When working with people to help them change habits for the betterment of their lifestyles and health, I’m often met with a response on the order of, “I really want to – but it’s hard.” It seems like an acceptable excuse for not going on a diet, not implementing an exercise program, not going back to school to learn a new skill to make you more competitive, or not risking embarrassment by approaching someone to whom you are romantically attracted. It seems like an acceptable excuse – until you start thinking about it.

Think about it. Was learning to read easy? Was adolescence easy? Was growing up in your family always easy? I personally don’t remember graduate school as being particularly easy. Working for some of my former bosses wasn’t always easy. Building a happy marriage and family life wasn’t always easy. When I increase my workout routine at the gym, it never starts out being easy. Writing my book, Rejuvenating, and getting it published while working full-time and trying to lead a balanced lifestyle definitely wasn’t easy. And while I really don’t remember back that far, I’m pretty sure that learning to walk and talk wasn’t all that easy either.

The fact that something is hard does not mean that it can’t be done, and it’s not a reason for not trying. It’s an excuse! We have all accomplished thing that were hard – but the difficulty was less important than the motivation, and we rarely any regrets after we overcome difficulties and achieve success.

When you try to do something that’s difficult but that you want, it means that you have a high enough regard for yourself to make the attempt. While that’s not a guarantee that you will always accomplish your goal, you can be certain that your efforts will lead to success a certain percentage of the times when you pursue difficult challenges. And when you accomplish something that’s hard, it leads to pride. You never experience pride in the things that you don’t accomplish because you haven’t attempted them.

Ron Kaiser, Ph.D., is a positive health psychologist, coach, author, podcaster, educator, consultant, and speaker. He has been in practice for more than five decades, including 25 years as Director of Psychology at the world-famous Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University. As an innovative thought leader in the field, he has developed the concepts of THE MENTAL HEALTH GYM, GOAL-ACHIEVING PSYCHOTHERAPY (GAP), THE TYPE P PERSONALITY, and REJUVENAGING®.


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