
- Is the benefit you are getting what you truly desire for the situation?
If you would like help to identify and resolve the issues that are causing you to resist or procrastinate; know that I can help. My clients have told me that I am amazing when it comes to detecting and solving the mysteries of procrastination and being stuck.
Don’t wait! Schedule your complimentary 30-minute discovery session to learn what is causing you to procrastinate. https://calendly.com/cherylj/30-minute-discovery-session