Now or later? It's completely up to you!Oct 03, 2022
In previous newsletters, blog posts and on social media, I’ve talked about the concept of “choosing your hard” and I wanted to take some time this week to expand on that idea.
First of all, let’s stop and acknowledge that there are so many situations where we can’t choose what’s hard. No one chooses to get laid off from work, to have a loved one receive a scary medical diagnosis (or to receive one yourself), to be impacted by a natural disaster, to be set back time and time again by systemic racism or social injustice, etc. In these situations (and so, so many more) we get to choose our attitude about the hard thing and our best next steps forward, but we get no say in the hard thing itself.
However, in some situations we have the privilege of “choosing our hard”. And this is what I want to focus on.
It’s hard to make the time and exert the energy to exercise AND it’s hard to live in a sedate body and navigate life without the profound mental and physical benefits of exercise.
It’s hard to meal plan, grocery shop, and prepare healthy, nutrient dense foods AND it’s hard to live in a body that isn’t well-nourished.
It’s hard to stop scrolling or binge watching and go to bed AND it’s hard navigating the next day exhausted from lack of sleep.
It’s hard managing work, kids, aging parents and incorporating new perimenopause self-care routines AND it’s hard hard managing work, kids, aging parents and living with perimenopause symptoms with no self-care routines in place.
So if both situations are hard, doesn’t it make sense to choose the hard that has the best outcome?
It sure does, BUT WHY DOES IT FEEL SO HARD IN THE MOMENT?
Because the “hard thing” with the better outcome requires sacrifice up front with the hope that you’ll experience benefits down the road. And the “hard thing” with the less desirable outcome feels easier or more pleasurable in the moment with the negative consequences seemingly far off in the distance.
So how to overcome the pull of an easier short-term path and choose the thing that feels so much harder in the moment but leads to the outcome we actually want?
There are so many ways you can train your brain to trust that putting off instant gratification is worth the sacrifice in the short run.
Here are a few ideas:
Make a clear plan where you think through all the details of choosing the better “hard”. When, where and how is it going to happen? Schedule it all in your calendar and share the details with any of your people who it may impact.
Ask yourself: What are my tendencies? What excuses do I find? How is my brain looking at the situation? And then troubleshoot the mental, physical or logistical hurdles you uncover.
Maybe you disable social media apps by 9pm on your phone or make plans to meet a friend for a walk, run or fitness class. Maybe you use social media or a show as a reward for doing the harder thing, instead of as something that enables you to put it off.
Maybe you just need to layer in accountability. I’ll often text a friend and say something like, “I made a goal to do this thing, but I’m struggling to actually get it done. I’m going to get it done by 4pm today and then I’ll text you and let you know that I did it. If you don’t hear from me by then, will you follow up? Permission to kick my butt if I’m still making excuses later today.”
By texting my intention I’m solidifying it in my brain, declaring it to the universe and risk looking like a total dork if I don’t get it done. This method has never failed me - I always get the thing done by the time I said I would.
Sending you all THE BIGGEST hugs and tremendous love because life is hard and complicated and sometimes self care feels impossible. But you, my friend, are 100% worth every good thing. Even if that good thing feels hard in the moment.
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