I have a question for you to noodle...
Does all effort lead to progress?
Something has been surprising (and delighting!) me lately…My clients are choosing more hard-hard tasks.
Easy-hard tasks are those that might kind of suck, but they’re mostly in our comfort zone. (For me, an example is taking on something I don’t have capacity for, rather than inconveniencing anyone else.)
Easy-hard is the stuff you do that takes lots of effort, but is also very familiar. Maybe almost automatic.
For example, like grinding away at a job you hate. Taking care of everyone else's needs but your own. Going on restrictive diet after diet, following repeated breakdowns in consistency without observing the root causes. Crushing yourself with workouts while neglecting longer-term consequences, and then getting injured or not recovering for days.
Hard-hard is the stuff that takes you out of your comfort zone and creates lasting change. It’s effort and it’s unfamiliar. Letting go of someone that’s not good for you. Slowing down and letting your body recover so you can workout and stay strong for life. Examining the difficult emotions tied to your nutrition habits. Asking for help when you’re unsure if you’ll get it.
Here’s when I realized what total badasses my clients are. We were working on stress and nutrition and I gave a kind of a choose-your-own-adventure goal for the week. A couple had to do with actually curbing stress eating, the other was to take a self-compassion approach. So rather than:
“FRACK, I ate that whole thing of Cheeto Puffs. I am literally the worst human. THE. WORST. I have no self-control. Tomorrow I’m only eating kale!”
“Wow, I ate that whole thing of Cheeto Puffs. Something must really be going on. Am I ok? I think I must be feeling really lonely during quarantine (mindfulness). It’s understandable, I’d be looking for ways to cope, this is a hard time and everyone messes up sometimes (common humanity). Ok, so I ate a bunch of chips to cope with my stress...that doesn’t mean anything about who I am deep down. It’s going to be ok. I’m ready to get back on track (self-kindness).”
Trying to resist any and all “unwanted” snacking is easy-hard. Practicing that kind of self-compassions is hard-hard. And you know what? An astounding number of my clients are choosing the hardest-hard goals to focus on. How impressive they are.
As you think about YOUR easy-hard and hard-hard...not just limited to your physical health..what comes to mind?