“Nothing worth having comes easy.”Theodore Roosevelt
It’s no secret that we must do the hard things to move forward in life. Success never comes from chasing after the easy. It only comes after making hard decisions and taking complicated actions.
So why is it that we so often shy away from the hard things? Why do we take the easy road instead of the one that will lead us to our goals?
Why We Don’t Do the Hard Things
Here are a few reasons why we don’t do the hard things:
First, we’re afraid of failure. We’re scared of not being good enough. We’re fearful of not being able to handle the challenges that come with doing the hard thing.
Second, we’re comfortable with the status quo. The hard thing often means change, and change can be scary. We like our lives the way they are, even if they’re imperfect. Why rock the boat?
Third, we don’t always know how to do the hard thing. It can be confusing and overwhelming. We may not know where to start or what to do next.
But here’s the thing: we can’t let these reasons hold us back. We must push through the fear, the comfort, and the confusion. We have to do the hard thing.
How to Convince Yourself to Do the Hard Things in Life
Ask yourself why you shy away from doing the hard thing. One answer will pop up for most of us — exhaustion.
We’re tired of the world modern society has created. It may not always be physical exhaustion. In most cases, it is mental exhaustion caused by living the way we live, which is even more dangerous.
When we feel exhausted, our brains want to take the easy way out and go with our gut instinct. And the gut instinct may not always point us in the right direction, especially when we’re dealing with something entirely new for us.
Yet, taking the hard road can have major payoffs down the line. So how do we convince our brains to do hard things, even when we don’t want to?
One way to get yourself in the right mindset is to do what’s called “reappraisal.” This is where you label the task at hand to make it seem more manageable and fun. For example, instead of thinking, “I need to run a mile,” tell yourself, “I’m going to feel better once I get to run this mile today.” According to a 2016 study published by the National Academy of Sciences, we are more likely to do the hard thing when we are happy doing it.
Another way to convince your brain to do hard things is to give it the right amount of autonomy. When we have a choice, our brains often want to go with the easy option. But we can override this response by being innovative and providing incentives. For example, If you’re trying to save money, ask yourself: “Do I really need to order overpriced takeout food, or can I make a much healthier meal at home at a fraction of the cost?”
Finally, we can do hard things by practicing the habits of a growth mindset and noticing when we revert to old ways of thinking and behaving. To challenge patterns or systems that enable or inhibit new habits from taking hold, it’s helpful to have the support of others. One way to do that is by sharing stories of trying in a setting where attempts are prized as much as the results.
Remember, this will feel uncomfortable in the beginning. But that’s only because you’re doing this for the first time, and your brain is creating new neuro-circuits.
Understanding your brain better will enable you to work toward accomplishing hard things and manage your fears better.
7 Steps that Make it Easy to do the Hard Thing
While it is vital to do the hard things, it isn’t to say that they have to “feel” hard for you. As I stated in the previous section, you are more likely to complete a difficult task if it feels more manageable. So, here are some ways you can do that:
1. Reduce Daily Decisions
Decision-making is hard. But it’s harder when you’re low on energy and don’t have systems and values to fall back on.
If you don’t have a solid daily routine, you’re more likely to find yourself needing to make decisions for every little thing.
Similarly, values act as a moral system to guide our decisions. Having a strict set of values means you can make many decisions on autopilot based on them alone.
Moreover, your ability to make good decisions decreases during the day. This is because every decision we make uses up some of our mental energy.
The more decisions you have to make, the more your ability to make good decisions diminishes.
So, to consistently make good decisions, reduce the number of decisions you have to make, and create strict routines for the things you do daily.
2. Boost Your Energy Levels
There’s one thing to maintain your energy levels. It’s another to boost it.
Boosting your energy is a matter of getting proper sleep, eating well, and exercising.
When you keep your body in a healthy state, you’re able to maintain your energy levels at your peak. This will enable you to take on any task without difficulty — whether it be easy or hard.
3. Think About Your Future Self
“Easy short-term choices lead to difficult long-term consequences; meanwhile, difficult short-term choices lead to easy long-term consequences.”Rory Vaden
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and make decisions that our future selves will regret. Checking in with your future goals can help you stay on track and make decisions that are in alignment with your long-term goals.
Learn to say No to instant gratification and Yes to delayed success.
4. Know Your ‘Why.’
One of the main reasons people have trouble sticking to their goals is because they’re not personally invested in them. If you’re not emotionally invested in something, it will be a lot harder to find the motivation to stick with it when things get tough.
Make sure your ‘why’ is something that resonates with you on a personal level. And that it continues to force you to push yourself forward, regardless of whether “you’re feeling it” or not each day.
5. Surround Yourself With the Right People
We are a product of our surroundings. When surrounded by positive and inspiring people, hard things become really easy to do.
The people you surround yourself with can either help you or hinder your efforts to do the hard things. Choose to spend time with people who are supportive and who have similar goals to you.
6. Set Your Environment Up for Success
One of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to create an environment that supports your goals.
If you’re trying to quit smoking, for example, get rid of all the cigarettes in your house and avoid places where people are smoking. If you’re trying to eat better, pack your fridge with healthy food options. And if you’re trying to exercise more, make sure your clothes and shoes are easily accessible and that your gym bag is packed and ready to go.
The more you can do to make it accessible for yourself to do the hard things, the better your chances of actually doing them.
7. Make Space
We only have a limited amount of Space in our lives and our minds.
Thus, one of the best things you can do to make it easier to do the hard things is to create Space in your life for them. This means making a conscious decision to say No to things that are not in alignment with your goals.
It can be challenging to say No, but it’s important to create Space in your life for the things that matter to you. When you make Space for the things you want to do, finding the time and energy to do them becomes easier.
Benefits of Doing the hard things
There are many reasons why doing the hard things is the best way to live your life.
For one, it can help you grow as a person. When you challenge yourself to try new things, you’re expanding your knowledge and understanding of the world around you.
You might also become a better person in the process. When you’re faced with a difficult situation, you have the opportunity to rise to the occasion and show your strength and character.
Doing the hard things can also help you stand out from the crowd. When you’re willing to take on a challenge, you’re more likely to be noticed and valued for your efforts.
And, of course, it’s essential to be physically and mentally healthy. Choosing our mental and physical health over the luxuries of modern lifestyle is often hard. So when you decide to do the hard things, you’re more likely to lead a healthier and happier life.
In conclusion, it’s important to do the hard things in life in order to be successful. This may be difficult at first, but it will pay off in the long run. There are many benefits to doing the hard things, including personal growth, becoming a better person, and leading a healthier life. So next time you’re faced with a difficult decision, remember that it’s usually best to choose the harder option.