Have you ever been on a roll with your productivity and then suddenly...WHAM...life hits you in the face? Do you ever start practicing a new habit, like journaling everyday, and you’re feeling super awesome, like things are finally unlocking for you for a couple weeks and then...HOLY SHIT...a freaking tsunami of doubt, fear, and anxiety wreck havoc on your emotions? Have you ever started putting yourself out there, maybe jumping back into the dating scene, or actually doing those Facebook Live-streams for your business that used to scare the crap out of you, and then suddenly, all you want to do is crawl in a hole and hide?
I soooo get it. And you know what else, this is to be expected. In fact, it’s natural...literally.
One of my awesome high performance clients was rocking a new meditation practice. She’d committed to doing 100 days of meditation. (Dang girl...get it!) After two weeks, both she and I could see a massive transformation. She was more assertive, confident, joyous, and all around fierce. A total transformation. Yet after 14 days of totally crushing it, suddenly she woke up feeling like her old self succumbing to a shitton of negative emotions and feeling physically drained from it all. That’s when I get an email, “Just struggling today,” it says.
Not only as a coach, but throughout my life I’ve seen this pattern.
Growing up in a home with an addict, there was this constant battle that my dad was fighting to do better, but then...eventually he would slip. I modeled this roller-coaster when I was figuring out how not to be bulimic anymore. I would start certain practices like talking to my body in a different way, making better choices when it came to food, focusing on how my body felt, but then, eventually I would slip back into old bad, bulimic behavior.
It wasn’t until I got certified in neuro-linguistic programming that I understood why this happens, how it’s totally natural, and what to do instead of resisting the struggle and raging against the slip-ups.
Because as one of my coaches, Daria Zest, says, “It’s okay to have a bad day. It’s not okay to have a bad week, or a bad month.” Sounds harsh, I know, but bad days are inevitable. And sometimes you need to curl up and binge watch Game of Thrones more than you need to be productive. But, if you are to be the high performing Queen accomplishing all those big dreams you have, those low-vibe days have to be few and far between rather than the norm.
But, first, you need to know why...
Why is it when you’re seeing massive progress do you slide back into the norm? Why when you’re pushing forward like a freaking rockstar do you suddenly freak out and self-sabotage? Why does it seem after getting into a new, positive routine or habit, out of nowhere, life, work, or relationships seem to rise up and slap you in the face?
Your brain is hardwired to survive, not to thrive.
This is key to understanding why we may not only have pushback, but also why some people stay in abusive relationships, or why people continue downing in junk food after their doctor diagnoses them with diabetes, or why they will continue to work in a job that they hate, rather than find a new one.
It’s our natural survival instinct kicking in.
We may have learned some crappy resources to survive...but hey, we’re alive, right?
Our brain makes the connection that those resources should continue to serve us in the present. Even if they’re shitty. And even if, in reality, they’re competing with what we want our future to look like. So when you have a bad day that interrupts your progressive flow, that’s just your mind reverting to old resources.
It’s saying, “DANGER! DANGER! This is something new. Is this something we should fight or run away from?”
This is a REALLY good sign. It’s unconscious pushback. The bigger the breakthrough, the greater your external circumstances will change...and the greater the internal pushback. Your subconscious mind craves more of the same. Even if the same was you feeling sucky and alone. Even if the same was you being in an abusive relationship. Even if the same was you shoveling junk food into your mouth. There’s going to be some pain as you shift into the change of the next level.
How to Solve Subconscious Mind Pushback
No.1 - Love the Labor Process
It’s like a labor pain as you birth the new you, which is really the old you, but even BETTER. That doesn’t mean, though, that the next level will be painful.
Most people mistake the pain of the change for what they will experience when they get to the next level. That’s why they abort and go back to their old habits, their old neighborhood, their old boyfriends.
It’s the process of change that’s painful, not necessarily the destination.
Instead of resisting the struggle, talk to the it. Ask it why it’s there. What is it trying to show you? It’s trying to protect you from the new, from the unknown. Ask it, what is it trying to protect you from? Is it fear of loss? Is it fear of the process? Is it fear of the outcome? Is it two of these, or is it all three?
No.2 - Show Gratitude
What you resist persists. This is your subconscious mind’s way of wanting to keep you safe in the familiar. It’s trying to keep you alive. Instead of fighting your humanity, practice a little stoicism.
Thank your subconscious mind for doing its job. Let it know that you have a new familiar, that peaceful, strong, confident woman that you’re birthing, and where she’s going is going to be even safer and better than before.
No.3 - Recommit to Your Resolve
Pushback is also a test to your commitment to your new habits, to your goal. The less your commitment is, the louder the pushback is. However, if you are resolved to get to your goal, to do this new habit NO MATTER WHAT, the quieter that pushback will be.
Recommit to what you’ve already resolved to do. Meaning, you already see the goal, you already feel it as being done. You’ve already won...you just have to finish the match.