Good morning, and welcome to episode 64 of The Work Of Becoming podcast which is gonna be all about resistance. So, resistance is what we feel when we don’t want to do a task. It’s that sense of kind of feeling stuck. It’s kind of like a numb feeling but also an angry feeling at the same time. It’s that general “ugh” that you get in your body when there’s something that needs to be done and you don’t want to do it.
Now, there’s a lot of psychological underpinnings of resistance that lead to strategies, and I’m not gonna talk about that here because, as you all know, I really only go into the deep science and deep strategies inside of Change Academy. So, if you aren’t a member of Change Academy and you’re loving this podcast. you need to be a member because that’s where I give way more concrete tips, way more concrete resources, strategies, etcetera, etcetera. But today, what I want to talk about is a tactic that I’ve been using in my own life that I’m calling arriving earlier than resistance.
So, story time. I lived with a roommate very briefly when I lived in Alabama, and she was not a very nice girl, and I did not like her, and she did not like me, hence us living together for a very brief period of time. However, there was one parking spot outside of our apartment, and both of us had cars, and there were other available parking spots, they were just down a little bit farther. You had to walk. And so, every day I would go to campus, and I knew that she got off work at 3:30. And so, I made it my duty to leave campus at 3:00 so I would get home, and I would arrive earlier than her, and I would get that parking spot, okay? I won’t go into the whole story, but this roommate was very mean to me, and so, that was what I was doing in return. We can have thoughts about whether that was nice or naughty of me on a different podcast, but that’s what I was doing. I tell you this story not because I want to talk about my roommate, but because I want to use it as a metaphor.
Sometimes, for me, when I have the gym on my calendar or when I have a project on my calendar, there is a large amount of resistance that is going to come with that. So, if I have a long run, I know almost always that the resistance is gonna show up. At some point, I’m going to not want to do it. But one thing that I have noticed is that that resistance doesn’t typically arrive until later in the day. And so, one of the things I’ve been challenging myself to do is imagine that me and the resistance are both fighting for that single parking spot. And so, I ask myself, when I have a task, when I have something on my plate that I know I’m not gonna want to do, how can I get this done sooner rather than later so that I actually beat the resistance, I arrive earlier, and I get that parking spot, I get the task done before the resistance grows?
For me, this goes back to the fact that our brains dislike uncertainty. And so, let’s say you wake up in the morning. You’re sitting on your couch. You have the whole day ahead of you. That means that it is fairly certain that you have time to get that workout in, but as the day goes on, that window becomes shorter and shorter and shorter and shorter. You have less time to get that workout in. And so, all of a sudden, uncertainty grows, and the way that your brain is gonna drive you back to certainty is it’s gonna drive you towards the certain conclusion of not doing the workout. If we just decide we’re gonna skip the workout today, then it’s certain, and we’re safe. And so, if you’re able to arrive at the task, you’re able to get the task done before that resistance arrives, while the uncertainty is still very low, you’re likely going to experience less resistance.
So, I’ll tell you two ways that I’ve applied this:
Number one is that I’ve been going to the gym as soon as I wake up in the morning. I literally get up. I sometimes do a little bit of breathwork or write in my journal, and then I take pre workout, and I’m in the car, and I’m going. I have found that even though there is some resistance because I’m sleepy and I don’t want to get up and I don’t want to get ready, that resistance is way easier to navigate than if I let it snowball and get bigger and bigger and bigger the whole day.
The second thing is that when I sit down at my desk, I look at my list of things that I want to do for the day, I look at my time-blocked calendar, and whatever it is that I’m feeling the most ick about, whatever it is that I want to procrastinate the most, I do that thing first.
Now, there is conflicting evidence about whether willpower depletes. If you’ve heard the idea that willpower depletes throughout the day, it’s called ego depletion, those studies have actually been disproven. Again, this is something that we’ve covered before in Change Academy. I’m not gonna go into the science here, but sometimes it is a little easier for us to self-regulate earlier in the day just because we have less cognitive load, we have less in our brains, and we have less to deal with.
So, I challenge you this week to get to that parking spot earlier than the resistance. If there’s something that you want to do but you know it’s gonna be a real struggle for you, get it done first.