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June 16, 2020

Avoid Vs Resist

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I wanted to send forward a lesson that has left an impression on me lately. I learned this through Darren Hardy and it relates to not taking negative action or giving in to negative habits.

There are two ways to go about doing this. You can either avoid, or you can resist. More specifically, avoid the stimulus or resist the urge. I’m just going to tell you up front that you should want to avoid. It all comes back to the habit loop. If you’ve been presented a stimulus and have been prompted to action, then you’ve begun the habit loop and your brain will crave the reward at the end until it receives it. This is very distracting and requires a lot of mental energy, and it is exactly the distinction I am trying to make. 

When you choose to avoid, you prevent the stimulus from happening in the first place. You, therefore, avoid initiating the poor habit, never starting the habit loop and don’t experience the urge to take the action at all. You can do this by keeping your phone away from you or off, closing unnecessary tabs in your web browser, or throw out the unhealthy foods in your pantry.

When you resist, it’s because you were already presented the stimulus. You feel the mental pull to take the action, but you know it’s not what you want to do so you fight against the urge. This requires a lot of energy and no matter how much will power you have, you need to actively use it to resist. This means that you have less cognitive energy to focus on what you are trying to do. This creates poor performance and frustration, which then affirms your brain’s desire for validation and strengthens the craving you’re experiencing.

This is the reason you’re told to keep your phone out of your bedroom at night, delete social media apps, and get rid of your TV. The most effective thing you can do to not take negative action is avoid it altogether.

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