Transformation, Inspiration and Purpose are the words I have chosen to live by EVERY YEAR. The words that spark a fire in my soul for me and for the goals I set going forward. But, lately, I have found myself saying over and over "Do What Is Hard."
This has become my mantra, to myself and many of those close to me. We can set goals, dreams, even write the plan - to get the next promotion, lose the next 10 pounds or climb the next mountain. But, the truth is, we often fall short of our goal because we spend time starting and stopping, choosing easy over that which is hard. Instant gratification over long-term gains.
There are so many ways to think about this.
Everyone would climb a mountain for the view if it was easy. But, the beauty is not simply in the view, but found in the hard work it took to get there. That is what amplifies the joy. That work drove the adrenaline rush of success.
One way I have personally experienced this with running. I used to hate running. Then I trained for that half-marathon(mentioned in my last post) and training was miserable. Yet FINISHING was SUCH A RUSH. It was filled with extraordinary joy and a great sense of accomplishment. So much so, that I went on for those bigger goals. I willingly signed up to work harder, to run the marathon, to run faster half marathons. To be better.
But, guess what? Sometimes, we fall into a slump. Sometimes, we stop getting that rush and we start sliding back into what is easy. Ordering take-out instead of eating making a healthy option or sticking to our meal plan, brushing off that work-out to lounge in bed, watching Netflix instead of working on that next project. I have been guilty of all of the above, and recently, too.
That is how I found myself repeating the mantra "do what is hard" over and over again - to myself, to family, even to some of my patients in the hospital.
See, escaping what is hard feels great in the moment. Honestly though, it is more akin to paying for time on a credit card. Yes, I get that time at face value now, but I will pay for it with interest later. I will have more work to do, greater stress, be one workout behind or miss that opportunity I was preparing for.
Today, I stopped to work out instead of going home. I am doing what is hard. I am by a window, looking out at the lake - I would rather be there playing, but I am here in my room, in the quiet, typing right now. I finished my notes for work and decided to share this message now instead of later. Later, there will ALWAYS be something else to do.
How are you using your time? What mountain have you put off climbing because you know it will be hard? Because you fear you will stumble or fall? Get up, dust off, and do what is hard.
I urge you, do what is hard today. If this seems impossible start small. Do what is hard for 5 minutes; 5 minutes now is still a win. It is 5 minutes closer to that view from the top.