Resistance Can Be A Good Sign

Sue Relihan
Oct 9 · 2 min read

Resistance often shows up just before your system is ready to make a successful shift.

Studies show that when you start a new positive lifestyle activity, your brain floods your body with feel-good neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals create a biological “excitement” about the changes.

For example, when you start a new meditation habit, a new food plan, or any kind of a new “improvement” project these brain chemicals start flowing, fueling your good intentions with seemingly boundless energy.

Initially your new project seems almost effortless. You start to entertain ideas of how easy creating the new habit will be. The world looks rosy and the possibilities seem endless.

But after a little while (usually around 7–10 days) the bottom drops out and those exciting feelings slip away. Your neurotransmitters return to their normal output levels, which is actually good — too much flooding for too long can actually have adverse consequences. But as a result, your new feelings fade away, and typically take your motivation with them.

The next thing you know, you want to quit because without those brain chemicals, the effort to make changes seems almost impossible.

It’s important to realize that this is normal, and if you can work your way through it, without quitting, that’s when the transformation begins to solidify.

This resistance, when recognized for what it really is, can be cause for celebration. It means that changes are not only happening, they are deepening. This is the stage your changes need to go through in order for your new activity to become a habit.

It’s pretty well accepted that new activities take at least 21 days to create new strong neuropathways and become a habit. After about 3 weeks your new habits go from having to be conscious choices to being imbedded in your unconscious, or habit mind, where they begin to happen automatically

It’s important to remember, instead of succumbing to the chemical let down when the new habits feel less pleasant, it’s actually the time to recommit. The resistance is a sign that the changes are starting to take hold and your brain chemistry just needs a chance to catch up.

Looking at resistance from this perspective allows you to keep moving knowing that you are actually headed in the right direction. Persistence is the antidote to resistance.

If you’d like to discuss this or explore any of your values, emotions, and/or feelings, you are welcome to email me at or visit my website: to set up a free 30 minute compassionate conversation.

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