Recognising resistance vs. when to move on

In Emilie Wapnick’s book How to be Everything she considers how to recognise when you’ve reached your end point on a project, compared to when you’re experiencing resistance towards that pursuit. Sometimes, feelings of resistance can be confused with it being time to call it a day.

“Resistance is a force within us that wants to keep us safe. It tries to prevent us from shaking things up, pushing ourselves and taking risks… Resistance can take several forms including fear, self-sabotage, procrastination and self-loathing.”

It’s something that can appear and disappear repeatedly over time, and the more important a pursuit is for us, the more resistance we’re likely to feel towards going after it.

To recognise whether you’re experiencing resistance, tune into how you feel – how’s your body responding and what’s your mind telling you? Resistance tends to feel intense and shows up quickly. It’s difficult to ignore because the feelings it brings up are strong: from wanting to quit right now, to having extreme doubt about your capability, finding the work too challenging and being anxious about the outcome. Underneath all that, an interest, and maybe even a nervous excitement, will remain a continuous thread while you’re working towards this pursuit or thinking about the end goal.

Knowing when you’ve reached your “Personal End Point”, however, requires recognising different symptoms. This shows up over time and you may be growing increasingly aware that you feel bored and unchallenged by this pursuit. You’re generally feeling like you’re ready to move on because you’ve got everything you want out of this project, but you’re fighting that feeling. Your original levels of interest and possible excitement have gone – maybe because you’ve fulfilled that interest.

How does resistance show up in your life? Is resistance stopping you from making change in your life?