doing the hard thing

August 17, 2014

there was a day last week, when both boys were napping at the same time (bliss) and i faced that ultimate question: do i drink my iced coffee and rest on the couch with a good book for a few quiet moments of much-needed rest OR do i exercise? as i was deciding (and leaning toward the former) i got a text from one of my workout accountability partners, saying that she was stepping on the treadmill. that was just the boost i needed and i went for a really great run … the weather was finally cooler and it felt great – both getting a workout done and just being outside, alone.

this morning, i faced a similar situation: both boys were up at the insane hour of 5:30am (what??) and i had agreed to go with a girlfriend to a new exercise class at 10. as 10 approached, i felt weary (already on my 2nd cup of coffee), grumpy from already having broken up countless fights, toy grubbing, falls and mayhem. i ran through all the rationale about why of course going to exercise was out of the question … and that not going was completely legit.

at 9:44 i put on my clothes and decided to GO. just go. and sure enough, it was incredible (an aside: it was the most intense challenging grueling HIIT – high intensity interval training – that i have *ever done. ouch). i drove home, GLAD … that i had made the decision to go.

the hard decision. 

a sweet girlfriend commented last week that she couldn’t believe when i could finally sit and rest i chose to exercise. and after working out this morning, i’ve been thinking a lot about how i’ve been making the hard decision, most days, to exercise.

and it isn’t self-congratulatory, or prideful … as i evaluate this. i am realizing that we can always find some seriously legit reasons not to do the thing that is the best thing. i am for sure in a super crazy busy season w/these two little guys, a teen about to start a rigorous classical education home school high school year, a hubby that works round the clock, a commitment to preparing whole real food most of the time, the list goes on.

and yet i am realizing that what “they” say about building self-esteem: not built through empty praise but through doing the hard thing, experiencing success and growth and competency – it’s true. it feels good to realize that i *can and do often choose the hard thing and that over time, this choosing is growing me and forming me in to more of the person i want to be when i grow up. 😉 in so many areas (like parenting) i struggle with feeling effective and capable. but i am finding that this sense of self-efficacy (to borrow a old sociology term) really does impart a boost to all areas of life. 

the scale isn’t budging much, i am not seeing instant results, but in other (more important?) ways, things are getting better. after making the hard choice, most days i am left with a true boost (is it those endorphins?) and it often informs my eating choices throughout the day. today i was in the checkout line and had hit that late afternoon wall and oh boy, did i want that chocolate bar. but then i remembered the workout i did this morning and didn’t want to trash that with a few bites of pleasure. so, the hard decision was made. no chocolate (wah, lol). i don’t always walk this line very straight. lots of curves and bends in the road for me.

but it feels good to be walking it. 

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