They say at the moment we really feel like quitting, the hard part is almost over.
My cross country coach used to remind me of this when it came to hills. Many people start every hill with best intentions and then give and walk three quarters of the way up the hill, thinking that they will catch up once they hit the down on the other side.
The truth is, if you can keep your head down, lean forward and grit through the pain just a little longer, you will crest that hill and leave the people walking behind you. By the time the others reach the top of the hill, you will have glided down hill, out of reach.
But that’s easier said than done. Hills suck. They hurt. They get in your head. Even if you start out with a positive attitude, discomfort can take over quickly and cause us to second guess our own strength.
Mind over matter. Mind over matter. One quarter of the hill done. Mind over matter. You look up and there’s still what seems to be a lot of hill ahead. Other people are walking. It seems like a more reasonable plan now to just walk a bit. This is that moment where if you can just focus a little longer, the hard part really will be over.
If you’re not a runner, stick with me. Think of any challenge that you’ve dealt with and overcome. We are wired to resist discomfort. We go so far, then our simpleton brains take over and tell us it’s too difficult. We are programmed to take the path of least resistance.
There’s plenty of advice out there that teaches us how to get through these crucial moments, but one really simple one is to start with mindfulness. Just like they say when running a hill, “mind over matter.”
Just remember, if it feels too hard, if you’ve put everything in to it and don’t think like you can endure any more, you’re probably very close to being through the hard part.