Struggling with resistance
The gym is not ‘my thing’
I joined a gym recently. If you’d told me that a year ago, I would’ve probably burst into laughter! I don’t think so, being tortured in group lessons with complicated steps, slave-drivers for trainers and intimidating machines. Not to mention all those already fit looking people in hip clothing. You couldn’t push me much further out of my comfort zone … I had so much resistance towards the gym that I’ve tried pretty much everything to avoid it. To convince myself that it just wasn’t ‘my thing’. However, trying to increase my fitness level by myself wasn’t really working either. Which, by the way, wasn’t only due to yours truly but also to the weather (really! ;-))
Exiting the comfort zone (or not)
I’m quite energetic by nature, so it’s no wonder that I kept feeling the need to exercise more, even if only to release some of that energy. I just wasn’t used to stepping out of my physical comfort zone at all, let alone into a gym! On the contrary, as soon as it becomes physically uncomfortable I start feeling to urge to quit. My self-confidence is limited when it comes to sports and thoughts like ‘I can’t do this’, ‘I don’t want this’ etc. pop up quickly. Also, the whole thing scares me a bit somehow. So I don’t push myself. And as such, I don’t stretch my physical condition. Which prevents me from discovering what I’m really capable of and what it’s like on the other end.
Being my own coachee
What’s unusual about this, is that my sporty activities - or rather: the lack thereof - completely contrast how I operate in other areas of life. I’m so used to taking on mental, emotional, spiritual and energetical challenges that I hardly think twice about it. Personal development in these areas is like a second nature to me. Resistance, fear, insecurity … of course I also experience it occasionally, but I’ve never allowed that to hold me back in my life. Perhaps that’s also why I’m a life coach and trainer. Guiding others in this respect is an important part of my work. But now, in the gym, I am my own coachee, having a close encounter with resistance and the myriad ways in which it can manifest!
Knowing it, but not doing it
We often know what needs to happen, don’t we? We just don’t do the things that are truly good for us. The things we ‘should’ be doing for our own wellbeing and happiness. Instead, we seize the many opportunities to remain within (direct range of) our comfort zone. We allow ourselves to get distracted. We make up excuses. We sabotage ourselves. In that sense, we are our own biggest obstacle in life. However, all that avoidance isn’t working, because something keeps nagging ... That voice on the inside isn’t going away. It belongs to your inner compass, which already knows the way, telling you in which direction you may move. It’s up to you to take on the challenge and face the resistance you feel, in whichever shape or form. And that resistance can be sizeable.
Becoming aware of resistance
An important first step is to learn to recognize the voice of resistance in you and to see it for what it is. That resistance is perfectly normal. There will always be a part of you that’s not in favor of all this and that wants to keep things as they are now: safe, predictable, ‘secure’… This is built into our system, it’s like a protection mechanism. Noticing resistance within yourself means you’re creating awareness, which is needed in order to stay on track and not be led astray. Investigate your own resistance and question it, instead of just going with it. Resistance stems from the head rather than from the heart. And if resistance keeps feeding your thoughts, you’ll end up not knowing anymore whether you really want what you thought you wanted. This can be very confusing.
Don’t feed the bears
In any case, the more you feed the proverbial bears on the road that you spot, the bigger these bears will grow. And the bigger these bears become, the more power they gain over you. Which increases the likelihood of you just leaving things as they are. So try to keep your attention primarily focused on what it will yield, on the advantages, the positives of your intended step. Each time you notice you’re focusing (too much) on the negatives, on the bears, you redirect your attention back towards the positives. This may take a lot of practice, but the rewards are great in the end.
What may also help is asking yourself the following question: ‘What is the worst thing that could happen if I do this (anyway)?’ This puts things back into perspective. We tend to create all sorts of doom scenarios in our head that aren’t exactly realistic and that are blown up by fearful thoughts.
You are the boss!
Above all, take a moment to realize that you, a human being with enormous potential, are far greater than the resistance you’re experiencing, even if it doesn’t feel like it (yet)! And as such, you can make a different choice than the one fueled by resistance. YOU decide!
Published on: August 3, 2018