Doing hard things and why it matters

Recently I taught a class all about how to make kombucha. The conversations with the participants and the questions were interesting and varied but several of them revolved around making kombucha being a lot of work!

Is brewing kombucha (or insert a challenge here) a lot of work? Well. . . like so many things, it depends.

It depends on if you’ve done it before.

It depends on whether you know the steps to take to make a successful batch.

It depends on whether it’s a priority for you and it’s something you want to do.

Here’s the thing. . . if you don’t want to take the time and effort to make kombucha, don’t. There are tons of great options to buy it at lots of different stores. Or don’t buy it at all if it’s not your thing.

Woman doing hard things, hiking up a mountain

Doing hard things

But, what about exercise? What about cooking? These are two areas I here from clients over and over again that they are hard.

Again, “hard” is relative and it depends.

Are you trying to do too much too fast?

Are your expectations for yourself bigger than the time and energy you have to dedicate?

Again, if it’s not a priority for you, you’re NOT going to do it. You’re not going to find the time and bring the energy.

So. . . what do you do?

First, let’s take a quick peek at a (rough) concept I recently learned from Yuri Elkaim as another way to describe hard things.

Most of us operate in the comfort zone where the “hard” things like cooking your own healthy meals consistently, working out and building muscle or chasing fitness goals, and even making kombucha. . . seem out of reach.

This is the comfort zone or status quo where the time required is minimal and so are the results.

The problem is that to get to progress and success (whatever that looks like for you), takes time AND walking through the unknown or chaos.

You HAVE to go through the chaos of not knowing what to do to reach success and make progress. The DOING of the thing that seems hard is the only path to progress, success, mastery, and competence.

It will feel HARD at first. Expect it to. Any new thing will feel hard in the beginning.

As you wade through the chaos, you’ll move towards what you want whether that’s to be lean and toned, getting rid of your digestive symptoms, cooking family meals from scratch, or making a batch of kombucha.

Why doing hard things matters

I’d like to share a snippet with you that came to me by way of Atomic Habits author James Clear and written by entrepreneur and writer Nat Eliason on challenging yourself to do hard things and why it matters:

The ability to do hard things is perhaps the most useful ability you can foster in yourself or your children. And proof that you are someone who can do them is one of the most useful assets you can have on your life resume.

​Our self-image is composed of historical evidence of our abilities. The more hard things you push yourself to do, the more competent you will see yourself to be.

​If you can run marathons or throw double your body weight over your head, the sleep deprivation from a newborn is only a mild irritant. If you can excel at organic chemistry or econometrics, onboarding for a new finance job will be a breeze.

​But if we avoid hard things, anything mildly challenging will seem insurmountable. We’ll cry into TikTok over an errant period at the end of a text message. We’ll see ourselves as incapable of learning new skills, taking on new careers, and escaping bad situations.

​The proof you can do hard things is one of the most powerful gifts you can give yourself.

Nat Eliason

Let me reiterate: “The proof you can do hard things is one of the most powerful gifts you can give yourself” BECAUSE “the more hard things you push yourself to do, the more competent you will see yourself to be.”

One mantra I like to use is “I can do hard things.”

I’m training for a 100+ mile bike ride around the lake where I live in upstate New York. When I’m peddling and it feels really hard, I tell myself “I can do hard things”. Mindset is everything.

Erin on a bike ride

How can you apply this in your own life?

Take action

What do you want to do, be, or learn that right now feels HARD?

​Take the first step towards doing it. Enter the chaos. It won’t feel good at first but if you persist, you’ll get there if you have a plan, a recipe, or a guide.

So, what do you want to do, be, or learn that right now feels HARD? Leave a comment below and we’ll all cheer you on. -Erin

Erin Harner

Erin Harner is an Integrative Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), author, and speaker based in Ithaca, NY. Erin melds functional medicine and culinary nutrition to help her clients uncover their unique diet and confidently cook healthy nourishing meals that meet the needs of their whole family. Learn about Erin's services and connect on Instagram.

2 thoughts on “Doing hard things and why it matters”

  1. Ride my bike 10 miles after two hip replacement surgeries in the last 6 months. Have pushed through the chaos to attain 4.5!
    Thanks for the talk!

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