Is it worth the effort?

I’m in a bit of a bad mood today, and sometimes blogging is the best outlet I have to release my negative emotions. I’ve hesitated to blog about personal stuff for the past several years because I was scared to scare potential clients away. As I am approaching the end of my doula career, I’ve given some thought about what I will do with this little blog of mine. I think it is about time I do whatever the heck I want to with it!

So today I bring you a personal post. Even though I know there is so much more going on in the world right now, problems that are much bigger than me and my issues, it doesn’t stop me from having feelings. Sometimes my brain likes to try this little trick to make me feel better by telling me, “Hey, Kristi. It’s not like you are dealing with (insert major world problem). You shouldn’t be feeling bad for (insert teensy personal problem).” Try as I might, this strategy does nothing to help me get over my teensy personal problems. In fact, I just start feeling bad for feeling bad. So fun.

Today’s teensy personal problem is brought to you by my weight loss efforts. I’ve stepped up my intermittent fasting game by trying to do a loosely followed OMAD diet. I am not doing one meal a day in the true sense of the term, but I have been trying to eat my day’s worth of calories in a four hour eating window. I have no desire to sustain this way of eating for a lifetime, but I would like to lose those last 10-15 pounds of baby weight. Okay, the baby is turning five years old next month. It’s just weight at this point.

The effort I’ve put into losing weight vs the amount of weight I’ve lost seems a bit askew. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth the effort. It’s only 15 little pounds, but those 15 pounds mean the difference between being medically overweight vs being at a normal weight. My main concern is whether or not losing those 15 pounds might mean the difference between being prediabetic and not prediabetic. Last I checked, my A1c was .1 points inside the prediabetic range. This was two years ago. I’ve done so much since then to try to lower that number.

A friend of mine who is a life coach did an exercise with me to help me work through my concerns about whether or not my effort will be worth it. Because I’d hate to put in so much work and not receive the reward I am seeking. And I’ve felt anxiety about, “What if it doesn’t work???” And this anxiety has kept me a bit paralyzed. She asked me simply, “What if it DOES work and this is the last time you’ll ever have to lose those 15 pounds? Will it be worth it?” I’m paraphrasing a bit but this was the gist.

Well, yes. And we continued the exercise. “But what if it takes 3 months? Will it be worth it?”

Yes.

“What if it takes 6 months? Will it be worth it? Remember, this is the last time you’ll ever have to lose that weight.”

Yes. If I KNEW that this would be the last time that I had to put in ALL THIS FREAKING WORK to lose those stupid 15 pounds, it would be worth the effort.

But the thing is, I don’t know if this is the last time. I don’t know if I’ll spend a lifetime of trying and never lose that weight. I really do think too much.

So then my mind goes to other places about the effort vs payoff thing. For the life of me, there is a term about the effort vs payoff thing that I read in this cool book by Dr. Emily Nagoski called Come As You Are. It’s a term that describes this effort vs payoff concept, but I can’t remember it. I think it’s called opportunity cost, but I’m not sure. If you know the term, let me know in the comments!

Most people have a limit as to how much effort they are willing to put into achieving certain goals because at some point, the payoff isn’t worth the effort anymore. They find a sweet spot between effort and payoff, and most of us humans want to put in as little effort as we need to. It’s just the way brains operate most of the time. So how do we find that perfect balance?

I’ve thought about this a lot in my life because I seem to not know when to quit. I have been complimented for my work ethic, grit, and determination over the years, but I am getting to the point where I am wondering if maybe I am just a little bit insane. Or maybe I am not using my time wisely. I only get one life, and I really don’t know when my time is up. Am I making the most of the time I have here?

I really do think too much.

I’ve devoted most of my life to learning how to play the flute. I’ve spent tens of thousands of hours with my horn on my face trying to master tone and technique and I’ve poured tens of thousands of dollars into furthering my musical education. While I may be pretty decent at playing the flute, I suffer the same plight as many musicians throughout the millennia. This career just doesn’t pay the bills, yo.

So let’s compare this to natural childbirth, shall we? Because I can pretty much take any life lesson and turn it into a birth lesson and vice versa. When I was preparing to give birth a third time, I couldn’t shake the anxiety about, “What if all of this effort I am putting in doesn’t pay off?” Let me be completely transparent. My goal was to have another birth at home. Anything else would mean that my effort didn’t pay off. I had to work HARD for my births. I had to prepare my mind and body with education, healthy eating, and exercise. I had to expend daily effort. At least I thought I did. I needed to make sure that I did everything within my power to have the birth I wanted so that later, if it didn’t turn out the way I wanted, I wouldn’t be able to blame myself for not doing enough.

Kind of naive, right? I totally would have found a way to blame myself for not having the birth I wanted because my brain is totally awesome at that. My brain can ALWAYS find a way that I didn’t do something enough no matter how much effort and hard work I’ve put in. I imagine my brain isn’t the only one like that.

I couldn’t answer whether or not it was worth the effort until my goal had been reached. I had that amazing birth that I worked for, all three times I tried. And if you ask me now, after the fact, if it was worth the effort, I’d say a resounding YES! Absolutely, it was worth the effort and then some! In fact, all three of my births have been better than I could have possibly imagined. It’s easy to say that now because I got what I wanted. Things totally went my way. BETTER than my way. And that makes me happy. My brain prefers getting its way, and mine can’t be the only one that works that way.

But what about those times where things haven’t gone my way? Or what about those times where the outcome hasn’t yet come to pass – like the TEAS test I am taking next week for which I am studying LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of hours- Will it be worth the effort? Man, I hope so!

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