“What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.” — Carl Jung
When I was coaching individual clients, most people wanted to break a bad habit or improve their daily lives in some way. These seem like large obstacles, but it’s actually much easier than you would think to get started. The most important thing is to change your mindset first. Then all things will follow more easily. Focusing on the negative will attract more negative. Turn a situation around into a positive and attract more positive. What you resist, persists. Allow me to explain.
Stress Makes You Fumble
Here’s a simple illustration from my own life, using bad traffic on my morning commute as an example. I lived in Los Angeles for a long time, where heavy traffic was a daily occurrence. You expected it to be. You got used to it. And it never improved. Because we expected it to never improve.
Whenever I had an early morning meeting, the traffic was always worse on those days. Why? Because I expected it to be. I focused on how long I was sitting at a red light, how many cars were on the road, the amount of construction. I tried to get out of the house earlier than usual but circumstances didn’t allow it. I would find that my clothes were wrinkled or I had misplaced my keys. My negative thoughts bred more negativity.
Of course I was going to be late, because I expected to be. If I could relax and go with the flow, I would have had a much easier time of it. I couldn’t change the circumstances but I could change the way I felt about them. The more I hurried and worried, the more stressed I felt and the more I fumbled everything I did that morning, and it made me late.
If I focused instead on having an easy commute, I would have happily prepared my clothes the night before. I would have placed my keys where I should. I would have gotten out of the house in enough time to not worry about how much extra time I was going to spend on the road. I would have had more time to enjoy listening to music while I sat at a red light. I would have gotten to my meeting on time and unflustered. Because I expected to.
I didn’t just will it to happen, I actively participated in it happening. That’s the real secret. You’ll hear people talk a lot about The Secret and the Law of Attraction. There are a lot of misunderstandings about the law of attraction. You can’t just wish on a star and wait for good fortune. You have to make room for good things in your life. It’s your choices that make you happy. What you resist persists. What you focus on will grow. Focus on positives. And take action.
The Weight Debate
Let’s take another example. Most people I know want to lose weight. If you constantly beat yourself up about overeating, you will continue to overeat. You make yourself feel shame and start to feel that it’s no use anyway. So you might as well eat that ice cream. Take it a step back to when you put the ice cream in your shopping cart. You tell yourself you can’t control yourself. You tell yourself you’re fat. You tell yourself you can’t help but eat it. Not eating one pint won’t matter in the long run anyway. Because you’re fat. And you expect to stay fat. Sometimes we tell ourselves things even our worst enemies wouldn’t say.
Turn that thought around. Tell yourself that you are strong and knowledgable about nutrition. Focus on health and attract more health. You can choose to go sit in a fast food restaurant and surround yourself with people who eat fast food. Or you can choose to sit in a juice bar and surround yourself with people who drink juice.
You can choose not to exercise because you think you don’t have the stamina and it’s not worth it anyway. Or you can choose to put on your walking shoes and walk around the block. Tell yourself it’s just one block, anybody can do that. Commit to it. Repeat it.
You can tell yourself you can, or you can tell yourself you can’t. Either way you will be correct.
The more you resist change, the more you perpetuate old habits. It doesn’t have to be a major change. In fact, it’s best if it is gradual. You will find that you and everyone around you will slowly get used to it. It will become a part of you. Small changes compound over time. They become habits. You can form healthy habits just as easily as you can form bad habits.
If you’re feeling stuck or in a rut, it’s because you are thinking and doing the same things over and over again. You need to change your mindset. What are you telling yourself? Change your inner dialog a little bit. Make a small change. Do it daily. Watch it grow. Shake up your expectations. Expect your life to improve. Take action and prove yourself right.
What you resist, persists. What you think and feel, you make real.