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Four Tricks to Overcome Resistance
How to stay on the path to the Highlands
Resistance is the mortal enemy of success.
Steven Pressfield wrote about resistance in The War of Art. The creative professional faces constant resistance, as does the entrepreneur, as does anyone who tries do to something important. Resistance always attempts to stop us from doing the most important things.
The Highlander will face resistance. He will face days he doesn’t want to train, days he wants to break his diet, days he doesn’t want to do anything. Days where everything feels stale. Everything feels frustrating.
This is natural. This is resistance.
Here are the tricks I use to defeat resistance on my path to being a Highlander:
Make a deal with yourself.
Have a default favorite choice.
Do it with a friend.
Just take a walk.
Make a Deal With Yourself
When you really don’t want to train or don’t want to diet, make a deal with yourself.
My favorite deal:
“If I just finish my sled drags, I don’t have to do anything else today.”
“If I get 7 reps on this set, I don’t have to do anything else today.”
“If I don’t eat this cake, I can eat as much cake as I want this weekend.”
More often than not, I’ll finish my set or get my reps or avoid the cake and want to keep going.
This mental trick is simple and effective. Just don’t break any deals with yourself. It’s ok to finish training early or eat the cake as long as you earned it. If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?
Favorite Default Choice
In exercise and diet, choose a few favorite things you can do when you don’t want to train or diet.
My favorite exercises have always been log press, front squats, Romanian deadlifts, reverse sled drags, and pull ups.
When I don’t want to train, when I really hate training and don’t even want to go to the gym, I usually make a deal with myself involving one of those exercises to grind through.
The same idea works for diet. Have a few favorite healthy meals that you can make without having to think too hard about enjoyment. My favorite relatively healthy go-to foods are fried eggs with bacon, eggs with spinach and feta, and grilled ribeye with onions.
The easier you make it to stay consistent in training via things you like, the more you’ll be able to incorporate the important things you don’t like.
Do It With a Friend
Undertaking any training regiment is easier with a friend. A partner increases accountability, improves training effort, and keeps you on track with programmed exercises.
We often think of training partners as gym friends, but for the purposes of longevity, a more powerful friend might be a spouse, a child, or a parent. We all want those we care about to live longer, a goal achieved more easily when we do it together.
Just Take a Walk
Walks have magical power derived from the combination of nature, physical motion, and wandering.
Eventually you’ll be so frustrated or angry or depressed that you can’t drag yourself to do a favorite exercise in the gym or eat a favorite healthy food.
The universal answer to debilitating problems is a walk.