When I began practicing yoga, I was extremely challenged by the downward-facing dog pose. It felt uncomfortable and at times painful. I questioned why we had to repeat it so often and hold it for so long. With time and repetition, the discomfort subsided, and what once felt like a burden eventually transformed into a welcome relief and release that I looked forward to. So much so that it became my favorite position during my yoga practice.
I felt the same way about burpees in my cardio kickboxing class. A burpee is when you squat down, put your hands on the ground, jump back into a pushup position, and then reverse those moves to come back up and repeat the entire sequence multiple times. Whenever the instructor said that it was time to do that move, I would suddenly feel the need to adjust my clothing and boxing gloves or get a drink of water.
After a few months, the more I did them, the less dreadful they became. I didn't feel as tired or out of breath, and then one day, I was able to complete the entire set of burpees with ease.
Had the exercises changed?
I had changed.
I was not only able to endure but to master these moves that I'd once thought were impossible. In persisting through these struggles, I had become stronger.
Where are you struggling in your life?
Here are a few strategies to consider as you persist through struggles and increase your strength.
Stretch. Stretching before and after a workout reduces the chances of injury by loosening and lengthening tight muscles so they won’t tear. Think about this the next time you find yourself defaulting to avoiding a tight situation. Stretch yourself by moving toward that thing that lies outside of the boundaries of your comfort zone. This will increase your flexibility and ability to address hard things in the future.
Reps and Sets. If you were asked to do one hundred pushups, the task might feel daunting and impossible. If that task was broken down into ten sets of ten pushups with breaks in between, that would feel more doable. This is also the case with the major struggles that we are facing personally or professionally. Doing something all at once can be overwhelming and thus increase the likelihood of quitting, or it may discourage you from ever even getting started. Breaking something down into smaller, manageable, and repetitive chunks over time will engineer you for success.
Rest. Your muscles need time to recuperate and rejuvenate and so do you. As you work on pressing through a personal or professional struggle toward strength, schedule some real-time for quality rest. This will give you the boost you need to make it through to the finish line.
This week I challenge you to examine an area of struggle in your life. I encourage you to go through it instead of trying to get around it and give it some time. Eventually, that struggle is the very thing that will make you stronger.
I am persistent.
I am consistent.
I am strengthened through struggle.
Master Your Mindset to Manifest a Life You Love. Most Sincerely, Monica Marie Jones Your Soul Journey Guide