Episode 158 | Leveraging Internal Resistance

In this episode Dr. Cari Wise shares about the concept of resistance and its impact on our ability to pursue activities that bring us joy and fulfillment. 

She defines resistance as the internal pushback we experience when we want to do something but struggle to take action and provides examples, such as wanting to spend more time on a hobby or becoming more physically fit, but finding excuses or lacking motivation to follow through. 

Dr. Wise explains that resistance often leads to self-judgment, shame, and frustration; but that resistance is a normal and natural response, particularly when it comes to activities that are not considered productive by societal standards. 

She challenges the belief that work and responsibilities should always be prioritized over self-care and hobbies, and encourages listeners to prioritize activities that bring them joy and fulfillment. 

She warns that resistance arises when we try to break the habit of not engaging in activities we enjoy, and that our brains are wired to resist change and reminds us that resistance is not a sign of failure or weakness, but rather a natural response to breaking old habits and forming new ones. 

Dr. Wise advises listeners to push through resistance and take the first step towards engaging in activities they desire, as even dedicating a few minutes to the desired activity can often overcome resistance, lead to enjoyment, and are essential for achieving balance and alignment in our live.

By taking control of our choices and pushing through resistance, we can improve our overall well-being and quality of life.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Resistance is the internal pushback we experience when we want to do something but struggle to take action.
  2. Resistance often leads to self-judgment, shame, and frustration.
  3. Society tends to prioritize work and responsibilities over hobbies, self-care, and activities that bring us joy.
  4. Resistance arises when we try to break the habit of not engaging in activities we enjoy.
  5. Resistance is not a sign of failure or weakness, but rather a natural response to breaking old habits and forming new ones.
  6. Building new habits takes time and effort, and it is important to be patient and compassionate with ourselves during this process.
  7. Pushing through resistance and taking the first step towards engaging in desired activities can often overcome resistance.
  8. Prioritizing activities that bring us joy and fulfillment is essential for achieving balance and alignment in our lives.
  9. Personal well-being is not solely dependent on careers, and individuals can improve their overall well-being and quality of life by taking control of their choices and pushing through resistance.

Website:  https://joyfuldvm.com

Vet Life Academy:  http://joyfuldvm.com/vetlifeacademy

VetMed; JOY CLUB: https://joyfuldvm.com/joyclub

Music Credit: Music by Lesfm from Pixabay



Website: https://joyfuldvm.com



Music Credit: Music by Lesfm from Pixabay


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This transcript is auto-generated and may contain typos.

Hi there. I’m Dr. Cari Wise, veterinarian, certified life coach and certified quantum human design specialist. If you are a veterinary professional looking to uplevel your life and your career, or maybe looking to go in an entirely new direction, then what I talk about here on the Joyful DVM podcast is absolutely for you. Let’s get started. Hello my friends.

Welcome back to another reflection Friday here at Joyful DVM. Today is January 12th, 2024, and this week we’re gonna, we’re going to talk about resistance. So resistance is something that every single one of us encounter. And what I’m talking about when I say resistance, I’m talking about those moments when there’s something that you want to do or some way that you want to be personally.

But then when it comes time to actually take the actions or adopt the behaviors, we push back against it. This shows up in all kinds of different ways. So let me give you a few examples. Let’s say that you want to spend more time on a hobby. Maybe you like doing paper crafting type things, so you wanna spend more time doing that hobby.

You know that when you are doing scrapbooking, that you have fun doing it, that you feel better, that it’s an enjoyable activity. And so you decide that you want to do this, and then when it comes time to do it, you’ve maybe even set aside the time to do it. So maybe you’ve decided, okay, this Sunday at one o’clock,

I’m gonna spend two hours just working piddling with my scrapbook stuff. And then what happens is that time comes up that you’ve decided that you were gonna do the thing and you have resistance. You don’t feel like it. You want to do it, but you just don’t. That’s internal resistance. Another way that this can show up, let’s say that you want to become more physically fit.

And so you have a goal and you have a intention of being more active. So maybe what that looks like is going for a 30 minute walk every single day, whether that’s inside or outside or wherever it might be. And so you’ve planned for it, you’re excited about it because you know what that’s gonna create for you. And then when the rubber meets the road,

it is time to go. You don’t feel like it, you don’t do it. You come up with all these reasons why you can’t. You gotta get your bills paid first. You need to do the laundry, you’ve gotta clean up the kitchen. Whatever it is. There could be a lot of external reasons that you use to justify why you don’t move forward.

Or it just might be the whole bucket of, I don’t feel like it. What happens when we bump up against that? There’s a consequence to that. So when we don’t do the thing that we say we’re gonna do, and this is an internal battle that I’m talking about, there’s also external times when this happens. So it’s, it’s similar, but when we tell ourselves,

I wanna do this thing and then we don’t do it, there’s a real consequence internally. There’s a self-judgment that results, we feel shame, we feel then also frustrated so we can judge ourselves so harshly that we become angry with ourselves for not being strong enough, motivated enough, committed enough, determined enough, insert whatever reason you have to do the thing.

So if we’re judging ourselves for giving into resistance or not moving forward in the moment with the things that we really do believe that we wanna do, when we judge ourselves, we actually make it so much worse. Now, I’m not saying let yourself off the hook for not doing all the things that you wanna do. That’s not what I’m saying at all.

What I’m saying is that it’s very normal and natural for you to bump up against resistance, especially when it comes to spending your time doing something that isn’t considered by our society to be productive. Listen up with this one in our society and the way that we are conditioned in this world to be a quote unquote good human, you must be productive. That means you must be using your time in a way that’s accumulating something so accumulating money for a lot of us.

So are you working? Are you putting forth your effort in a job? We would believe that money spent working or not, money, time spent working is more valuable than time spent scrapbooking or even going for a for a walk. Just notice how there’s some of these rules in our society, these things that we’ve been taught that we really hold to. And so if we have then kind of created this hierarchy of the most valuable ways to use our time,

the most responsible, that’s a better way, not the most valuable ways, the most responsible ways to use our time as we have been taught by society. So what would those be? Let’s kind of pause. What would be the most responsible ways to use our time? Well, we’ve probably been taught that it’s a responsible way to use our time to go to work.

It’s a responsible way to use our time to clean up our house. It’s a responsible way to use our time to help whoever calls us up and needs our help. And then the less responsible ways to use our time would be on doing hobbies and crafts and things that are fun, that aren’t making any money or aren’t actually helping anybody. And probably the very bottom of that for many of us,

comes anything that’s related to self-care. So our own meditation time, quiet time, journaling time, physical activity time, things that are just for us. And when we only allow ourselves time for the fun things and the self-care, when all the other to-dos are finished, we are doing this completely backwards as we recognize that and we start to then prioritize more individually the our time.

So we try to prioritize and start to plan in and schedule time for things like self-care, however that looks for you. Meditation, yoga, going like working out, purchasing, going to the grocery store so that you can purchase nutritious food and plan your meals, whatever that looks like for you. If we start to prioritize those activities, if we start to prioritize the fun stuff,

the hobbies, the scrapbooking, the photography, painting, whatever, horseback riding, whatever it’s that you do, as soon as you notice, I want you to notice that as soon as you start to prioritize that and you say, okay, today I’m gonna spend two hours doing that thing, notice the resistance that comes up internally. The thing you want to do,

you cannot get your butt moving to do, and this confuses the crap out of us. But I wanted to kind of shed some light on what’s actually happening. So all that’s happening is that you are getting ready to break a habit. So the habit that you’re breaking is the habit of not engaging in these things. You have just been in a habit,

like I have been in, in a habit in lots of areas of not engaging in activities that I enjoy. I’m not in a habit of engaging in activities that I enjoy just for enjoyment. I’m not in the habit of engaging in some activities that I know would help me from a physical perspective make me more flexible. For example, I’m not in a habit of doing the splits.

I don’t know that I wanna build that habit, but I wanna give you a tangible example. So I’m not in the habit of doing anything that would allow me to do the splits. So if I wanted to learn how to do the splits, I need to get into the habit of activities that would allow me to do that. If I want to finish up some scrapbooks,

I need to get in the habit of spending time scrapbooking. It’s so simple when we look at it this way. And so the reason that we’re not getting those outcomes is because we’re not putting any time in there. The reason we’re not putting any time in there is because we’re living under this rule. That’s not actually even true that that’s not a good use of our time.

And then when we finally get to the point that we’re pushing aside that rule, I’m saying like, you know what? That’s not actually true. The time that I spend working on me and doing things that are enjoyable to me are actually much more valuable to my life experience than spending all of my time trying to check through the to-do list before I give myself permission to spend that time.

As soon as we kind of get over that hurdle and realize, no, this is actually a valuable way to spend my time, then I’ll be darn, we bump up against resistance. We now, we’ve made the time, we’ve made the decision to do it, and here’s the resistance. We just don’t do it. It’s really confusing, but it’s also really normal.

It’s very, very normal. Whenever we get ready to engage in activities that we don’t do on the regular, that we don’t have a habit of engaging in that we are gonna build, we are gonna come up against resistance. And this is simply, again, that lower part of your brain that’s trying to keep you safe, that is recognizing you are about to do something that is outside of your habit pattern.

It is outside of your regular routine. And it doesn’t matter that working on a scrapbook isn’t actually life threatening because from the perspective of your lower brain, if you’re stepping out of the norm, you’re stepping out of what you usually do, your usual cycle of patterns of behavior, you’re putting yourself in danger. So your brain is gonna offer up to you all these reasons why you can’t do that thing.

And some of ’em are gonna seem really legit. I would irresponsible to spend time scrapbooking when you haven’t paid your bills yet for the month. It’s irresponsible to do that if you, you haven’t cleaned the bathroom, you need to do the laundry first. Once you get the laundry done and you get the house picked up and all the bills are paid and everybody’s called back and you’ve taken out the trash,

then, then you can go work on your scrapbook for two hours. Whose rule is that? That’s nobody’s rule. That’s not true. That’s the kind of thing that gets introduced to us, especially from the time when we’re little kids, right? Because there definitely is a reward and like a reward system there, getting little kids to do their chores, to make their bed,

whatever. Once you do that, then you can go out and play with your friends. That’s wonderful. When you’re a kid, you need that kind of structure. But what happens is, as adults, we take that same idea with us. And so we really believe that until, until the to-do list is done, we aren’t allowed to have any fun.

We definitely aren’t allowed to spend any time just on ourselves. And this becomes a very detrimental, downward spiral kind of habit pattern. Because if you never spend any time in fun and you never spend any time taking care of yourself, then all you’re ever gonna do is work. And then you’re gonna be looking at work wondering like, why am I not happy?

We’re gonna start blaming it on work. We’re gonna try to kind of control everything, you know, perfectionism, hyper responsibility, all of that. We become bitter, angry, jaded, and the job actually takes on. We give the job responsibility for our wellbeing far beyond what the job was ever supposed to have. And yeah, our job in veterinary medicine,

if we’re using this profession, our job absolutely comes with, you know, a little bit higher stakes than a lot of other types of professions. I’m not arguing that at all. But what I’m saying is that when we are so off kilter and the way that we spend our time in general, we start to look at the reasons why. And it’s easy for us to then blame our profession for all of it.

Our profession has plenty of things we can improve upon, absolutely. But we have to recognize that finding balance and creating alignment between these veterinary careers and the rest of our lives requires us to do internal work. Internal work to work through our resistance. Because my friends, as much as veterinary medicine can be challenging and time consuming, and we can have all this anxiety about it and and all these opportunities to manage our focus when we are away from work,

if we don’t know how to know how to deal with ourselves when we are not in the rat race of veterinary practice, we’re still never going to be happy. This is so important for us to see. We have got to figure out how do I deal with me aside from veterinary medicine? As soon as you do that internal work to understand what’s coming up for you,

where the resistance is coming from, and to really start to see that feeling resistance doesn’t mean anything is going wrong. That just because you didn’t take your action, that doesn’t mean you failed to give yourself permission to try and to try and to try and to realize all you’re doing is just building a new habit and coming back to the reality that habits take time to form.

You can’t just flip a switch and say, you know what? I’m gonna scrapbook once a week and have it be so without any kind of resistance or effort. I’m not gonna learn how to be a marathon runner, runner just by snapping my fingers. I’m gonna have to put in the time to practice that. And there are gonna be days that I’m gonna screw that up,

and that’s okay because I’m building a new habit and eventually that habit is gonna be as easy as the habit I have right now, which is to not do any of those things. So we have to notice that when we have a clarity about what we want for our lives, and we even have some clarity around what we need to do individually to get there,

there’s no reason to beat ourselves up when we just can’t take the first step. That resistance is a normal part of your brain. It is this part that’s trying to keep you safe. It’s this part that is completely wrong, but is believing that because you’re about to do something that you never do, that you’re putting yourself in some kind of real danger.

So we can hack that system by doing it anyway, by saying, okay, I’m gonna do the thing. And we do the thing. And once we get into the thing, a few, usually about two minutes in, we start to feel a little bit better. We start to relax. We realize, oh wait, this isn’t life threatening. And we can actually then have fun.

But if we never force ourselves through that little bit of resistance to get moving, then we will stay in the area of inact, of inaction. We won’t start creating any new habits. And this is a really dangerous place to be because that’s where the spiral of judgment and shame, all self-judgment and shame starts to spin and build. And then we start to tell ourselves a story that I’m just not good enough,

motivated enough, energetic enough to be able to do all of these things. Or we tell an external story because of these other things in my life. That’s why I can’t take care of myself. ’cause anytime we blame our careers for our personal wellbeing, we have simply given all of our power away. And we are accepting this idea that we have no choice,

that choices are not ours to make. And I promise you that is absolutely never true. So my friends here, on this reflection Friday, I want you to consider where are you bumping up against your own internal resistance and what can that actually show you? We can leverage this internal resistance because the thing of it is, what I have found in my life is that the things that I want to do that I bump up against the greatest resistance against are the things that I most need to do.

They are the things that are actually going to create for me the greatest energetic shift, the greatest shift in my overall overall wellbeing, the greatest impact in improving my quality of life. But because I am not yet in a habit of doing those things, as soon as I take that first step forward, even if it’s something I was in a habit of doing 20 years ago,

today, I’m not in that habit anymore. When I take that first step forward, I’m gonna bump up against the resistance now that I know it’s coming. ’cause it will come, especially if it’s any kind of creative, playful, right brain activity, that resistance will come. Just know that that’s gonna be part of the journey. But that the resistance is just simply like fog.

It’s not a solid wall. It doesn’t have the ability to stop you. So when you see the resistance, note it, but walk through it. Give yourselves five minutes, 10 minutes engaging in whatever that thing is that you plan, that your brain is trying to convince you you don’t have time for. And I bet you’re gonna find more often than not five or 10 minutes in,

you’re not even gonna remember that you resisted starting in the first place. And as you do that more and more, you start to get your balance back in your life. You start to align in your own experience and in your own journey, and everything else in your life gets easier. All right, my friends, that’s gonna wrap it up for this week’s episode.

I will see you guys next week. Bye for now.