None of us decides one day to lose X lbs. and then, poof! It's gone. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of steps in between to accomplish any worthy goal. And it's those sucky moments of struggle and challenge that really shape us. They help us grow and become more resilient over time.
Just as we push our muscles beyond their comfortable limits so that the muscle fibers are broken down in order to build back stronger, so too do we need to push our mind and courage past our own perceived limits in order to become stronger mentally and emotionally. To be prepared to tackle the next thing life throws at us.
And anything worth doing is worth struggling for. It will require some sacrifice, some hard choices, and failures. But that always ends up being some of our proudest moments. We draw inspiration from those times when we fought and struggled and ultimately beat the odds against us. Even if the result ends up being not quite what we expected, we are changed because of the experience, and that is valuable in itself.
Love the process. That's what it takes to get where you want to be. It's not always fun or easy (although sometimes it is), but if we don't learn to enjoy the process, the act of doing, then what's the point?
I was listening to a podcast a while back (The Accidental Creative if you must know) and the guest was Linda Kaplan Thaler, discussing her book Grit to Great. She mentioned that although we tend to think that talent is what makes someone successful, it's actually their grit, or their ability to hang in there and do the work over a long period of time.
She said that studies have shown that only 2% of prodigies (Mensa-level smarts or extremely high levels of pure athletic/artistic/creative/musical/etc. talent) are actually successful at their pursuits, whereas "98% of the world's most successful people are neither brilliant nor incredibly talented, but they all possess what we call the grit factor."
The grit factor is defined as:
G = guts
R = resilience
I = initiative
T = tenacity
Isn't that so empowering??? We get to have a huge say in our own success with our actions and attitudes. We get to make choices, big and small, everyday that forge our path to a large degree. We don't have to wait around for the world to hand us a certain kind of life, we can go out and get it ourselves. We don't have to be stuck where we are right now. We have a lot of power to change it, to head in a new direction.
In a nutshell:
Be "gritty" in pursuit of your goals. Find a way to love the process. Ultimately, we are responsible for our own outcomes. We can't control other people or their feelings or reactions, nor our level of innate talent or intelligence, but we can control our actions and attitude. We can control what we do, how we do it, and how we think about it. That's on us. And that's a scary yet awesome thing.