Do you ever find yourself in the midst of a challenge thinking, “I can’t go on” and “Why is this so hard?” and “What’s the point?” We often have these thoughts as we persevere through a workout. I know in every Bikram Yoga class I take, I have moments when I’m wondering why the heck I voluntarily decided to put myself through that sweaty torture. Yet, since I’m not new to the practice, I know why I did: because I feel absolutely amazing when the class is finished. The struggle – or challenge – creates a long-lasting positive effect.
When you’re in the midst of a challenge, ask yourself:
Is there a long-term benefit and/or positive effect from this challenge?
If the answer is no, you probably can safely conclude whatever you’re struggling through. But if the answer is yes, then continue on. The end result will be worth your effort.
Over the past two years, I have become one of those moms who will do anything to keep her kids’ nap schedules on track. While sometimes this is limiting in terms of what we are able to do on a given day, it’s worth it for those glorious three hours of peace, quiet, and a chance to recharge every afternoon. Lately, the tiniest derailment in schedule will cause my toddler to refuse his nap which makes for a challenging, frustrating, exhausting afternoon. Dinner and the bedtime routine are less than enjoyable when they close up a day with no naps. So, due to his new found sensitivity of schedule, I have become even more stringent.
All this being said, we recently paid a visit to my grandparents (my kids’ great grandparents). The couple of days leading up to the visit I fretted about their sleep, schedules, and food. (Food you ask? What would a trip to grandmother’s house be without some sugary treats? Multiply that by about a hundred when the visit is to the great-grandmother’s)! We went anyway, and everything I was worried about unfolded exactly how I had anitpicated. My toddler ate as much sugar in one hour as I allow in a week. Neither child napped. 3pm to 6pm was filled with whining, crying, and tantrums. The day was exhausting. More than once I thought to myself, if we just hadn’t gone, everything would have stayed on track.
As I lay in bed, I scrolled through the pictures I had taken throughout the day: my kids together at their great-grandparents’ home. My grandfather holding my daughter. My grandmother holding my son. I captured a video of my grandmother reading my son’s favorite book to him. Re-living the day through photos and video caused my frustration and exhaustion to melt into gratitude. Our day and the connection that these visits create, well, isn’t that what life is all about?
Sure, while my kids were melting down I had thoughts of how I would simply rather be sweating with a quick home workout, or at least getting some chores done. Hindsight showed, though, that this particular challenge of dealing with tired kids was so worth it. The long-lasting, positive effect that resulted from our visit completely outweighed the challenge of dealing with tired kids.
I’m starting to learn that most things in life that are truly worthwhile come with challenge. When we overcome the challenge, the rewards are so much sweeter.