The Hidden Cause of Resistance

If you’ve ever, or are ~

  • “sabotaging yourself” &
  • resisting what you “know you oughtta be doing” to get what you want, this post is for YOU.

What causes resistance?


Fear is one of the reasons – fear of failure, fear of success, fear of bla bla bla.

That’s what most people think is going on when they find themselves stuck or unable to take action. For the most part, it’s pretty correct.

However, I’m here to tell you that there’s another, insidious, unseen reason that you haven’t considered yet! One that might make the leap much easier.


Yes, I know you know what your values are. Or you think you do.

And… when was the last time you checked in with them?

Did you know that values aren’t always constant? That in a given day you act according to different values, not always the same?

Could they have changed completely?

For example: You have a set of values like freedom, comfort, family, love, success, financial freedom etc. You know you have to do X to get Y. And yet, something stops you.

You can’t figure out why! You KNOW you want to be healthy and fit, so what stops you from making choices that will get you there?

Unacknowledged Values.

You see, when you’re resisting something, your focus is on a certain value. When you say you’d like to work out and pig out on cupcakes instead, you’re actually honouring a value you might know know you have, or haven’t thought about.

Laziness / Comfort (or something like that).

And yes, I did just call them values. I’m sick of hearing values like ambition, honesty, growth etc (don’t get me wrong, they are all values of mine too) – how about some values that we “think” are bad but are actually quite important to us?

If you don’t acknowledge and accept them, you’re in for a rough ride, k?

Back to the example on hand:

You aren’t resisting working out, you’re resisting ease / comfort.

And what you resist (haha you don’t want to hear THAt one again do you .. but yes, what you resist persists).

Speaking from experience, I’ve been trying to go to the gym for a year since April 2009 and get “fit”. I go through phases of alternately going and sponsoring them 

for months (ie, not going).

Two weeks ago, something clicked. I decided that was it, I was going to get fit within 2 months and there’s no two ways about it.

(Now, baby steps have been helping – a friend and I go grocery shopping together every Monday and cook for each other on alternate Tuesdays, and as a result I find myself buying healthy and wanting to cook more often)

I looked at my kitchen today and realised that in the past year I’ve moved from cereal to steel cut oats, from fatty biscuits to multi grain crackers, from bread to multi grain bagels ..

ONE small move at a time without being acutely aware of it.

And now – the gym!! I am LOVING it!! It makes me SO happy to go work out now that I know I wasn’t resisting being healthy (what a dumb idea that was) but that 

I was resisting comfort and THAT’s why I wasn’t inspired to go.

Do this:

Stop resisting the comfort (or whatever the payoff is for you) – and tell yourself you can be as comfortable as you want.

Stay in the lazy zone as long as you like. Do NOT do anything about it.

Guess what will happen? Yep, I guarantee you’ll naturally, easefully want to do something about it. Sheer will power is no match for true inner motivation.

Start EASING! Or as Abe would say, LEAN into the resistance.

The minute you decide to honour your current top value and commit to it, resistance has ceased.

It’s not what you think you’re resisting, but what you’re really resisting! Ie, often you’re not resisting taking action, you’re resisting the absence of action.


The commitment that’s here now, is way beyond what I could have “forced” myself into.

So I’m making a strong case for listening to your values, understanding them and changing them if they’re not serving you.

Here’s what my process looked like btw, in case you’re curious.

  • Decide to do something (Commitment!)
  • It starts feeling like work (Resistance)
  • I stop doing it and think that I should do it (Guilting)
  • I force myself to try again (Icky)
  • I give up and decide to not do it (Resignation)
  • I realise one day that I’m honouring a value (comfort) by not doing it (Awareness)
  • I decide that I want a different value to be more important (Aliveness over comfort)
  • I rewrite my values as I want them, not as they are (thanks Tony Robbins)
  • I still keep honouring whatever value shows up (Patience)
  • One day, the Aliveness value seems more important (Change!)
  • So I take action and go to the gym (Inspired Action)
  • Going to the gym feels GOOD!! (Validation)
  • I do it again and again (New habit creation)
  • I make a commitment to my new value cos it’s feeling great (Adoption)
  • This “thing” is now my life and here to stay! (Success!)

Make sense?! Have you got a similar experience to share? I’d LOVE to hear what you think of not honouring values as being a cause of resistance and to see what YOUR process looks like! Thanks for sharing!

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Facebook comments:



  1. says

    Great minds think a like Tia. I’ve been screaming this one for a while (Values)

    Inspired action comes so much easier than needing to be motivated. If one requires external motivation then they aren’t clear on their vision, their philosophies or their values.

    What we resist persists.

    Start embracing what it is you’re resisting. Within that moment you’ll find your gifts and what feels right (Good chance you’ll pick up on your values and what are really important to you because they are supporting that resistance)

    I know in the past I didn’t want to really acknowledge what my values were and they bit me in the ass. It’s can be a hard lesson to learn but true.

    Intention + Mechanism = Results

    When the intention is driven by values that serve then your results can be “purposely” had.

    Great great article. I like how you didn’t just cover something that so many people have scraped the surface of.

  2. says

    Thanks for the awesome response Tony!

    I love this “If one requires external motivation then they aren’t clear on their vision, their philosophies or their values” omg goosebump moment!!

    Had a very interesting conversation with a friend about this post and his view was that when it came to working out, he didn’t like it at all but as soon as the workout was over he felt great. In his case, his driving value is discipline / commitment and sticking it out = honouring them.

    When I tried to make myself go to be disciplined, or for reasons like “it’s good for me”, I failed big-time. Doing what’s “good for me” is not a value, fitting into “that” dress is not a value, and hence, non-motivating.

    In my case the value I’m honouring by working out is Aliveness / Vibrancy and hence I LOVE the working out part now and not just how I feel after that!

    So even though our values are different, if we figure out which one is related to different aspects of our life, we can achieve our goals and take action SO much more easily!

    I’m thinking, many of us don’t *like* certain values cos they aren’t mainstream or accepted by others – like the value of EASY – or maybe they just don’t know it’s a value yet?

    High time to make this values-intentions-inspiration-action angle come to life!

    Thank you for shining the spotlight further on values and how not acknowledging them is an issue bigger than wanting them to be different.

    Your thoughts are much appreciated my friend!

  3. says

    Wow, I really do value taking it slow, having lots and lots of down time,
    yet I’m always wanting to do more active things.
    What a great awareness Tia!
    I get to create a new “value”.
    No wonder it’s so hard to do certain things that you wish you
    were doing. Sometimes it feels like pushing a boulder up a hill.
    This is something I’ve never thought about before and I’m quite
    excited about creating my new values!
    Thanks Tia

  4. says

    Hey Sue! Good on you for creating a whole new value for yourself 😀 Who says we’re limited to what we’ve traditionally thought of as values? Heck, innovate away! I’d love to hear what you come up with 😀 Thanks for chiming in!

  5. says


    Fear is one of the reasons – fear of failure, fear of success, fear of blab la bla.

    Good line – The refinement I would add is one that a coach friend told me a while back.

    She said that it isn’t failure (or success or whatever) that people fear. It is fear that they will fail — and they won’t be able to handle it.

    Always struck me as pretty much on the money.

  6. says

    Ohhhhh well said Mike, THANK you for adding that!

    It IS the fear of thinking we can’t handle failing rather than the actual failure – cos if people said “hey you failed, awesome, congrats!” then we’d be more open to failing right. Or even excited about it!

    Like Seth Godin says, to have one good idea we’ve got to come up with a ton of bad ideas

    And here where he says that failure is a learning event rather than a destination

    Look what you prompted 🙂 Thanks for dropping by, a pleasure to “meet” you!

  7. says

    Wow. This gave me a whole new way at looking at things ,although I admit that I didn’t quite get to my “aha” moment until you broke it down into the steps of your process…. I’m tired and sleepy and going to bed..LOL Very fascinating!

    So I’m now in the comfort value right now, so I’ve got awareness and that feels good. I’ll be on my way again when it feels good to move on to another value I want more than comfort. Then I’ll try that Tony Robbins’ tip–good one, by the way!

    But what if I decide that comfort feels really good? Maybe I’ll stay here forever. Is that resistance, then? 🙂

  8. says

    Spirited One! I was wondering if my process was a bit OTT esp since my friend had one that was 4 steps short .. ha! My process is mine and I’m glad that it’s as convoluted as it is 😉

    WHAT if you decide that comfort feels really good? If you stay there forever and feel good about it, where’s the resistance? I’m guessing that as you give yourself permission to stay as long as you like, you’ll feel prompted to move onto some other value.

    Like Kim Falconer would say – invite the 3rd witch to the party and she won’t try to wreck it like she did Snow White’s bash!! All that your values / feelings/ emotions want, are to be acknowledged, then they’re free and YOU’RE free to move on.

    You smellin’ what I’m steppin’ in sista? Always a plea-yah to hear from you!

  9. says

    Hi Tia,

    I love the way that you’ve broken down your process there – it really shows it clearly – and mine seems to be very similar!! It’s inspired me to get some coaching on my values again re-evaluate(!) them to see if there still aligned with the me I am now, rather than the me I was a year ago when I last really looked at them.

    I love the changes you can see when you look in your food stores over the last year – it’s great to acknowledge the small steps! I’ll do that too.

    Thanks for sharing this,

    Best wishes


  10. says

    Thanks Christine! Would love to hear what changed (if at all) when you looked into your values again – it’s a very powerful and enlightening process. Check out the latest post – those values are doing a great job in moving me forward 😀 Great to hear from you.

  11. Janita says

    Tia, i so needed the reminder of being more aware of my values and the role they play in my life. I will sit down and do some exploring on my values. i love the path of least resistance 🙂 Jippi !! 🙂

  12. says

    Yay Janita! Great to see you here 😀 Let me know if you need help with that or if you find anything surprising pop up on the list. Cheers!


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