I suspect you have encountered this.

resistance godThat there is a decision made to break the lizard brained pattern of habituality; it could be something as simple as acquiring a new habit of eating, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, stretching in the morning instead of coffee and e-mail. It could be a larger journey of writing a book or learning to speak in public, changing a career, painting a masterpiece, learning a language or following the heart-dream we put on hold in service of obtaining the illusion of approval.

Ever notice how as we move into something new and exciting vibrant we smash headlong into a wall of resistance? Even as feel a creative burn wells up in our chest, almost immediately following comes a constant chatter of doubt and fear. We commonly make the mistake of thinking that doubt is our smarter self, guiding us away from the disaster of the fall of working without a net.

We can think that, but we would be wrong. Every light casts a shadow, and the light of creativity and growth always calls forth resistance. As Newton postulated in his third law of motion, “for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction”; so too will resistance accompany ANY effort we make at pushing ourselves out of the orbit of accumulated habit. Resistance is not some kind of proof we are incapable, it is the yin/yang nature of the universe letting us know that we have slipped ourselves into gear and are getting some traction. It explains why is it that as soon as there is a trace of movement, our wheels seem hit ice and begin to spin.

Resistance is indeed a real force. As Steven Pressfield points out in The War of Art:

Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole. Resistance is protean. It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you. It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stick-up man. Resistance has no conscience. It understands nothing but power. Resistance cannot be negotiated with. It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.

You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you!

The trick it seems is to not take it personally, and not listen to the reptile brain’s loop-tape of doubt and fear. Whatever the goal, whatever the change we want to inhabit, what is required is the constant putting of one foot in front the other. This is not a Hollywood-like sprint of spirit and success. We are talking effort here. Inertia is a brutal force, and only overcome by constantly coming back, again and again to the task at hand. As a successful artist friend of mine once remarked, “I was an overnight success”… after 12 years of hard work.

Find your guiding star, and watch a thousand excuses suddenly bloom in your mind. Then you know you are on the right track.