The Real Force of Resistance

“Next year’s gonna be better than this year…” Macklemore blasted through our unfinished basement as I snuck in a workout between Christmas and New Year.

Q4 of 2021 was a beatdown for me. While the overall arc of the professional year was great, it was every bit as hard.

Highest revenue, coupled with highest expenses.

Biggest team, coupled with a bigger team.

Amazing new projects, coupled with some unexpected revenue that rolled off.

Exploring new frontiers, coupled with the fear and insecurities who are always along for the ride.

As I shared my feelings with a friend, the ones about it being hard, feeling some anxiety, wondering if I have what it takes, discussing the sacrifices I’m making personally, physically, and relationally, etc, etc.

He gave some direct and loving advice in the form of a question.

“What would have to change to not tell this same story again next December?”

For me, I wildly overestimate what I can jam into an hour, a day, or even a week.

And yet, I wildly underestimate what can take place in a year, a decade, or a generation.

So with Macklemore filling my soul, my friend’s question racing through my mind, and my body aching for a better way, I came back to a simple practice.

One I’ve adopted, then abandoned, then practiced in pieces, then avoided entirely. Such are the cycles for me.

Really damn simple.

Check a box in a google sheet. One box a day, one habit per line.

13 practices that, when I do the majority of them the majority of the days, lead to some really healthy outcomes.

For January, with a clear vision in my mind, I was damn proud of those 31 days.

For example:

  • Journal + Pray – 30 of 31
  • Meditate – 25 of 31
  • Workout – 30 of 31
  • Alcohol Free – 31 of 31
  • Business + Personal Budget Tracking – 24 of 31 (which is 24 more days than most months)

Then, February 4th came. I can make a bunch of excuses, but really, I fell out of my practices. Not everything, and all or nothing, but, all of a sudden, it felt really heavy.

Weird what happens (sarcasm alert) when the momentum rolls the other way.

Spending went up. Junk food intake skyrocketed. Anxiety boiled. Mind raced.

From 2.4 – 2.14, I didn’t even open the google sheet. Let alone check a box (even though I continued many, but not nearly as consistently, my practices).

“What surprised you this week?” – a colleague asked in Slack, a tremendous question.

The answers from the team were enlightening.

Mine was, “surprised by how much resistance builds up in me when i neglect (even for a day) something simple like: movement, eating well, budget tracking. january was amazing for me in the daily discipline of easy stuff. then february… ”

That was on 2.15, a day after I finally reopened my google sheet and checked a few boxes from a day filled with better practices.

The awareness was this:

The energy and effort required THINKING about doing, starting, or avoiding something is very often way harder than the doing it itself.

Resisting healthier choices and behaviors is a real force, with real power.

And yet, we can name that force. Not even shame it, but honor it. It’s got real power after all.

But can’t we remind it that it is powerful, but also remind it that it doesn’t control us.

When we do so, we’re able to release the resistance, and then move into action. An action as simple as opening a google sheet, checking a box in a cell, and being honest about what the day looked like. Or an action much more difficult.

Perhaps it’s in the awareness, naming, and release where the resistance loses its power, at least for a moment.

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