This summer, I’m dedicated to walking alongside all of you who are tackling big projects, doing some Summer cleaning, trying to establish a new exercise regimen, and needing to experience explosive productivity. If you’ve been reading my Monday Motivators, you have a clear summer plan that you’ve discussed with your mentors, and you have created some form of support and accountability. This week, I want to describe what happens to many people when they get really engaged in what it is they really want to do.
Identify What’s Holding You Back
It’s an odd situation, isn’t it? You’ve been waiting all year for the summer time so you can have the time, space, and energy for your goals. You’ve been fantasizing and yearning for months of quiet & solitude so you can finally finish your Big Unfinished Project. You planned to clean up a little every day and maybe even imagined losing track of time while immersed in your decluttering. And yet, when you actually sit down to clean, all of a sudden you experience an unquenchable desire to ____________ (check your e-mail, return some phone calls or organize your plants. Lol). Or you suddenly realize you need to read one more ______ (article, text message) before you can start cleaning. Or _________ (insert seemingly urgent crisis) appears and distracts you. Or maybe you find yourself gazing out the window and realize that life is too __________ (short, painful, unpredictable) to spend a sunny day inside cleaning. In short, procrastination, avoidance, and denial arise to distract and derail you.
Why is it that we so often find ourselves needing to clean, but then end up not cleaning at all (not even a little bit)? Most people I know genuinely want to leave in a clean environment, and just may need a little help getting the job done. Barbara Sher describes resistance (when you want to do something, but you just can’t seem to do it) as “an innately human defense mechanism that is uniquely designed to protect us from doing anything dangerous.” In other words, our resistance is like an ‘internal bodyguard’ that rises up to keep us from any undesirable situation.
Having an ‘internal bodyguard’ is mostly a good thing! On one hand, it keeps us from engaging in potentially harmful activities. On the other hand, our inner-bodyguard can’t tell the difference between physical danger and emotional danger, so it gets activated whether we are standing at the edge of a cliff or standing up to give a speech in front of a crowd. Both feel dangerous and raise anxiety. In response, our bodyguard leaps into action to stop us from engaging in this activity in the form of procrastination, avoidance, and/or denial. It will do whatever it takes to stop us from jumping off that cliff, or engaging in what feels (for many of us) like an equally dangerous act: public speaking.
Fear Drives Resistance
Wherever there’s resistance, there’s fear underneath, so it might be helpful to ask yourself: When I look around my home & think about cleaning it, what fears emerge? It may be fear of boredom, fear of running out of energy to get the job done, fear of missing out on doing something more fun, fear of making a bigger mess than when you started, or fear of not cleaning the way your spouse likes it. There’s no need to analyze or judge these fears; just to identify them. Knowing what you’re afraid of will help you to design strategies to maneuver around them.
There are many different types of resistance that are common, as well as, a broad array of tips, tricks, and strategies you can use whenever you feel this sense of fear. If you keep in mind that there is a difference between real and perceived fear then you will quickly realize that the trick to sneaking around your resistance is to keep your ‘inner bodyguard’ in a nice, comfortable, and relaxed state. For this week, it’s enough to resist those fears identify when it’s present and what it’s up to, and then look it in the eye, shake hands, and get acquainted.
Personally, I think it’s great that my resistance is really my very own built-in bodyguard at work! First of all, it brings me a sense of compassion and understanding towards the procrastination, avoidance, and denial I experience when I try to deep-clean every week. Each time I feel an irresistible urge to get on the phone to kill time, a sense I can’t clean until I color-code my sock drawer, or suddenly imagine that my cleaning will go faster if I watched someone else clean their home first, I can recognize that resistance as my bodyguard at work. Secondly, it frees me from the debilitating idea that if I could just fix one of my many personal flaws, then I would be free of any resistance to cleaning. There’s no sense in believing that if only I were more disciplined, more motivated, and more focused, cleaning would be quick, easy, and enjoyable. That’s just not how it works. And finally, it’s helpful to me to understand that my resistance is ALWAYS going to be with me because it’s part of who I am.
I hope this week brings you the willingness to identify your resistance as it occurs, a spirit of openness toward new ways of understanding your procrastination and avoidance behaviors, and a sense of compassion toward yourself in the process.
“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
“Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed at that moment.” (Matthew 9:22, NIV)
In Scripture, there was a lady who had been sick with a bleeding disorder for twelve years. She went to the best doctors, received the finest treatment, but her health continued to decline. One day, she got word that Jesus was coming through her town. When she heard that, something came alive on the inside. She had so much coming against her, but she didn’t focus on that; she knew it was her time for healing. Instead of giving up, she fought her way through the crowds and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. When she did, immediately she was made whole.
I wonder how many other people were there like her in that same type of situation. They were sick. They were discouraged. They had trouble. But they just watched Jesus pass by. They let excuses keep them from their miracle. Friend, don’t let that be you. Don’t let your circumstances keep you from reaching out to Jesus. It doesn’t matter what’s happened in your past, just keep moving forward. God has destiny moments in store for you. Keep pressing in, keep believing, keep praying and, like this woman, reach out to Him. Know that He is faithful, and He will meet your faith with His power.
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, today I press into You. I believe that You have my miracle in the palm of Your hand. I choose to take my eyes off of my circumstances and set my gaze on You, Jesus, because You are the Author and Finisher of my faith in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen
I’ve written before about ways to get a man to commit. Of course, every guy is different, but here are some more ways to woo a man, some of which just may work for you!
- Use proper communication – men are not as smart as we are. They’re just not. (sorry guys!) With that said, they don’t understand the subtleties that we women like to drop. For example, if a guy asks you what’s on your mind instead of telling him everything, like we do with our girlfriends, just give him the highlights. And instead of highlighting all 20 things going on with you, just give him the Top 3. That way you’ll keep his attention & you’ll have some more conversation saved up for later.
- Be loving – when a man comes home from work, all he wants is to be left alone & probably some good food. But after you leave him alone for a little bit, it’s okay to show him a little bit of attention. You can be affectionate or playful, so long as it’s loving.
- Compliment him – contrary to popular belief, men like compliments too. They like to be told that they’re smart, look nice, smell good or have a nice haircut. We don’t have to compliment them as often as they should be complimenting us but telling them every now & then that they are doing something right can go a long way!
- Have your own opinion – even men who are “large & in charge” like women who can think for themselves. By having & sharing your opinion, especially when it’s not the mainstream, can make a man respect you even more.
- Show him you care – even men like to get gifts or receive acts of thoughtfulness. Even if it’s not a tangible present, men still like to know that women are thinking about them when they’re not around. Another good way to show a man you care is to ask him about something he mentioned that was important to him.
- Have your own desires / interests – have your own life outside of your boyfriend. Don’t ever be accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This implies that your life revolves around him, which it shouldn’t. Plus, having outside interests gives you something that you can talk about with passion & intelligence.
- Take some initiative – men actually like it when we take charge (at least some of the time). Showing up & taking charge is what men typically have to do all day at work, so when they can relinquish some of their decision-making powers to you, it can be a relief.
- Be interested in what he has to say and act on it – if your man has an interest in rocks not only should you listen to him talk about rocks without yawning, look into getting him the best book you can afford on petrified materials, or better yet, invest in a rock excavation tour! This shows genuine interest and your desire to make him happy!
- Be honest – who doesn’t like honesty? When you are honest with your man, you’ll never have to worry about covering anything up or getting “caught up”. Plus, by being honest you don’t have to be anyone other than you!
- Love him – all we need is love. Need I say more?! 😊