I'm not big into making New Year's resolutions, but this year I resolved to make walking every day for fitness a priority. So far, so good. Do I feel I have time to drop everything each morning and walk a mile? No. It's hard to pull myself away.
When I was a teenager in junior high – yes, there were junior highs in those days – I wanted to join the gymnastics team, even though I hadn't developed any skills in that area. I worked hard at learning to do the splits. I worked at it all the time, doing stretches and expanding my splitability. I also worked on teaching my body to do a backbend. That, too, took perseverance. When I had the bending backwards part accomplished, it took more work to be able to stand back up. But it meant a lot to me to be able to do gymnastics, so I stuck with it. Eventually it was a joy for me to be able to do the various tricks and use the apparatuses.
I don't know where that Lynn went to. The Lynn who could try and fail over and over and stick with it regardless, looking to a certain point in the future when I assumed I would be successful. I had that Lynn's pluckiness into adulthood and it helped me write my first two books and forge a career in freelance writing. But at some point, life, in some ways, became a long therapy session, as I began exploring my inner world and what motivates me to do and not do things. It has been fascinating work that has broadened my awareness. But with more awareness has come, well, more awareness. This awareness has been amazing at the same time that it has prompted things that put the brakes on my writing. It seemed like it was too hard, for a variety of reasons. I needed all the right conditions to write or I couldn't make myself do it, even though I wanted to.
Another key moment in 2013 has been my awareness that, like prioritizing fitness, a lot of things are hard. But being hard doesn’t actually have to mean much. I've been giving that feeling too much say in what I do. I'm reclaiming my ability to face hard things and get what I want, and acknowledge that sometimes I have to create conditions that support the choices I want to make. I’m grateful to my family for reintroducing me to the opportunity in taking hard things in stride and doing them anyway. These people do marathons, triathlons, climb mountains, do rock climbing, and more things that are challenging but offer benefits they enjoy. I've latched onto a saying one of my daughters-in-law brought to my attention. It's credited to former professional basketball player and author Art Williams and it goes like this: "I'm not telling you it's going to be easy, I'm telling you it's going to be worth it." This is an inspiration to me and is supporting my endeavor this year to say "Yes!" to things I value but find difficult to do, like walking a mile and writing pages every day in my WIP.
Here are other things that are hard to do but worth it:
Submitting books to reviewers, not knowing what they might say.
Sticking with reading Jane Eyre.
Cutting portion sizes at meals.
Reducing sugar in my diet.
Being direct and facing the response.
Hiking a hill.
I'd love to learn what you find hard but worth doing anyway. Share?