Have you ever been in traffic and frustrated that someone cut you off? Have you lost your temper on something so trivial before? We’re so fortunate to live in such comfort, moved from place to place with little effort, which often we forget what it’s like to feel real frustration. Our frustrations come from small places, as we are fortunate enough to live with a lot of ease.
Have you ever chosen to do something because you know it’ll be hard?
We neglect our health and our minds because it’s hard to challenge ourselves. We eat poorly because it’s easier. We don’t exercise because we don’t have to in order to get anything done. We skip reading books to skim the latest 2-minute news clips or Facebook posts because it’s hard to sit with a thought or be patient enough to get to the end of the story and learn what happens.
The saying goes, “if it were easy, everyone would do it.” We’ve been given such an easy life. We no longer have to step outside our door to buy the basic of necessities: food. It all comes delivered right to your door, and if you want – it’ll be hot and fresh ready to eat just the way you like it.
This coming year I’m focusing even more on choices that I know will be hard. Hard is where new birth happens.
I know from experience as giving birth naturally, twice, was hard. Real hard. Ninety-six hours of labor the first time, and 72 hours the second was hard. I chose each path because it was hard, and I was lucky enough to reach the end of that difficult journey both times. I came out a new person, even if it took a year to regrow that stronger spirit after each child.
When we decide to do something knowing it is going to be hard, we grow. We change. We explore the depths of who we are and realize how much more capable we are of doing more, being more, giving more.
Make a choice to do something because it will be hard. It will change you.
This weekend I had a 3-mile training run to do. I knew it was supposed to snow Saturday morning, but I waited. I waited for the snow to get going and for the temperatures to drop to below 24 degrees. I knew the run would be more challenging. Instead of getting out before the storm, I chose a more difficult path, and it was because I remember these snowy runs more than any others. I love them; they bring me to a new place.
I ran 3 miles along the water where it was below freezing. I was underdressed and probably would’ve done better with a regular jacket or windbreaker on. Only a few rare people were out midday getting a walk in before the storm got even worse.
This was the little bit of snow on the ground in the background and on my hat.
Midway through, I started to question my choice. I realized my hat was starting to freeze up, along with the rest of me.
By almost the end, my hat had become an ice ball. My eyelashes were covered in a bit of frost, too.
This wasn’t the last photo I took, but you can see my ponytail even began to be covered in snow and ice!
I wore my new Altra Superior‘s which were designed for trail running. I knew the snow would give them a good test and they performed amazingly well. I stepped in an iced over puddle down the end of my street at the start of my run, and my feet did get wet, but they didn’t freeze or feel soaking wet like I had thought they would. Just that mistake alone could’ve made this run even worse than the cold temps or snow! Thankfully, my shoe choice came through for me.
When I got back, Chris laughed at me for my frozen hair and face, but he was proud of me for getting out there to challenge myself. Then he came out in shorts to clean off his car to show me up. He wears shorts and t-shirts all winter long. I don’t know how he does it and I’m not sure I’m ready for that challenge just yet.
I went without music/podcasts on this run, which was also hard. I wore my watch for gps tracking, and just enjoyed the snow and icy rain as it fell. It was a good run, despite my limbs feeling frozen and numb throughout.
Making a choice to do something hard doesn’t mean you have to run in the snow. It doesn’t mean you have to run at all. It means to look at your life and pick something that’ll give you a little challenge along the way. Don’t get complacent.
Sure, this run wasn’t hard to someone like SUAR, as she runs in the snow and ice in Colorado in shorts! But, it was hard for me. It was a more challenging decision than running on my treadmill in my cozy warm house. Believe me, 1/2 mile in I was wondering why I didn’t opt for that choice and considered turning back.
I don’t want to find myself aggravated over the small things in life like traffic, rude people, or other useless wastes of energy. Joe De Sena agrees and is doing the same thing, albeit pushing himself far more than I.
We’re all capable of going further, faster, and harder than we realize. – Joe De Sena
This run was the icing on the cake of my week. I chose to wake up at 5 am each week day to walk, run, or lift before my children were up and ready to go at 6 am. I felt great at work all day and even more relaxed in the evenings.
In my experience, the days that I challenge myself stick with me.
My life works when I make the difficult choice to get up at 5 am to workout. My life works when I push my limits physically and mentally. I get so much more out of each day when my life works and feel far less concern for trivial aggravations or being sucked in by time wasters.
This year, my focus is on putting my oxygen mask on first before doing it for everyone else. A 5 am workout means I’ve done for ME first, and the hardest part of my day is behind me, which makes for a really great day.
What will you do to challenge yourself this year? What will you do that’s hard, because it is so?