I’m writing this while on a seven hour road-trip to go do something I don’t want to do. I know it’s something I NEED to do, something I’ve been putting off, something I will feel better for having done. But I still don’t like having to do it. Luckily I have a partner who holds me accountable and supports me through the process of dealing with unpleasant yet necessary tasks. Right now he’s sitting 10 inches away, driving along the interstate and giving me little encouraging pats and smiles. He knows I’m grouchy and stressed out about our looming tasks, and he’s trying to help me deal with my inner conflicts and general unhappiness about them. He doesn’t know it, but he’s a Coach.
Do you ever feel this way?
Whatever the goal that you’re trying to reach, certain steps will be easier than others. I like to call those easier tasks ‘low-hanging fruit’. Those are the ones you can complete without too much effort or stress. You might have to stretch a little bit and it might be a wee bit uncomfortable at first, but you’ll get what you want without too much strain. We’re all pretty good at grabbing that low-hanging fruit-but what about the stuff that’s way out of our comfort zone? How do we accomplish those things?
Doing the hard things is where so many of us start to stumble. We know we need to get them done- to check those boxes, take those steps, implement those changes…but still we push back. I believe that every choice we make is motivated either by fear, or love, and my theory is that our resistance to doing these hard things, is a manifestation of our inner fear of change. Change is scary and difficult. Most of us don’t really like change. It’s much easier and more comfortable to keep things the way they are, to stay in the familiar, not rock the boat. Even if our boat is leaky and starting to sink, it’s less scary to stay put and hope to be rescued. But in order to achieve our goals, to grow and become our best selves, we MUST find a way to overcome our fears, love ourselves and take those difficult steps—to do the hard things.
One of the first things I do when I’m feeling the discomfort of making a change is to ask myself what about this particular step is making me uncomfortable, and what am I afraid of? Often I find the answer isn’t about me so much as how this change will affect other people. Like it or not when we make changes in our lives, it affects those we care about and often that is the stumbling block. Most of us are very good at making sure everyone around us is comfortable and taken care of, and will go out of our way to keep it that way. We need to give ourselves permission to let go of that, to stop fearing how our change will affect others. We need to LOVE ourselves enough to put our needs first in order to achieve our goals. I’m not advocating actively hurting others, but instead allow them to manage their own emotions and choices while you focus on taking loving, positive steps in your own life.
Sounds easy right?
Letting go of taking responsibility for others’ reactions to your changes is anything but easy for most of us. That’s why the second thing I suggest is to gather your support system. This can be a major step all on its own! Asking for help, love and support is very alien to a lot of us. Some are blessed to already have people in our lives who will stand with us and help us face whatever difficult tasks are ahead, but many of us need to build that system. Either way, we all need love and support to keep us accountable, give us the strength to overcome obstacles, and celebrate our successes big and small. Once you know you have at least one person in your corner, one person who’ll be there come hell or high water, facing your fears and making changes gets easier. It’s still scary, and still difficult, but support and love make all the difference.
Just imagine how much you could accomplish if you knew you had someone who was there to support you no matter what. What would it feel like to have someone who wants you to achieve all your goals, someone who isn’t judging you or criticizing your decisions and whose only agenda is helping you accomplish those hard things? Whether that person is a sibling, partner, spouse, friend, or Coach, start putting your support system is place and make those changes. Do the hard things...and love yourself.