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When I did a survey before creating this course, the top obstacle that people put was “Procrastination/feeling lazy.”

Also up there was “Being tired” was also up there, along with “Distractions (TV/internet).”

So it seems that many of our biggest obstacles revolve around the resistance we feel when we’re distracted, feeling lazy, or feeling tired … and the procrastination that results from that.

Today we’ll look at why this happens, and how to overcome it.

Why We Face Resistance

Why do we put off exercise, or doing our taxes, or working on that really important task?

Often, there is a fear that we’re associating with the task — a fear that it’s going to be uncomfortable, that we’re not going to do well with it. A fear of uncertainty.

Often too, we’re just in a mode of following urges — check on email, check social media, check news, do something easy and fast. We feel resistance to changing our mental mode to something that requires more focus, more single-tasking.

We like comfort, we like certainty, we like being in the mode of doing easy things that don’t require too much focus and energy.

These desires are all ideals, but in truth, we don’t need these ideals to be true in order to enjoy life. We can actually be happy in the middle of uncertainty, discomfort, and doing a task with full focus. We just need to let go of our ideals, and embrace these things.

Of course, none of this can happen if we let ourselves go on autopilot. Running from discomfort and clinging to our ideals usually happens unconsciously.

The solution, as always, is mindfulness.

Embracing the Joy of Exercise

Try this:

  1. Pause. Instead of rushing about your daily life, and letting yourself switch from task to task on autopilot … just pause and don’t do anything for a moment.
  2. Notice what mode you’re in. Are you in the switching, fast-task mode? Are you resisting doing something?
  3. Face the resistance. See how it feels in your body. Stay with it with courage and curiosity.
  4. Turn to the thing you’re resisting. Try doing it just for a minute. Embrace it, and see that it’s not so bad.

We can embrace difficult tasks like exercise and tough work tasks, even if they’re uncomfortable. Open your arms and see what it’s like, explore it, find ways to be grateful in the midst of discomfort and uncertainty.

If you’re exercising, you can be grateful for exertion, because it makes you feel alive. You can be grateful for being able to move your body, because it makes you glad you have a body to begin with. You can be grateful for the opportunity to get stronger and healthier.

I love the feeling of accomplishment of doing something hard, the joy of moving and being mindful, the bond I’m forming when I exercise with someone else, the joy of solitude and reflection when I’m doing it alone.

What can you be grateful for? What joys can you embrace? Try it and find out.

Practice Facing the Resistance

Working with resistance takes practice, but it’s an incredible skill to get better at. You can see this not as yet another problem you have to deal with, but as an opportunity to learn and get good at a really cool skill.

Facing the resistance is about not avoiding what you don’t like, but instead having the courage to face it and look it in the eye.

It’s about letting go of our ideals of comfort and certainty, and instead embracing whatever we encounter. Saying yes to the experience of exercising.

With practice, you can get good at discomfort and uncertainty, you can find joy in the middle of them. You can learn to appreciate many things about the present moment, even when your uncomfortable. We can appreciate our bodies, our ability to move, the feeling of exertion, our surroundings, and more. This uncomfortable moment is actually pretty awesome, if we pay attention and learn to appreciate it.

So again, notice when you’re facing resistance, and pause. Turn and face it. Stay with it. See that it’s not a big deal. See that you can embrace whatever you’re facing.

And with this embracing, you are now open to the joy of exercise, which is something I personally love!

Exercise for Today

Two important things:

  1. Practice the pause, staying with your resistance, embracing what you’re facing, for the next week.
  2. Take a couple minutes to do your weekly review and discuss this in Slack.