The Internal Resistance Files

Why Trying to ‘Turn Over a New Leaf’ Keeps Us Stuck

It’s time to think about self-transformation in a different way

Jane Elliott PhD
Forge
Published in
7 min readSep 11, 2021

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Several years ago, I was on an academic fellowship and pretty sure I was failing at it.

I’d envisioned myself getting to my office early every day, spending several hours virtuously writing, and then knocking off at 3 p.m. for a run. Instead, I was lying awake all night agonising over everything I’d said that day, sleeping until 11, and rolling into my office just in time for lunch.

By the time I got to my desk at around 2, I’d be drowning in self-recrimination. My office — this hard-won space I’d been so excited to occupy — now felt like the scene of a crime I had committed against myself. I’d killed off my chance for a good day before I’d even gotten out of bed, and there was nothing I could do to resuscitate it. So I’d occupy myself with some busywork, just trying to tolerate being there until I could go home and try again tomorrow.

If you don’t get why I didn’t just do some actual work when I sat down at 2 p.m., then this article is not for you.

It’s for everyone who 100% gets it, because you’ve had similar mornings or afternoons or weeks or months. It’s for everyone who…

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Jane Elliott PhD
Forge
Writer for

Coach, Prof, Writer, Swear-er | I help high-achievers overcome internal resistance—that mysterious thing that makes us struggle to do the work we want to do.