My good friend and I recently did a hard thing and embarked on a five-day fast that challenged us on a whole new level. We did a mimicking style fast designed to reset and rejuvenate the body. Fortunately, we could eat some food throughout the fast to sustain some semblance of energy, but still, it was hard as hell. There was no strenuous activity, no alcohol, sugar, animal products, or any food outside of the contents of the program package permitted over the five days.
This hard thing was worth every agonizing hour of hunger and having the ability to sit with every negative emotion that surfaced. There were many moments of questioning the sentences running through my mind, which was the whole purpose of the challenge. Yes, the reset was needed to reduce bloat and accumulated toxins, but this was also a mindset reboot by creating space to examine what I had been thinking over the last couple of months.
It was eye-opening. I did not realize how hard I had been on myself and my regression, believing thoughts that were once released. Funny how these things creep back into my mainstream way of thinking and doing.
What I had been doing was not working, so I decided on purpose to challenge everything I had been doing and take massive action by doing another hard thing. The results yielded clarity, motivation, and embodying the simple notion of feeling better, physically, energetically, and emotionally. I shed mental baggage I had been carrying while reducing the alcohol and gluten bloat during the process. Don’t you love it when you can address two big things at once?! This is what doing hard things and taking action yields.
Over a month ago, I made a rather lofty goal of eliminating my alcohol consumption and overhauling my nutrition for the entire month of September and part of October. My husband was traveling out of state for three weeks, so I figured why not now?
The momentum lasted six days until the next social gathering occurred, and I found myself reluctantly enjoying a beer or four. I mention ‘reluctantly’ because I felt guilty and wallowed in that place where I knew I was disobeying myself on what I set out to do and was not following through with my word. This thought pattern is counterproductive, a form of self-sabotage, and past thinking. Partaking in the activity is one thing, beating yourself up about it, well – nothing good ever comes from it.
Our great friends were about to move to another state, and I wanted to celebrate and spend as much time with them as possible. Any hope of staying on course was tossed out the window. At that moment, I decided to accept what is, have fun, and try not to think about the sadness hovering over me as I knew these were some of the last days with them.
Granting myself permission turned into one big party. That is to drink whenever and whatever I want turning into having cake, eating M&M’s, pizza, and drive-thru. There is no shame in any of this other than eating and drinking to mask my sadness and ability to cope with everything else happening in life right now. Any planning that I had previously done ahead of time was disregarded, and I surrendered to the instant gratification of feeling better at the moment.
The experiences kept piling up, and my waistline followed. The weather turned quickly from skirts and sleeveless tees to jeans and sweaters, and wouldn’t you know, my clothes did not fit! I am talking; I can’t even button my pants type of fit. At that moment, the question of having to purchase new pants or addressing the root of the problem prompted me to get out of my way and do something about it. As you probably know, getting out of your way can be a big struggle.
I messaged my friend and asked if she wanted to do a reset with me. She said yes, and boom, we created a plan and started our accountability right away. It was that easy. As soon as we decided, everything aligned beautifully, and we kept taking another step forward.
Here I am, a few days après fast. I wanted to share the experience and emphasize the significance and power of deciding on purpose to do hard things. As a coach, I have an arsenal of tools to work through these situations. Just because I know these things does not necessarily mean I am practicing them. Common knowledge does not equate to common practice!
I help women do this work every day. They are taking control of their drinking and their life to show up in their day and do hard things. The emphasis is on having accountability and support to move past comfort when they don’t feel like showing up and doing the work. It is inevitable; there will always be obstacles and days when you don’t feel like showing up. These are the moments that define our success, and it is not crossing the finish line. Who you are in the moment and how you are showing up for yourself is what truly matters.
Having clarity about what you want to accomplish is another part of the equation. Identifying a specific goal and setting a timeline will help you focus on taking action and doing the hard thing. So many people worry about how. When you are clear, the how will show up through opportunity, people, tools, and whatever you need. You know what you need to do. Just take one step at a time and ignore the excuses.
What do you need to do to take action in your life right now? Do you need to make a decision? Are you feeling stuck? Have you committed to doing too many things? Are you all over the place?
If you are experiencing any of the above, here are a few questions to consider in gaining more insight into your situation:
– What is one thing that you want right now? Why?
– What needs to change (if anything)?
– What do you want MORE in your life (make a list)?
– What do you want less of in your life (make another list)?
– What needs to happen to commit to getting what you want?
From this place, pick one thing and go all in. Choose something relatively easy and start there. You can take the other road and start with a hard thing as I did with the fast. No matter what, decide, make a commitment to yourself, and focus on that one thing. No matter the scale of that one thing you want to do, take action on it every day. The momentum will build, and you will start seeing results that will push you forward.
For example, if you are looking to reduce your drinking, instead of using sheer willpower and not drinking at all, try giving yourself an extra five minutes of space before you pour the glass of wine. Notice what is happening in your mind during those five minutes. How are you feeling? Just observe those thoughts and notice how it shows up in your body.
You can apply the above example when you are about to open the pantry and grab a snack. Notice what is happening in your mind – are you starving? Or are you bored? Stressed? Irritated? Or need a break and are turning to food to make yourself feel better? Ask yourself the question because your brain will want to come up with an answer.
These simple pauses are part of taking action. You may not be in motion; instead, you understand what is happening in your mind. This will help you move forward or stay static.
You always have a choice. Stop worrying about the outcome and keep going because you can do hard things.