Let’s face it: life is hard sometimes. At some point, we all have to face circumstances we really don’t like and we have to take action – even when all we really want to do is curl up in a small ball until the hard part is over with.
What can make getting through these rough periods even more difficult is when we struggle even more than we really have to. Of course, when we’re going through a tough time, we’re usually feeling overwhelmed, scared, maybe a bit angry – and of course, vulnerable. If we let these emotions get the best of us, we can create an even greater struggle for ourselves.
Even when life isn’t that challenging, getting to do hard things is usually a difficult task. The easy stuff is so…well, easy and usually a lot more fun. So we tend to get that done first and then procrastinate with the harder stuff as long as we can.
But what if we didn’t have to ignore the hard stuff until we couldn’t any longer? What if we had some tools in our bag to help us do hard things? And maybe do it by getting out of our own way while creating less of a struggle?
Maybe we could even learn a thing or two to help us navigate our way out once and for all. So here are my favorite ways to get hard things done with less struggle.
How To Do Hard Things First with Less Struggle
1. Do It Now!
Yes, I know, doing the hardest thing first is usually the LAST thing any of us want to do.
However, it’s a bit like taking of a bandage. We all know that if you try to pull off a bandage slowly, the pain seems worse and lasts longer. So most of us would rather just yank it off and be done with it.
The same is true for hard tasks. Rather than waiting until the last minute, with the pressure mounting on you all day, just do it! Wake up in the morning and do hard things first so they’re out of the way.
Not only will you feel better – in body, mind and spirit, but think about how easy everything else will seem once you’ve gotten the hard stuff out of the way.
2. Break It Down Into Manageable Chunks
Everything is less hard when you break it down into small, manageable pieces. Often, we get struggle when something seems so large, so huge, and scary in front of us.
We become too overwhelmed to even begin figuring out how to take the first step. We get caught up in the struggle. It can get us so stuck we end up taking NO action at all.
Instead, whatever hard thing you have to do, break it down into manageable steps. The smaller the steps, the less overwhelmed you’ll feel and the more likely it is that you’ll get through the hard part quicker than you would if you tried to do hard things all at once.
3. Build a Support System
Getting hard things done is nearly impossible when you’re going it alone. If you are without a healthy support system, even simple tasks can sometimes feel more difficult. The struggle seems far greater than it does when you have a team of supporters surrounding you.
With a support system, there are people you can rely on to help support you physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually. Sometimes, that support system can also help you do hard things.
Don’t have a support team? Join a support group, find a therapist, call a friend, or be your own best support system. Deep down, you know you can do it. So keep telling yourself you’re worth getting through these hard stages of life and support yourself the whole way through.
In the end, we have to rely on ourselves first anyway. So we might as well start supporting ourselves 100 percent right now and always. It’s also easier to build up a good support system if you are already your greatest supporter. It will ensure to attract others who will support you in a similar manner.
Hard things are hard for a reason. It’s like dieting – you love pizza and chocolate, so trying to eat a salad instead sometimes seems nearly impossible to do. This is where discipline will help you through the rough patches.
You know what you want. So to gain the desired outcome, you will have to develop some discipline in order to achieve it. If you want to be healthy, you have to eat healthy as often as possible. Eating all the pizza and chocolate you want isn’t a healthy choice. But if you incorporate discipline into your habits, you can actually still enjoy pizza and chocolate – just in smaller amounts.
The discipline comes when you choose to eat 80-90 percent healthy foods, and 10-20 percent pizza and chocolate. Then, you actually stick to it, even when it’s hard and especially when it totally sucks. Discipline will ensure you reach your goal and do hard things – even when you feel like giving in to the struggle.
5. Strive for Best Effort, Not Perfection
It’s already hard enough to get certain things done. But when you add in the pressure of perfectionism, it’s darn near impossible. If the fear of NOT being perfect is what’s getting in your way of handling the hard stuff, you’ve got to strive for Best Effort rather than perfect.
Best effort means you’re doing the very best you can, but you also expect that some snafu’s might pop up along the way. Best effort also means you trust yourself to identify and correct those mistakes as they come up.
Nothing in life is ever perfect. Mistakes are how you learn and grow. So get out of your own way and do the best you can in every moment. You’re only human. The more you just get out there and do your best, the easier life will be and do hard things with far less struggle.
6. Be Your Own Cheerleader
Not everyone has a great support system set in place. In fact, that’s probably why things feel so hard for you lately. It’s tough going when you’re on your own. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It certainly doesn’t mean you’re doomed to struggle forever.
Mirror work is a great way to be your own cheerleader. So is leaving motivational notes around your home or work space. Stand in front of your mirror before you do hard things.
While looking yourself in the eye, tell yourself that you can do it. That you are worthy of having an easy outcome and that you’re good enough, smart enough – and doggone it – everyone likes you. If talking to yourself feels too weird to start with, leaving motivational messages around your home and/or office is also a great way to remind yourself that YOU CAN DO IT!
7. Match Your Energy to the Task
Doing hard things takes A LOT of energy. Even if it’s just calling up your boyfriend to dump him, it’s going to take a fair amount of energy on your part (if you want to do it humanely).
So make sure that you track what times of day you are feeling most energetic and you schedule to do hard things during that time. There will be far less struggle if you’re doing that hard task when you’re at peak energy, than there will be if you choose to tackle the hard stuff when you’re feeling drained in any way.
8. Practice, Practice, Practice
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? You practice. What do I do myself whenever I have something hard to deal with (like telling someone “no,”), especially because I’m a hard core people-pleaser? I practice what I want to say to them first.
Perhaps you have to give a speech and you hate public speaking. Wouldn’t practice be helpful and make it so much easier? When you give yourself some time to go through the process in your head, out loud or however you can do it, it makes the process that much easier when you’re actually going through it.
This will also eliminate much of the struggle when you do hard things, as practicing will show you where your current weak spots are.