Choose Your Hard

Choose your hard.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard that saying.  While it’s become a bit of an overused saying, it is something I come back to frequently in my life when I’m feeling particularly unmotivated.  Slowly but surely “choose your hard” is helping me become more disciplined.

Choose your hard – Lifestyle

I first heard the phrase being used in relation to choosing a healthier lifestyle. It was used something like this:

Getting up to do a workout is hard.
Turning down take-out for a cleaner meal is hard.
But you know what else is hard?
Knowing you aren’t at your best and feeling uncomfortable in your skin. Feeling sluggish all the time because you haven’t fueled your body well.

The saying really got into my head.  I truly dislike working out.  I know that it will be better for me in the long run, but it’s so hard to fit that into my day.  However, you know what else I don’t like?  I don’t like knowing that I’m not doing my best. Having low energy all the time is uncomfortable. I don’t like feeling uncomfortable in my skin when I know it’s something that I can change.  When push comes to shove, I know I would rather choose uncomfortable for 40 minutes a day instead of tired and uncomfortable.

And when I am actively making those healthy choices, hard as they may be, they get easier as they become habit. Eating out all the time and sitting on the couch all day can become second nature.  Working out and eating is becoming second nature for me.

I’d only really heard “choose your hard” in the context of a healthy lifestyle versus a sedentary lifestyle, but it dawned on me that the same is also true of our financial journey.

Choose your hard – Finances

You know what’s hard right now?  Being four years into marriage and still renting places we like but aren’t OURS.  Driving a car that sounds like it could fall a part at any second stinks.  Having to turn down trips with friends because we can’t afford to travel as much as we would like is really hard. Saving a significant amount of our income instead of spending it on supposed “lifestyle upgrades” is hard!

Of course, the first few years of marriage were HARD financially too. You know what was hard about our journey? Living paycheck to paycheck was HARD.  Owing people (specifically loan providers) money plus interest every month was HARD.

The thing is, paycheck to paycheck living, surviving off of credit cards,  and not having enough money saved for retirement has become NORMAL. As a society, we’ve made this hard our normal. It’s become second nature to live paycheck to paycheck and to buy all the nice new stuff all the time because it’s “what everyone does”. 

For us, we chose our hard.  We fought to get out of debt and start saving and to live on less than we make. Why? Because we knew that when you choose your hard often enough, it gets easier.  Now, we live in peace with a hope for our future because we chose the “weird” path  as our hard, and we’ve let these habits become second nature to us.  We let ourselves become disciplined now.

What’s hard now is setting us up for success later on.

Choose your hard.