Resistance: What it is and How to Move Through it

By Laura Powers: Writer, Entertainer, and Coach, and host of Write Hot Podcast, Behind the Scenes Podcast, and Powers Hour Podcast.



Resistance is the avoidance of whatever is good, beneficial and necessary for positive change. As the Borg said is Star Trek, “resistance is futile.” In most cases, resistance is futile in our lives, it simply delays our progress and growth. When we experience resistance, we are often simply holding onto old ideas, patterns and beliefs, and resisting change. And change, as we all know, is inevitable.

Resistance can manifest as procrastination or avoidance at what we want to do. It can also manifest as feeling heavy or tired when we try to focus or do whatever we ultimately want to do in our lives. It can also manifest as distractions, or lack of focus. Is there something on your to-do list that always gets pushed back even though you really do ultimately want to get it done? This is resistance and it is a part of being human.

Here are some tips to help you work through resistance:

·       Take baby steps: We can often convince ourselves to make small, incremental progress. Over time, these baby steps can turn into giant leaps.

·       Get support: Get a partner, coach, or team to encourage you, provide accountability, and help you work through that resistance with support.

·       Get at the heart of the matter: See if you can address why you have the resistance. Is there an underlying fear that keeps you from making progress? Fear of success and fear of failure are two common roots to resistance. Sometimes even identifying this fear or pattern can help minimize it.

·       Make a plan: When working through resistance, putting concrete plans in place can be a very effective strategy. You can sign up for a class, set-up a meeting with an accountability partner, or hire a coach to help you create plans and stick to them. These are all incredibly effective strategies.

I also find it helpful to have patience and compassion for ourselves when working through resistance. Do not beat yourself up, or send negative energy to yourself by getting frustrated with your resistance or lack of progress. Have compassion but be firm in your approach to working through it. Resistance goes away, the more you do something which brings it up.

I had incredible resistance to screenwriting when I started. I felt overwhelmed and it was easy to avoid it completely. Except here is the thing – I really wanted to be a screenwriter! So I took baby steps: I downloaded screenwriting software, I read articles, and then books on screenwriting, I went to conferences, I talked to experts. I even submitted to contests to give myself writing deadlines. I still experience some resistance to screenwriting but it is so much easier than when I started. I now have 3 completed feature-length screenplays, 2 short screenplays (one of which I have produced), and two others feature-length screenplays that are in progress. It is not easy but it has gotten so much easier! Resistance is a completely natural aspect of learning something new and can be expected when you are embarking on a new undertaking.

As you work through it, remember it gets easier, resistance is normal, and focusing on what you want to accomplish or experience can help you move through it more easily. If you’d like support making a plan and working through your resistance, you can learn more information about working with me on the services page of my website:

Hang in there and keep working through it! It is rewarding and your muscles to working through resistance get stronger as you go.