Fifteen steps backwards

There are many things that make changing personal habits very hard. But, one that makes this process supremely frustrating is the fact that, after some initial success, you start by taking fifteen step backwards for every one step forward.

We’ve all been there. The first week of our new exercise routine goes great. And, then comes the lull. Two weeks go by. We’re struggling. Should we just give up?

Maybe that’s why personal change is the hardest kind of change there is. Dealing with the obvious conflict between our rational and emotional selves can drive us nuts. And, try as we might, there really isn’t an easy solution. There are no hacks that can solve the problem. There is only awareness, thought, patience and consistent effort.

Take one step forward and fifteen steps back. Then, try again. And, again – maybe it will be fourteen steps back this time. And, yet, you’ll continue to feel that stubborn force pushing you back.

Steven Pressfield called this force the resistance – the force that acts against all personal change, progress and creativity.

You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist. At eighteen he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study… Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.

Overstatement or not, we often find it easier to conquer environments, nations and organizations than to conquer ourselves.

  • We’ve all been there.

    You’ve got that right! That fight between the emotional and rational is real. Indeed, awareness is key. Great reminder!

    • Thanks Bill! Long time!

  • Marvin John Towler

    Great analogy (metaphor) I get those two confused… Excellent post!