Monday, January 17, 2011

Turn Resistance into Momentum

 photo by Cheryl Empey

In my last post I wrote about Overcoming Resistance.

The flip side of resistance is momentum

What I was surprised to learn is that resistance and momentum are the same energy.  

Momentum is making resistance work for you rather than against you.

Let me explain with an example from my own life. 

I've been learning about resistance from my own recent experience of joining a gym for the first time. 

As we know, resistance means "opposing force." I have a lot of mental resistance to exercise due to my "lizard brain"--the part of me that wants to conserve energy and stay inert.

And we know that there is a physical law for this: An object at rest tends to stay at rest. (Newton's first law of motion)

My lizard brain would like nothing better than to stay at home, lounge around in comfort, and avoid any physical exertion or potential embarrassment that would be caused by going to the gym. 

Remember, I didn't know anything about the gym. I had built it up in my mind as a scary place filled with weightlifters on steroids, aerobics queens in fluorescent spandex outfits and strange equipment that resembles torture devices! As a non-athletic person, the gym is totally out of my comfort zone.

Yet, I overcame my resistance and went to the gym. I went with my mom, who is also non-athletic. Seeing the positive effects of regular exercise on my mom (increased energy and better heath) created the desire within me as well. Going with her made it much less scary.

I was surprised to discover that not only is it bearable to go to the gym, it is actually a lot of fun for me! 

I went to the aqua aerobics class and had fun jumping, kicking and splashing in the water. I had fun in Zumba class. And I even have fun using the "torture device" machines, because I am getting my blood pumping and I get an endorphin rush, which causes a natural high. 

I feel satisfaction, knowing that I am getting stronger every day.

As I learn about exercise, I learn about resistance (opposing force). 

The most effective exercise will use resistance to build up your strength. 

For example, in aqua aerobics, the water provides the resistance. With regular aerobic activity, gravity provides the resistance. With weights and machines, weight provides the resistance. By progressively taking on more resistance or weight, your muscles will become stronger over time.

I learned about momentum by exercising at the gym. Once I get my body moving, I want to keep moving, and it's hard to stop!

Newton's laws of motion

1. Every body remains in a state of rest or uniform motion unless it is acted upon by external unchallenged force.

2. The body of mass subject to force undergoes an acceleration that has the same direction as the force and magnitude directly proportional to the force and inversely proportional to mass.

Momentum is Law #2. Once you get moving, the energy and force gets behind you to naturally keep you moving.  

So, once you overcome resistance, put the initial force or effort into doing something and get the action going, momentum takes over, and the rest will seem easy. It will seem as if it is happening on its own. 

I have found this to be true in every situation where I have experienced resistance. Once I get moving, it almost takes care of itself.

What are some ways you achieve momentum? Do you have examples of momentum in your life?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How to Overcome Resistance

Did you know that 2011 is the year of personal growth?

The New Year is a time of making resolutions, setting goals and making plans. I have been working intensively on transforming my life for the last couple of years. I thought it would be helpful to share some of the tips that have helped me to create positive changes.

Today I'm going to talk about overcoming resistance. And in my next post I will talk about building momentum.

"The resistance will help find the thing you most need to do, 
because it is the thing the resistance most wants to stop." 
- Seth Godin

What is resistance? 

It is defined as "opposing force." To me, resistance means the feeling I experience when I don't want to do something. 

I often feel resistance to change, growth and taking on more power and responsibility.

Resistance is my instinct for self-preservation. Resistance keeps me in my safe zone, my comfort zone. 

Resistance protects me -- from failure, from getting hurt, from being vulnerable, from being laughed at, from attention, from success.

Even when I felt stuck in a rut, I was unwilling to climb out of that rut. It was my rut. I made it, I knew it. It was my comfort zone.

Seth Godin calls this mentality the "lizard brain." 

The part that wants to be on auto-pilot. Eat, sleep, seek warmth, conserve energy, stay within familiar territory. 

The lizard brain never wants to reach the higher state of potential, because to do so means risking life, safety, comfort and security.

Yet overcoming resistance is essential to challenge ourselves, grow, learn new skills and knowledge, and develop as human beings. 

How can we better ourselves, if we never reach beyond the status quo?

I'm transforming my life by confronting resistance.

Steps to overcoming resistance

Explore the reasons for your resistance

What's stopping you? 

Is it fear? Clinging to the comfort of your routine? Maybe you don't really want to do it, but you feel that you should. Maybe it's what others want you to do. Or you think it's the right thing to do. 

But is it really what's right for you? Look deeper, into the real reasons for your resistance. Ask yourself "Why?" Confront your true feelings. Make sure that this is truly your wish.

Create the desire

Nothing can be achieved without the desire. So if a goal isn't truly what you want, you won't put the work into it. 

To tap into the desire, find the benefit that comes with the action. This benefit will be satisfy something you are currently lacking in your life. It's something you want so much, that you are willing to make changes in your life to get it. Focus on what you want, and know the steps it will take to get there.

Visualize a positive outcome

Picture yourself as if you have already achieved this goal. How does it change you? How does it make you feel? What's different? Let yourself embody this vision.

Ask for support

Ask people to help you. Get a buddy, or two or three. Encourage each other. Check in with your support system frequently and compare your progress.

Give yourself space

If you want to transform your life, you need to make space and time for things to change. 

If you want to make time to exercise, or take a class, you need to eliminate activities that are time-wasters. 

If you want to stop a bad habit, you need to remove everything that reminds you of that habit from your environment.

Believe in yourself

If you don't believe in yourself, why bother at all? You MUST believe in yourself. How? Read every inspirational book you can get your hands on, about people who have succeeded in spite of all the odds being stacked against them. Helen Keller and Malcolm X are two examples that come to my mind.
Affirmations are another tool. Repeat them to yourself, while looking at yourself in the mirror, until you say the words with conviction. Use the energy of your heart to give yourself the strength and courage.

Hold yourself accountable

Make a commitment, to yourself and others. Verbalize it and write it down. Make it a promise that you intend to keep.

Make it fun

Please, don't punish yourself! Find a way to make it fun and enjoyable. 

You will be much more likely to keep it up if it's something you look forward to, rather than dread.

Just do it!

After you make the decision, stop thinking about it, and just go for it!

Start slowly and build over time (baby steps)

If you've never done something before, don't expect to become good at it overnight. Take baby steps to get there, building slowly over time.

Reward yourself for progress

When you make progress, no matter how small: reward yourself with praise, with a visual reminder of your achievement, or a treat that you enjoy.

Build momentum

Don't stop, keep it going! Set the bar higher and challenge yourself.

More about momentum in my next blog post!

What are your tips for overcoming resistance?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Look

painting by Rosa Phoenix

Happy New Year!

It is time for a new look! 

A new look could mean many different things. A clearer vision. A fresh, changed perspective. A different appearance and image. A focus that wasn't there before.

For me, all of these meanings apply.

I got new glasses. As an artist and visual person, it's especially important to make sure my eyes are healthy. With my new specs, I feel I am seeing clearly again, with new eyes! Everything looks clearer, sharper, more true! I am not getting the tension headaches I used to get. Please, get your eyes checked regularly!

I have a new design for my website,  I actually made my new site on Blogger. I wanted to make changes easily, and put the focus on my art. Blogger allows me to do this. I can't believe how much work I put into designing and building my old site in HTML, and I definitely could be working smarter, not harder. My new mantra is K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Sweetie) and this is definitely more simple.

I'm excited to announce a new service: writing for artists. This combines my love for art and writing, and my fondness for artists, my kindred spirits. I do all kinds of writing for artists including art essays, artist interviews, press releases, web content . . . whatever helps the artist communicate with collectors and the public!

Please visit for more information.

2010 was an exciting year for me. I launched my business and learned a lot. It was a year of exploration and figuring out how best to focus my energies. I decided to concentrate on creating my own art, and writing for artists.

I will probably be blogging less frequently, and more thoughtfully, in 2011. I hope that I will be able to write more articles about creativity for this blog and 365 just show up, and more art reviews and artist interviews for Artists Up Rising.

Please bear with me, while I'm finding my way. I so appreciate all your kind and supportive comments, as well as the inspiration I get from seeing your art and reading your thoughts. This is really a wonderful experience for me, and while I may know you only "virtually" for me the connection is real and meaningful.

What changes will you be making in 2011?