Overcoming Resistance

Dealing with resistance is a common challenge for many of us, and understanding how to overcome it can greatly enhance our ability to achieve personal and professional goals. The experience you described—where starting an activity feels daunting, but once begun, it becomes enjoyable—is a familiar scenario. This shift occurs because once we engage in the activity, we often find that the anticipation of difficulty was more daunting than the task itself. The initial resistance is typically mental, and overcoming it can unleash a surprising amount of productivity and satisfaction.

Here are some effective strategies for overcoming resistance to tasks or activities:

  1. Just Start

Often, the hardest part of any task is starting it.

One of the simplest yet most powerful strategies for overcoming resistance is to just start. Taking the first step, no matter how small, can break the cycle of procrastination and reduce the psychological barriers that often prevent us from beginning a task. By diving in and starting the activity, you can often find that the task is not as daunting as it initially seemed. This approach leverages the principle of momentum: once you start, it becomes easier to continue.

The initial action propels you forward, making subsequent steps feel more manageable and less intimidating. More often than not, once you start, you’ll continue beyond your initial commitment because starting is what breaks the inertia. So just start moving in the direction of your dreams and then allow the snowball effect to take place.

Moreover, starting allows you to gather immediate feedback, adjust your approach, and build confidence as you make progress. It shifts your focus from planning and worrying about the entire task to engaging with the process itself.

  1. Break It Down

Large tasks can seem overwhelming and can create mental barriers to starting. For this reason, we recommend to break down tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces. By doing so, you reduce the overall complexity and make each step seem less intimidating. This approach helps to lower the psychological barrier to starting, as beginning with a small, simple task is often much easier than tackling the entire project at once.

Breaking it down also allows you to set incremental goals and track your progress, which can provide a sense of accomplishment and keep you motivated. Each small victory builds momentum, making it easier to continue moving forward. Additionally, this strategy helps to identify any potential obstacles early on, allowing you to address them before they become overwhelming.

By focusing on one step at a time, you can maintain a steady pace and avoid feeling overwhelmed, ultimately making the entire process more manageable and increasing your chances of success.

  1. Schedule It

One of the most effective strategies for overcoming resistance is to schedule the task. By allocating a specific time slot in your calendar for the activity, you commit to making it a priority. This approach transforms the task from a vague intention into a concrete appointment, which can help reduce procrastination and mental resistance.

Scheduling the task also helps to create a structured routine, making it easier to develop consistent habits. Additionally, when you see the task written down in your schedule, it reinforces the importance of completing it and provides a sense of accountability. It can also help you to better manage your time, ensuring that you have a dedicated period to focus solely on the task without distractions.

By treating the task as a non-negotiable commitment, you increase the likelihood of following through and completing it, leading to greater productivity and the achievement of your goals. Often, having it written down in your daily planner, or receiving a reminder about it, can provide the external push needed to get started.

  1. Use the Five-Minute Rule

Tell yourself that you will do the task for just five minutes. After five minutes, you give yourself permission to stop if you want to. This minimal time commitment can significantly lower the psychological barrier to starting a task that can often seem overwhelming or unpleasant. By telling yourself that you only need to dedicate five minutes, you reduce the pressure and make it easier to begin.

The five-minute rule also leverages the power of momentum; after those initial five minutes, you may feel more engaged and motivated to continue working. This brief period can also help you break through inertia and create a sense of accomplishment, making it easier to extend your focus beyond the initial time-frame. Even if you decide to stop after five minutes, you have still made progress, which can build confidence and reduce future resistance.

  1. Understand the Why

Remind yourself why the task is important. What are the benefits of completing it? Whether it’s improving health, advancing your career, or learning a new skill, keeping the purpose in mind can motivate you to push past the initial resistance.

Mindfulness and positive self-talk also play crucial roles in overcoming resistance. By being aware of our thoughts and recognizing when you are being overly critical or fearful, you can consciously choose to reframe your mindset.

Encouraging ourselves with affirmations and focusing on past successes can help shift our perspective from one of reluctance to one of confidence and enthusiasm.

  1. Eliminate Distractions

Eliminating distractions is a crucial strategy for overcoming resistance and enhancing productivity. Distractions can significantly impede our ability to focus and complete tasks, making it essential to create an environment conducive to concentration. Start by identifying common distractions, such as mobile devices, social media, email notifications, and noisy surroundings.

Once identified, take proactive steps to minimize or eliminate them. For instance, turning off notifications on your phone or computer, using apps that block access to distracting websites, or setting your devices to “Do Not Disturb” mode can help maintain focus. Additionally, organizing your workspace to reduce clutter can create a more serene and efficient environment.

Establishing boundaries with those around you, such as communicating your need for uninterrupted time, can also be effective. Creating a designated time and space for focused work, such as a quiet room or a specific time of day, can further enhance your ability to concentrate.

By systematically eliminating distractions, you can significantly reduce the mental friction that often leads to procrastination and resistance, allowing you to engage more fully with your tasks and achieve your goals with greater efficiency and satisfaction.

  1. Reward Yourself

Rewarding yourself is a powerful strategy for overcoming resistance and maintaining motivation throughout the completion of tasks. By setting up a system of rewards, you can create positive reinforcement that encourages you to start and continue working on your goals.

Rewards can be as simple as taking a short break, enjoying a favorite snack, or engaging in a pleasurable activity once a specific task or milestone is achieved. It’s important to tailor the rewards to your personal preferences and to ensure they are proportionate to the effort required for the task.

This approach taps into the brain’s reward system, making the effort feel worthwhile and providing a tangible incentive to push through initial resistance. The anticipation of a reward can transform a daunting task into a more manageable and even enjoyable experience.

Rewarding yourself helps to build a habit of associating hard work with positive outcomes, which can increase your overall motivation and productivity over time. By consistently recognizing and celebrating your achievements, no matter how small, you reinforce a cycle of positive behavior that can significantly enhance your ability to achieve personal and professional goals.

  1. Visualize Yourself Doing “The Thing”

Another powerful method to overcome resistance is through visualizing yourself successfully engaging in and completing the activity. This technique involves mentally picturing the steps you’ll take, the process of doing the task, and how it feels to complete the task. By creating a vivid mental image of yourself in action, you can increase your motivation and confidence.

Visualization helps to bridge the gap between intention and action by making the task feel more familiar and achievable. It activates the same neural pathways in the brain that are used when actually performing the task, which can reduce anxiety and enhance performance. Additionally, it can help you anticipate potential challenges and mentally rehearse solutions, further easing the path to starting and completing the activity.

By regularly practicing visualization, you can transform daunting tasks into manageable and even enjoyable experiences, paving the way for greater productivity and success. 

  1. Visualize the Outcome

In addition to visualizing yourself doing the task, visualizing the outcome can be a highly effective strategy for overcoming resistance. This technique involves creating a clear and detailed mental image of the successful completion of your task and the benefits that come with it.

By focusing on the positive outcomes, such as a sense of accomplishment, the achievement of a specific goal, or the rewards and recognition that might follow, you can enhance your motivation and drive. Visualizing the outcome can help you stay focused on your end goal, making the process seem more worthwhile and less daunting. It also reinforces the reasons why the task is important, which can help push through the initial resistance.

By regularly envisioning the positive results, you can boost your confidence and reduce the fear of failure, making it easier to take the necessary steps toward achieving your objectives. This forward-looking approach not only helps in starting the task but also in maintaining momentum and staying committed until the goal is reached.

  1. Accountability

Accountability is a powerful tool for overcoming resistance and staying on track with your goals. When you hold yourself accountable, you take ownership of your actions and commitments, which increases your motivation to follow through.

One effective way to establish accountability is by sharing your goals with others or partnering with someone who can hold you to your commitments. This external accountability creates a sense of responsibility and makes it more difficult to procrastinate or give in to resistance. Additionally, joining a community or group with similar goals can provide a supportive network of individuals who can provide encouragement, guidance, and accountability.

Setting deadlines and regularly checking in on your progress can help reinforce accountability and keep you focused on your objectives. By holding yourself accountable and surrounding yourself with supportive influences, you create a structure that fosters discipline, consistency, and ultimately, success in achieving your goals.


Resistance is often rooted in fear, uncertainty, or simple inertia. By developing strategies to overcome these feelings, you set yourself up for success in any endeavor. Whether it’s tackling a new project or sticking to a fitness routine, these strategies can help you transform resistance into resilience and achievement.

Ultimately, understanding that resistance is a natural part of the process can be empowering. By acknowledging it and employing these strategies, you can navigate through it more effectively, leading to increased productivity, satisfaction, and the achievement of your goals.

Team Synergy: 4 Areas That Enhance Team Performance

Teams Are the Fundamental Learning Units in Modern Organizations

The very definition of synergy is about creating something new.

Synergy is “the effect of the sum of two or more agents combined being greater than the sum of the individual agents.”

Synergy is a systemic principle that demonstrates that you cannot predict a team’s performance based solely on its member’s individual performance.

A team’s collective performance can be either better or worse than the sum of its members’ individual performances.

In our professional lives effective teamwork can make the difference between competitive advantage and disengagement—we want the whole to be greater than the sum of the parts.

But, how do we create team synergy?

Effective Dialogue Is the Key for Team Synergy

Team learning involves understanding the practice of dialogue.

Mastering dialogue opens the team to the flow of a larger intelligence that goes beyond the individuals understanding.

As a result, team members become bystanders to their own thinking.

They are free to explore complex issues, and team members no longer avoid undiscussables.

The team no longer avoids conflict or engages in rigid polarization, and insight and creative energy is available to them in a new way.

This creates a team that is capable of profound learning and sets the stage for high performance.

If teams learn in this way, they can become a microcosm for learning throughout the organization.

Team Synergy Requires Preparation

As with most human endeavors there are pre-conditions.

Preparedness can be just as important as the synergetic process itself.

There are two basic forms of preparedness:

  1. Personal readiness to contribute to team synergy
  2. Qualities that contribute to the chemistry of teamwork.

Pre-conditions for personal readiness are shared purpose (a common vision), personal mastery, and team-player skills (team learning).

Once these are in place the chemistry of teamwork requires work at the next level.

Qualities that contribute to the chemistry of teamwork are common interests, common values (e.g., humility, honesty), teamwork and discipline, role clarification, transparent communication, adaptability, and agility.

Four Areas That Encourage Team Synergy

After the pre-conditions are in place, here are guidelines that can move you towards synergy:

1. Clarity

Team members need to focus and commit to a common objective.

Goals are clear so that each team member knows what success looks like and most importantly, how to get there.

2. Communication

It starts with “dialogue,” the capacity of team members to suspend assumption and enter into a genuine “thinking together.”

This liberates team members who have a deep sense of their responsibility to the team and the level of communication required of them.

This can be clarified during the planning process.

It is also important to anticipate what might go wrong and how to modify strategies during execution.

3. Empowerment

Empowerment is “The extent to which someone provides the encouragement, tools, and authority to others, enabling them to use their power, talents and skills effectively.”

As a result, each team member believes that they are fully capable of successfully completing the task at hand.

Empowered team members know that the success of the team is more important than that of any individual team member and trust their teammates to do the same.

4. Commitment

Being a member of a synergistic team requires dedication to the overall success of the team.

Trust is critical here.

Each team member needs to know that their fellow team members are committed to supporting them and have their back.

Their success and that of their team is based on commitment.

Investing in Team Synergy Is Worth It

Investing in activities that promote team synergy is common among the best companies in the world.

Depending on the complexity of your team and situation, you may benefit from professional assistance.

Get in contact to learn if your team can benefit from a CEOE team building program.

5 Minute Mastery Weekly Newsletter

Every week we provide a tip from one of the four areas we believe add up to a complete CEO.

    5 Minute Mastery Weekly Newsletter

    Every week we provide a tip from one of the four areas we believe add up to a complete CEO.