The Right Tool for the Job


Replacing Resolutions With Resolve, Part 3

The first month of the New Year is rapidly coming to a close. If you imagine the year as a 365-page book, how’s the story going so far? Did your book start off with a bang? Or is it unfolding slowly and methodically? Are you writing your book or does it feel like it is being written for you? If you’ve made a resolution to write a new chapter for yourself this year, we’ve been discussing the seven steps required to make the change you seek a reality.

Last week’s article focused on identifying motivators that help you stay on course throughout your journey toward change by answering three probing questions. To recap, the seven steps are:

1. Map out your vision for what you want to change
2. Identify your motivators as well as stuff that sucks the wind out of your sails
3. Make your list of available resources
4. Create your support network
5. Design your reward system to celebrate accomplishments
6. Write down your action steps and start
7. Evaluate your progress and return to Step 1

This week, we’re looking at Step 3, making a list of your available resources. While making changes to long-standing habits and behavior, essentially the status quo, you must prepare yourself for your inevitable encounters with resistance. In his excellent book The War of Art, Steven Pressfield describes resistance as an invisible force, which “cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field…a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from” making the change we seek a reality. Pressfield goes on to remind us that, “Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance is the enemy within.” When you are creating resolve, essentially preparing yourself for a battle against Resistance, it is best to bring backup.

How does one determine what kind of backup or resources are needed to combat Resistance? Fortunately, my highly esteemed colleague and author, Marilyn Paul, has already provided us with the right tool for this job. In her seminal book (which I regard as essential reading) It’s Hard To Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys, Marilyn explains that we need to list our resources for what she calls the “5 C’s of Support”– Celebration, Confrontation, Compassion, Choice-making and Clearing & Cleaning. She instructs us to make a list of specific individuals or entities that can be called upon to provide support and/or camaraderie in these five areas when we need encouragement to stay on track.

Marilyn’s exercise encourages us to imagine the circumstances that require calling upon our resources. For example, we can choose to celebrate each time we accomplish a percentage of our goal. Using the resolution “I will lose 15 pounds by June 30, 2013”, the list could include, “Each time I lose 5 pounds, I will celebrate with a massage.”

A client that I work with regularly encounters resistance whenever she feels unsure of a project’s first steps. The tool this client uses to break past resistance? She says, “I can call Janine, analyze the project with her and turn it over to her entirely if I don’t have the time to manage it myself. I trust her and her team completely. What a wonderful resource she is.”

Under what circumstances will you need to be confronted in order to stay on track? Who or what will provide this? When will you need compassion? Where will you seek it out? When will you need to make choices? Who or what will assist you? When will you need to clear or clean up? Who or what will help you? Ask yourself each of these questions and write down your answers so that you can refer back to them when you encounter resistance along your journey.

Do you have tried and true resources? I would love to know what you have in your toolkit. If you need some help identifying your resources, let me know. I want to help you keep your resolutions this year.

14 thoughts on “The Right Tool for the Job

  1. Laura Reply

    Right now, my resolve is a personal one of doing a fundraising run in the spring (i am so not a runner anymore) so, I created a website and am blogging about it…(…it really doesn’t matter who goes and reads or visits it but by posting there it keeps my resolve on track!
    So many tools we can all use to keep resolve going!!

    • Janine Post authorReply

      Laura, that sounds like a great tool! What a wonderful way to make yourself accountable and get encouragement to stay the course. I’ll make a visit to your the website, so I can cheer you on!

  2. Kelly Reply

    Your blogging skills amaze me… I hang on to every word… It’s truly a pleasure. This is a fabulous way to keep us going… We all have support, we just need to ask for it…

    • Janine Post authorReply

      Gosh, Kelly, you are making me blush! Thanks so much for your kind words. Writing all of this down has been a pleasure for me, too!

  3. Janet Reply

    Great post Janine! For now, I resolve to balance my business with my newborn. I created a short 5-part to-do list and then a 5-part to-do list to delegate. I resolve to be smart about delegating and not hunker down in front of the computer when I should be taking care of my baby.

    Since you asked, I use my planner which can be found at It’s free and a quick download for anybody. Thanks! Janet

  4. Sandi Reply

    Such a great post – chock full of ideas and strategies! I think the questions are really helpful to clarify. Thanks!

  5. Linda Reply

    Yes, it’s great to have a coach to refer to when I’m unsure of how to begin! And I’ve resolved to pay closer attention to my money and finances and I have a friend that’s supporting me with my investing efforts. Thanks for the post Janine!

    • Janine Post authorReply

      That’s great, Linda! Thanks for posting a comment about using a coach to help you achieve your goals. Sometimes it is hard to remember that you don’t have to go it alone.

  6. Nancy Tierney Reply

    Wow, I never considered calling upon another person to help when the Resistance scares or stops me. I do call upon non-physical entities, but the idea of having a real human being is so appealing!

    Thank you for turning my head around to consider something I’d never have thought of on my own.

    • Janine Post authorReply

      So glad I got to help you see how to widen your spectrum of resources, Nancy! Thanks for sharing your comment!

  7. Lori Byron Reply

    Oooo, I just saw myself in your client story! If all the steps to complete a project aren’t clear to me, I procrastinate. Now I know why *and* I have a toolbox of resources to move through Resistance.

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