Remember those New Year’s resolutions you made earlier this year? How are those going for you? Studies show that by February, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions will be abandoned, be forgotten or fail.

If you’ve been less than consistent with your resolutions and commitments for the year, don’t throw in the towel just yet! Let’s reframe your thinking. Instead of asking yourself what you want, ask yourself, “What pain am I willing to sustain over the long haul in order to accomplish my goals?”

Yup, that’s right: What pain are you willing to tolerate? We can all put out these big goals of losing 50 pounds, increasing our revenue by $50 million or taking on 50 new coaching clients, but what are we going to do differently to get there? What are you willing to do to get there?

You won’t achieve your goals by putting in the same effort or doing the same activities that you did last year. You’re going to have to change up your routine, take some risks, put extra time and attention on certain areas of your life and sacrifice other areas.

You’re going to have to get really good at saying “no.” Most importantly, you’re going to have get uncomfortable and experience some pain in order to get there.

If you want to get into the best shape of your life, you’re going to have to push yourself and sustain a certain level of physical pain. If you want to write a book, you must be willing to suffer (sustain pain) through sitting and writing daily.

If you want to get 50 new clients, you’re going to have to increase your marketing and sales efforts tenfold, which probably means suffering through sales calls or live videos. Painful? Yes. Will it get to your goal? Hell, yes!

Whatever you want to achieve, you will have to sustain the pain and suffer over a period of time. I’m not talking about a week of hard workouts. I’m talking about getting up early every day to fit a workout in (painful), running longer than you ever have before (painful), upping your weights and number of sets once you’ve hit a plateau (painful), and saying “no” to social obligations and having people judge you for your new lifestyle (painful).

It’s not easy. But we know that nothing worth having ever is, or we would all be billionaires just floating around on our yachts being served champagne and caviar. And really, is that the life you’re after anyway? The struggles and challenges we face are the juice of life. It’s how we learn, meet new people, experience highs and lows, and grow.

Here are a couple of recent examples of big businesses that are known for their innovation, big revenue numbers and even bigger IPOs. But they struggle, too!

  1. Peloton’s sales grew 148 percent in Q4 of 2020. But they are now struggling to deliver products to customers on time. They are pouring money into supply chain capabilities, meaning less substantial profits.
  2. Motor Trend ranked Ford’s F-150 as the No. 1 full-sized truck to buy in 2021. Great news, right? Well, they are actually slowing production of the F-150 because there is a global chip shortage.
  3. Tesla is one of the top 10 companies in the S&P 500, and a few weeks ago they recalled nearly 135,000 Model S and Model X vehicles over touchscreen display issues.
  4. Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder of Bumble, took the company public with an $8 billion valuation. At 31, Wolfe Herd is the youngest woman to take a company public, and her $900-plus million stake pushes her fortune above $1 billion. Of the roughly 560 IPOs from the last 12 months, Bumble is the third with a female founder; only eight IPOs from last year had a female CEO. That said, in the first nine months of 2020, they posted a net loss of $84 million on nearly $377 million in sales.
  5. SpaceX’s Starship prototype crashed (again) following a test flight.

Life is not easy. Building a business is not easy. Struggles and challenges are a part of life. We can’t fight reality. It’s those who face the reality of the situation and who can survive their mistakes and failures who ultimately succeed.

Growth requires a bit of suffering — and that’s OK. Because even if you have to suffer for a month, a year or 10 years, ultimately, pain is temporary. The pain of quitting or never realizing your full potential or achieving your goals? That lasts forever.

So, you’ve got to choose your struggle. Do you want the pain of feeling trapped in your current job? Or do you want the pain of risking it all to start your own business?

Do you want the pain of feeling uncomfortable in your own skin or do you want the pain of lunges and jumping jacks? Do you want the pain of loneliness or the pain of putting yourself out there and dating?

Do you want the pain of learning new technology? Or do you want the pain of being left behind because you didn’t adapt to and adopt new technology? I’ll ask you again: What pain are you willing to tolerate?

So, the next time you are about to embark on a new adventure, get clarity on what you are willing to do. There is struggle on both sides of the equation — but you get to choose. Keep your eye on your long-term vision, and be adaptable along the way. You can choose your hard. Choose wisely.

Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Adam Hergenrother Companies, the author of The Founder & The Force Multiplier, and the host of the podcast, Business Meets Spirituality. Learn more about Adam’s holistic approach to business here.

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