Watching your life, what Mihaly would call committing psychic energy to it or things in it, is painful at first. A great example is when I first started keeping a budget as part of my morning routine. Forcing myself to look at my finances for a just a few minutes every day was excruciatingly painful, mentally and emotionally. But the pain is not a setback. It represents the first steps in the right direction. Don’t stop now; on the other side of that pain is something beautiful.
When you’re experiencing intense pain as a result of pursuing a goal, it helps to step back and ask yourself, “Do I want this to get better? If the answer is yes, you must keep moving forward. If you stop, it will only get worse.
Sometimes you’ll have that “wheel-spinning” feeling. Not getting anywhere. Your knee hurts, your shoulder hurts. It’s not getting better. You must seize on this moment to ask yourself why you have set the goals that have brought you into this pain. I still plan to go to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class tonight, but why? Remind yourself of the beauty that awaits on the other side of the pain. The pain will translate into progress, and that’s how the other side is obtained.