Struggle as a Mindset

We’re always struggling, aren’t we? Whether it’s to get out of bed early enough for a productive day, to go to bed early enough at night for a good night’s sleep, or everything in between, we’re struggling. But it doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience. The best way to handle it is to shift your perspective regarding the connotation of the word struggle. Rather than an obligatory, negative, and isolated experience, choose to see struggling as a positive and consistent lifestyle which gets results.

Think about the first time you tried riding a bike. It was probably pretty tough figuring out how to maintain your balance sitting on a little seat above those two skinny wheels. But after a struggling to figure it out, you eventually got it. Now you’ve probably gained enough skills that you don’t even have to think about how to balance. Heck, you could pop-a-wheelie on your bike if you wanted to!

Remember when you first started learning to drive a car? There was so much to pay attention to! You had to learn how to start the car, shift gears, turn on the blinkers and windshield wipers (and remember to turn them off again, too). You had to know how intersections and lights work. Oh, and don’t forget about learning the meaning of symbols on road signs and watching out for pedestrians and know what was considered an appropriate parking spot. Now I bet you make it all the way to work without even thinking about more than one or two of those things, if that.

Sure, some struggles are longer lasting and much more painful. Think back to the first time you fell in love. Or the first time you fell out of love. Perhaps you’ve had an injury that required time and attention to heal. Maybe you’ve received a diagnosis that you’re still having to give time and attention every day. It’s possible you’re struggling to figure out how to pay the bills this month or how you’ll have enough money for retirement.

The point is this: no matter what stage of life you’re in, you’re struggling with something. Whether or not you have control over the matters of your struggle doesn’t matter; what does matter is your mindset.

Use your mind as a tool that serves you. Don’t let it be an obstacle that gets in your way.

book review

Review of Good Habits, Bad Habits by Wendy Wood

As we enter into a new year, even a new decade, many of us are reflecting on what we learned from the past as well as how we want to change for the future. For me, the first words that come to mind when describing the last decade are a hot mess.

From the very beginning of the previous decade, I felt like I was hit over the head with tough lessons and massive obstacles to overcome. For the most part, I was able (sometimes barely) to keep my head above water. I struggled and staggered and persisted. In the end, I stumbled out of a decade in the trenches with a much clearer understanding of the world and my place in it. After having spent a lot of time wrestling with big picture stuff like health and wellness and love and relationships, I’m ready to shift my perspective to the small daily changes I can incorporate that will have a large impact on my productivity and growth in the new year and decade ahead.

It was with this mindset that I picked up Good Habits, Bad Habits by Dr. Wendy Wood, a Provost Professor of Psychology and Business at the University of Southern California. It’s a 300-page look at “The Science of Making Positive Changes that Stick.” The book is divided into three parts: How We Really Are, The Three Bases of Habit Formation, and lastly, Special Cases, Big Opportunities, and the World Around Us. Continue reading “Review of Good Habits, Bad Habits by Wendy Wood”


The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me! Struggling Through It is my latest attempt to make a positive contribution to the world. My intention for this space is to create a community where we have conversations about being proactive in our struggles to figure out how to get the most out of life. This is NOT a place where negativity is encouraged. Instead, this is a place to:

  1. acknowledge a struggle you’re currently wrestling with
  2. explain what about a particular struggle makes it most challenging
  3. describe how you plan to move ahead through it
  4. take action on your plan
  5. reassess or pivot from the plan when necessary
  6. share what has and hasn’t worked
  7. support others by sharing resources or words of encouragement

The goal of this blog is to promote the positive value of a commonly unpleasant emotion: struggle. As we share our struggles with others, we’ll feel less alone and more connected. And hopefully, our shared efforts to struggle through challenges will encourage and motivate us to keep on going.