Why We Resist Good Advice

As someone who regularly doles out advice and little nuggets of wisdom, I’ve noticed that advice seekers generally fall into 2 distinct categories:

  1. Those who will follow the good advice that’s given to them or come up with their own equally good course of action.
  2. Those who will ignore the good advice and do nothing at all. These folks also tend to complain the loudest when things don’t turn out how they’d like.

Any guesses as to which of these 2 advice seekers I enjoy working with the most?

My clients pay me to advise them, but it’s their choice to either take it or leave it. I don’t mind when someone follows her heart even if it’s not what I would do.

However, it makes my head explode when someone asks for my advice, ignores it, does nothing, and then comes back to me looking for sympathy. Grr!

Some well-intentioned advice is OK to ignore. That’s why we don’t use leaches to treat illnesses anymore (ew!).

But why do we put up a wall when we hear advice that we know in our hearts is good?

Why do we cringe when someone says “Just burn more calories than you consume!” or “Do your most difficult task first thing in the morning!” or “Don’t quit your day job until your business is profitable!”

Reasons Why We Resist

  • We think the advice is dumb or juvenile. Really, you’re not a little kid who needs to be told what to do, right?
  • We’ve tried the advice before, and it didn’t work. Because shouldn’t we get instant results on the first try?
  • We know the advice will work, but we don’t want to put in the effort. Why leave our safe, snuggly comfort zone?

Your ideal life (a thriving business or career, a healthy body, a loving family, loads of personal time) is worth the effort.

YOU are worth it.

The Quest for the Magic Pill

We know that actually adhering to good advice will help us reach our goals, but it’s hard to say no to those “magic pills” that promise instant results.

This phenomenon is also called “bright shiny object syndrome,” where you run off after the next thing that catches your eye rather than following through on your current path. Squirrel!

I’ve definitely been guilty of looking for a magic pill or quick fix instead working on my mindset. Once I wrap my head around what it will take to do the work, then I can follow the good advice.

Do you really believe you can lose 50 pounds in a week? No, of course not! But you could waste a week searching the internet for a guru or program that makes a crazy promise like that.

Here’s a better idea: you could lose a few pounds in the same amount of time by taking some good advice like counting your calories with MyFitnessPal or using a pedometer to track your steps.

How to Get Over Yourself

The best way to get over yourself and finally reach your goals is to experiment with the good advice you’ve been hearing.

Examine why you’ve been resisting it. What’s the worst that could happen if you try it out for a while? What’s the best that could happen?

If you suspect you’re resisting it because the advice feels like something you’d tell a child, then ask yourself who you’re rebelling against. Maybe you didn’t want to start a savings account because that’s what your frugal mom would tell you to do. Remind yourself that you’re an adult now, and you’re in control of your own choices.

Are you wishing you had someone in your life who could give you good advice and then hold you accountable as you work towards your goals? I’ve got you covered.

3 Simple Steps to Become a Productivity Superstar

Dump your excuses, transform your habits, and become the most productive person you know.


  1. Jessica on March 1, 2015 at 5:27 am

    The advice I always resist is, “Just do it!” Because I’m always looking for the excuse of why I can’t do it, and why it can’t work out. So I won’t do it at all.

  2. Jen Scerri on February 12, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    I love this, Sage! It is sooo true! I have been guilty of not taking good advice because I am too afraid of the unknown. In the end, when I decide to go for it, I wish I had done it sooner! I try to remember that the next time, so I can avoid the unnecessary drama. Sometimes it works 🙂 I’m always learning and striving, I can say that much 🙂 xoxo, Jen

    • Sage Grayson on February 12, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      I do that same thing! I always wish I had done whatever it is sooner. All we can do is keep learning. 🙂