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Here’s why you always procrastinate in two words—mental resistance.
The idea may seem bizarre, but your mind is the main thing blocking you from success.
But it happens to everyone.
Procrastination pops up in many different areas in your life, whether it’s fitness, diet, career goals, relationships, or anything else you place your intention towards. The thing about setting new intentions or goals is that it interrupts your routine.
When you try to install new procedures and practices in your routine, resistance occurs, and this resistance leads to procrastination.
When you experience resistance and procrastination, you block your full potential, minimizing your personal progress and creativity.
Let’s explore the concept of mental resistance a bit more.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield explains the concept of mental resistance. This concept examines the relationship between mental resistance and procrastination.
As noted above, you have a typical routine you adhere to, so some resistance is expected when you try to alter your routine. Resistance is a natural psychological response to change that occurs on a subconscious level most of the time.
However, it also produces physiological changes from an increase of physical or mental output your new goal requires.
These psychological and physiological changes have a lot to do with how your brain responds to the changes you’re trying to make and the procrastination that occurs.
The prefrontal cortex processes all of the new and exciting things we experience (along with many other things). Still, it can only intake so much at a time before needing a break.
When the prefrontal cortex hits its processing limit, some of those psychological and physiological symptoms occur. This results in the amygdala initiating the fight-or-flight response, resulting in physical or emotional interferences.
So, you can see the science behind the resistance that occurs. More specifically, how it diminishes creativity. With this in mind, you have to fully understand how this resistance comes about, and more importantly, and how to avoid it.
“Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance.”
When it comes to any problem or concern in life, being aware is the first step in figuring out a solution. When you’re aware of your problem, resistance, in this case, you’re taking a pivotal step in the right direction.
The more aware you are about your tendency to procrastinate, the more likely you’ll implement changes to avoid it.
One thing that Pressfield refers to in War of Art is how you have to run your life like a business—for lack of better words.
When you’re at work, you know you have to promptly execute your tasks, or there may be some consequences.
The same work ethic you apply at work should be applied to your life in general. This is one way to overcome mental resistance—around the clock accountability.
“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”
Once you’ve taken full responsibility and accountability for your intentions, it’s time to be the pro you know you are! Often, we fall victim to self-doubt and denial, which leads to procrastination—or never trying at all!
Have confidence in what you do and know you’re capable of what you set out to do. Furthermore, don’t let a few failures get in the way of your success.
You’re going to mess up along the lines, but these lessons work to build character and make you better at your craft.
This means following through with the things you want to do. If you’re a writer, sit down and write. If you’re a painter, athlete, or scholar, the same rule applies—apply action behind the intent.
Don’t get caught up in patterns of stress and overthinking. You’ve got to walk the walk to be the best version of yourself, so take the good with the bad and keep pushing.
“We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.”
Once you’ve taken a look at yourself and what’s holding you back, causing procrastination to occur, it’s time to fine-tune your process.
Take a look at what you want to achieve and compare it to what you already have going on. In doing this, you can see where you have extra time or the ideal time to get things done with minimum resistance.
It’s always helpful to create a to-do list with the most important tasks at the top of the list, making your way down the list as the day progresses and time allows.
“The professional cannot allow the actions of others to define his reality.”
Ahh, yes, distractions—you know them well.
It’s those notifications blowing up on your phone, your co-worker coming by your desk every 15 minutes to chat, or your mind wandering off thinking about what’s for lunch.
Eliminating mental resistance has a lot to do with distractions because they go hand in hand.
Mental resistance thrives off distractions because it ultimately pulls you further away from the intended goal.
You know what this means?
You’ve got to eliminate distractions in the process of clearing out resistance.
If your phone is blowing up, turn it off. If you keep thinking about lunch, keep snacks on hand, or bring your lunch.
If your co-worker keeps talking to you, throw some headphones on and rock out while you make it happen like the pro you are!
You get the point.
It’s all about staying one step ahead of the path your subconscious mind brings you down. Clear out all the excess and get to work.
You’ll beam with a newfound pride when you see how productive you can be when it’s all said and done.
“Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be but to find out who we already are and become it.”
As you can see, not all hope is lost if you’re a habitual procrastinator. At the end of the day, you know if you put your best foot forward.
When you run the day back in your mind, think about any time your mind or body felt some kind of resistance.
Then, think about whether or not you pushed yourself through those feelings.
Taking note of your actions (being aware) and learning how to apply change is the best way to overcome mental resistance.
We know you want to do great things with your life—all that’s to it is to just do it!
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