I have a confession to make. (I seem to have many of those in these blog posts, huh?) I have been struggling in recent years to achieve my fitness goals. I have set some nutritional and fitness goals for myself and I have not yet achieved them, despite “working” on them for maybe 5 years now. 5 years! I’m embarrassed to even type that. I typically tend to be the type of person that can muster up enough discipline to achieve most of my goals. Yet this one seems to elude me. I’ve had trainers. I’ve purchased meal prep services… and by the way, both of those things are extremely helpful when our budget allows, but when we don’t have the budget for them, I tend to go all the way off the deep end and lose all progress I’ve made… And then finally, very recently, I’ve figured it out. I’ve figured out what most people that have successfully achieved such goals know. That I don’t want it badly enough.
I was offended with myself once I heard myself say that to myself… yes, I talk to myself sometimes; don’t judge me. I mean, of course, I want to achieve my goal! That’s why I’ve set the goal to begin with. How dare you suggest I don’t want to optimize my health and preserve my sexy?! And again, I heard myself admit, “You don’t want it badly enough.”
As the words sunk in, I had to admit to myself that it was true. How else could I explain reaching for the M&Ms instead of the apples? Or the lemonade instead of the water? Or the social media scrolling instead of the walk around the neighborhood? When I really want something, not much successfully gets in the way of me getting it, as much as is within my control, that is. And this health thing, well, I have to admit, much of it is indeed within my control. Yet I don’t always choose wisely.
Why am I sharing this with you on this blog about marriage and parenting? Well, in short, because the concept is transferable. And relevant to your life as well. Perhaps it’s not a physical health goal, perhaps it’s related to the health of a relationship. Quite frequently, we have people tell us that they wish they had a marriage like ours… or like some other couple they admire… or perhaps they want to strengthen some aspect of their relationship, i.e., communication, intimacy, etc. And then we tell them about the work that’s required for us to grow those areas in our marriage. Many times, the response is one that suggests that the work is too great or the price is too high. That our “work” is more than they’re willing to do. In other words, sometimes people want what we have but aren’t willing to do what we do to obtain and/or sustain it. Yup, just like I want that six pack, but keep eating ice cream. Ugh.
It’s time to re-evaluate what we say we want. Do we really want that strong connection with our kids? Are we willing to cut back on some of our activities, even those that seem important, so that we can have frequent dinners together as a family or regular family game nights? Do you really want to build intimacy in your marriage? Are you willing to share your whole heart with your spouse, choosing vulnerability over fear?
I don’t know about you, but many times I’m inspired by what I see in others. I see people accomplishing amazing things that resonate with me because many of these accomplishments are things that I desire to achieve myself. Seeing others cross the bridge first serves as an example to show me what is possible. But what I realize is that knowing it’s possible is only a step in the journey. Yes, an important step, but certainly not the whole picture. It’s a gift to see the examples that we have in the people that we have access to, but we shouldn’t stop there. We have to also realize that many times, there’s a process involved, and we’ll only get there if we’re willing to do what it takes. It’s not enough to want something, you’ve got to pay the price required.
“But it’s too hard.” … Yes. Sometimes it is. But it’s worth it.
We have some very specific goals for our family life with our kids. We have a vision of what we desire for our kids, and for what we want to pour into them while we have stewardship over them in our home. Since these years are passing by very quickly, we’ve resolved to be very intentional about prioritizing them and making the most of the time that we have with them. There are a lot of measures we’ve put in place practically, and I’ll just say that many of the things that we resolve to do as a part of our “intentional parenting” sometimes make the parenting experience feel harder than it probably has to be. Things like not allowing television during the week. And carving out regular family game nights, and having frequent intentional conversations with them. And sacrificing social and/or professional gains to invest time, energy, and attention in them. Honestly, many times, we’d rather sleep, watch television, or join our “on-the-scene” friends that fill our social media timelines. And let’s not talk about how exhausting it is to be in constant “life teacher” mode, and intentionally connect with each of our three children in a meaningful way Every.Single.Day. Sometimes it is hard. But as we are already beginning to see fruit from the seeds that we’re sowing into them, we’re reminded of how worthy the efforts are. Even though it’s difficult at times.
You will if you want to. You can if you try.
Let this phrase sink in for a minute. Oftentimes, we say “I can’t” when the more appropriate admission may be “I don’t want to badly enough.” Because the truth is, when you really want to do something, you do it. Good or bad. Think about it. Whether it was that degree that you busted your butt for, or that attractive person you just had to get to know. Likewise, that dirt that you couldn’t resist getting into. When you want something badly enough, you do whatever is within your power to make it happen. Otherwise, you’ll make an excuse of why you can’t.
So keep that in mind as you continue your marriage and/or parenting journey. Whether you’re facing obstacles or just working towards a goal that requires you to stretch and grow. Be willing to do the work that is required to get what you say you want. It may be a book study. Or a difficult conversation. Or therapy/counseling. Or an investment of time to really connect at a heart level.
If you want it badly enough, you’ll do what it takes. Now let’s get to work.