What’s Stopping You?

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24th March 2017

For the past two years, I have been thinking about setting up a blog. I am passionate about the power of reflection and I want to write regular, short pieces that prompt useful reflection for myself, which might be of interest, or use, to others. Last year, I gave myself a deadline … to start writing a blog before I was 40 years old. Today, on the day of my 40th birthday, time is running out!  I was born in the evening, so I reckon that as long as I publish my first blog before this evening, I can claim that I met my goal!  This time yesterday I didn’t have a website, I had no clue about blogging and I hadn’t written a thing.  This is truly a dash to the finish line!

Why have I procrastinated for so long? Writing is something I enjoy doing. Blogging interests me. This is a self-identified goal. So why on earth have I harbored this idea for two years, doing nothing about it whilst berating myself for not getting started? The idea has squatted in my brain, occupying valuable real estate without paying its way….and I let it. Excuses ebbed and flowed. I don’t have enough time was a common one. And yet it always came back to one recurring thought… I want to do it … and yet I don’t. And there’s my answer. I wanted to start blogging and at the same time, I didn’t.  Even though I have lots of reasons for wanting to blog, I have as many, and more, for not wanting to blog. Who am I to start a blog? Will people laugh at me? How do I even go about it? Who would want to hear about my ideas anyway? Who do I think I am? Am I able?….. and the self-doubt floods through. It’s called cognitive dissonance… the discomfort experienced when we are stuck between two ideas, of wanting to do something and yet, at the same time, not wanting to do it. There is the weight of desire on one side of the scales, and the weight of resistance on the other. It’s very difficult to make progress if the weight of resistance exceeds the weight of desire.

So what can you do? Put simply, you must tip the scales in your favour. You must either make the reasons for doing what you want to do so compelling that you simply have to act or, alternatively, reduce the doubts and fears to a level that make it possible to move forward. For me, two things happened yesterday that finally tipped the scales in my favour. Firstly, it dawned on me that I was almost out of time. I had set myself a deadline to do this … my 40th birthday. If I didn’t write a blog by the time I turned 40, I would have failed to meet my own deadline. And I hate failing. So that certainly helped me. In general, self-imposed deadlines work well for me. But, in this case it wasn’t enough to propel me into action. I still didn’t know HOW to do what I wanted. That’s when the second thing happened. Over the course of a birthday lunch with my work-colleagues (Thanks team!) I mentioned my desire to start blogging, secretly glum about the fact that it looked like I was going to miss my target. Instantly, Frank, a colleague, started moving the idea forward for me. He prompted me to think about website domain names I might like and promised to set it up for me so that I could start my blogging journey on my 40th birthday! Yesterday evening I found, to my surprise, that Reflections.ie was available as a domain name. Frank set me up with WordPress, and here I am! Frank took lots of weight off the “resistance” side of the scales for me, by sorting out the scary technical stuff. That allowed me, finally, to get started.


Reflection time.


So, how about you? Are there things you want to do, and could do, but don’t? Are there times when you feel “stuck” between desire and resistance? Do you want to but, at the same time, don’t want to do something? If so, it might be useful to take some time to reflect on what’s going on.

Firstly, imagine an old-fashioned weighing scales and think about where the balance of weight currently lies. Does it lie on the side of desire or resistance? If you haven’t yet started doing what it is you want to do, it’s likely that the scales are currently tipped in favour of resistance.

Next, take time to think more deeply about the weight of your desire. Why do you want to do this thing? Writing your thoughts out will help the reflective process. Make a note of all the reasons you have for wanting to make this happen and then work through them one by one. Which reasons are most important to you? Are they compelling? How can you make each reason more compelling? What would be a good motivator for you? How can you increase the weight of desire? Who or what could help you make this happen?

Next, think more deeply about the weight of your resistance. What’s stopping you? Again, writing your thoughts out will help the reflective process. Make a note of all the things that make this difficult and then work through them one by one.  What are the biggest barriers? How can they be overcome, or at least made smaller? Who or what could help you? How can you reduce the weight of resistance?

And finally, turn this reflection into action which will help you prosper.  Reflect on what you have written. Can you increase the weight of desire about this goal sufficiently to propel you into action? Is there more work that you need to do to work through the barriers? Or are you still stuck? If so, can you make peace with yourself that there are legitimate reasons for not making progress? Can you revisit your aims and change them so they are more achievable? Or is it actually worth progressing at all? Sometimes the bravest thing is to do nothing. Sometimes we want to do something simply because we feel we should, but in truth we’re not that motivated by it. If that’s the case, get rid of the squatters in your brain. Free the space up to think about something you do care about and progress that instead so that you can prosper.

As for me?  Let’s see how long it takes to to produce a second article!

11 thoughts on “What’s Stopping You?”

  1. Hi Catriona,
    How do you go about setting up a blog. Is it expensive? Who did you contact to set it up? Your reflections are interesting.
    Will you be directing your blog towards thoughts on pharmacy or will it be a general life type blog?

    1. Hi Michael. Thanks for reading and for commenting.
      No, it’s very easy, inexpensive and straight forward to set up. I always presumed it would be a lot of hassle, thus the procrastination!
      I found the domain name (reflections.ie) through register365 and it was not expensive.
      Frank set me up with a WordPress account (for the promise of a pint! – I don’t know how much it should cost)
      And then I just started muddling around with it this morning on my day off. In 3 hours I went from having nothing (site or writing) to what you see.
      I’m sure there is lots I need to learn to get the most out of it, but for now I’m just proud, and quite frankly a bit surprised, that I got it up and running so quickly!

      Re: future topics. I don’t envisage being specifically pharmacy focussed, but it will align neatly with the new CPD model for Irish pharmacists which requires evidence of reflective practice. Some pharmacists tell me that they aren’t entirely confident that they are engaging in meaningful reflection. I’m hoping this site might help them with that … and maybe be of use to people outside of pharmacy too.

      I’d certainly welcome your comments and critique of the posts and maybe the odd debate?!

      Thanks for reading

  2. Happy Birthday and congratulations on a wonderful first blog. You have set the bar very high for your future efforts.
    You need a deadline for your next post and I challenge you to produce it before Easter!

    1. Thanks Margaret
      Challenge accepted 🙂
      Thanks for the kind comments and the encouragement

  3. Happy Birthday Catriona!

    On reflections, the challenge for some, is, as James Joyce wrote in Ulysses ” History… is a nightmare from which I’m trying to awake”

      1. … although Stephen, I feel I should acknowledge that this can be difficult, and may require support/assistance and a lot of time. The self- reflection that arose following a very sad loss in my life is what has allowed me to grow and flourish. You couldn’t have told me that at the time though! I would have punched you

  4. Happy Birthday Catriona and well done on a fantastic Blog!

    I love the content and as I am amid a ‘desire vs resistance’ situation right now I found it very helpful. It may just be the kick and inspiration I need.

    Looking forward to your next post.

  5. Great first blog post. sounds like a direct follow up of your presentation in the IPSF World Congress in Zimbabwe, you asked… “are you ready for it?” and now… “what’s stopping you?”. always inspiring… looking forward to more of these posts.

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