“I don’t want my girls to quit anything when it gets hard.”

“I don’t want my girls to quit anything when it gets hard.”

Brynn (9) practicing headers in the back yard.

Recently, I was driving my girls around and from the backseat I overheard my oldest daughter (a soccer player) telling my youngest daughter (also a soccer player) that she “wasn’t good at heading the ball and she just couldn’t do it.” I turned to her and said, “Sweetie, what you mean to say is, ‘I struggle with headers. It’s something I need to work on. Don’t say you can’t do it. Keep working at it.’” This made me think about myself and how rewarding it is for me to run and swim and practice yoga. None of these things were ever easy for me in the beginning, and some of them are more challenging than others.

My beginner attempt at a standing bow pose.

I used to be much more flexible when I was younger, as I suspect is true for most of us, and I lament this fact often at yoga. I also happen to have tight muscles from all of the running and they really need stretching. The yoga is a good activity for my tight muscles, but it is also quite challenging. The good news is that I believe I am slowly increasing my flexibility with each yoga session. Instead of giving up on yoga in the beginning, when I could barely do any poses, I kept going, and I’m starting to feel some success. I want this for my girls too. I want them to work at things that are hard for them and to then feel successful.

Lap swimming at the gym.

Swimming laps is relaxing, but at times I find it difficult to complete my workouts without feeling discouraged. When I swam as a young girl, it seemed effortless … now I find myself exerting quite a bit of effort. More often than not I want to skip my swim workouts or to cut them short, but I press on. Again, just like with the yoga, the only way I will fail is if I quit because it gets hard.

I don’t want my girls to quit anything when it gets hard.

This is how I feel after a long, hard run.

Running was incredibly difficult for me in the beginning, and I still have days where I want to quit because it’s just so hard. I haven’t quit and I won’t quit. I plan to be running, in some capacity, for as long as I can. The difference between a runner and a wannabe runner is simply that the runner keeps going, the wannabe runner convinces himself that he will never be a runner. More than anything else, a runner is motivated by their inner thoughts and motivations. I want my girls to be intrinsically motivated to keep going, even when it’s tough.

I’ve heard my girls utter that phrase, “I can’t” and “I’m not good at that” a few more times since I overheard it on that car ride. I quickly correct them each time in hopes of changing their thought processes. They can achieve so much more if they keep their minds open and stay positive.

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