Over the last few weeks, I have been doing a series of articles on resistances. I have discussed how resistances can keep us stuck in a financial struggle and how to recognize resistances. The question now is what to do about it. I have had some interesting discussion lately on a can do attitude. Some people have had very good success with just going after their goals and not worrying about anything else that gets in the way like resistances. To them, resistances are just excuses for not taking responsibility. This can be true to some extent. Yet, the more I see the complexities of the human mind, the more I see that our unconscious thoughts have more of an impact on us than we realize. Thus, the more we can understand these unconscious thoughts and control them, the better we can become at attaining our goals. When I discuss resistances, it is about any unconscious or conscious thoughts that are not in-line with the goals that we want to achieve. As I said earlier, any thoughts not in-line with our goals are just slowing us down. We can fight through it and possibly struggle to get what we want. Or, we can get a handle on our resistances to remove them to make the journey easier. For those who have easily attained their goals with a can do attitude, their thoughts, emotions and beliefs are usually relatively in-line with their goals because everything was in focus. For those who are struggling, it may be time to look at and remove any resistances that may be getting in the way.
So without any further ado, here are my views on steps to remove resistances.
1) Recognize Them
We can not fix what we do not recognize. Some may think that this means taking a year off to go to the wilderness and mediate to find yourself. Yet, there is no better way to find who you are than to live life and look at what happens. If there is a pattern going on in your life different situations (losing different jobs, being underpaid, having uncontrollable rage, etc.) just notice them and look for your part in it. You may think it is out there (e.g., the economy), yet you are the consistent part in the pattern.
2) Acknowledge Them
There is the phrase “what we resist persists”. Our resistances gain energy when we ignore them. I have seen many people have growing financial problems by not acknowledging them. The longer they wait, the worse their situation becomes. Yet, taking the first step and saying I need to address this issue takes away a lot of fear and stress. The first step is usually the hardest.
3) See Yourself Overcoming Your Resistances
We get what we think about. If you see your situation as hopeless, it probably is. If you see your situation as a temporary setback, you will start seeing opportunities to a better future. Many athletes are recognizing that going over their routine in their mind is actually just as good, if not better than practicing because confidence is a key element to success. And, seeing yourself being successful is a key to confidence. So see the situation right before you make the situation right.
4) Know Your Triggers
We have all tried a plan before (e.g., diet plan, exercise plan, study plan, etc.). When we see patterns from our past, we can see how we have gotten derailed from our previous plans. Maybe it was a condescending call from your mother or maybe it was your boss yelling at you. What ever it is, knowing these patterns can help you in the future. You may not be able to avoid your boss or mom, yet you can start to see when they push your buttons. It is then when you need take a step back and ask yourself “Do I want to allow them control how I feel?” So instead of instantaneously reacting, take a breath to see if you want to decide to do something differently this time.
5) Day by Day
When my wife and I had some pre-martial counseling to start our marriage on the right track, we asked how can we keep such a long-term commitment strong. She said that the decision is only to stay married for that day and decide again the next day. When we create a large commitment, it may sound overwhelming like being married “forever after”. Yet, when we break the commitment down, it is about what I need to do today to keep my commitment. Resistances can seem like an overwhelming mountain, yet when you map out what you want to do today to overcome a portion of it, it becomes a lot less inundating.
6) Set Goals
Goals help with resistances because it keeps you moving forward. Resistances want to stop you, while goals push you forward. It may sound contradictory that I say to remove resistances and then say to move through them. Yet, sometimes you need to push ahead to see what the resistances are to see where you may need to grease your wheels. Life is lived with experiences and not on the sidelines watching. So, if you are playing the game of life and it seems to be a struggle then tweak it to change the parts that are not working. Yet, you will never know what your resistances are if you are standing still.
What should my goals be? There is a lot that has been written about goals. Some say create large grandiose goals while others say set realistic goals. To see yourself overcoming your resistances, it goes back to having goals that you can imagine yourself making. This does not mean the goals have to be easy, rather goals that you can see yourself achieving, even if you have some doubts about doing it.
7) Have a Buddy
This is one of the most important points in overcoming resistances. Talking to someone can be a tremendous help especially with finances. It can help in talking about what is going on so that you can recognize them better by having someone offer feedback. It can help when you need a little extra motivational pep talk. Your buddy can also offer suggestions that you never thought about before. Yet, most importantly with finances, talking to someone starts to drop the wall of shame when you are able to talk about it freely. Shame is a major resistance because we spend more time keeping our mask on of how we want people to see us versus letting people how we are really doing financially and less time pursuing our goals.
Resistances can slow you down from pursuing your goals. Taking a little time to find where your thoughts, beliefs and emotions may be slowing you down may be well worth the little extra grease to make the ride smoother and easier.