Last year, my husband and I decided to embrace a healthier lifestyle. We started eating more vegetables and less processed food. We said goodbye to Little Debbies (I still miss Oatmeal Cream Pies) and hello to squash. We took more walks. We ate smaller portions. We drank more water. It was (and is) just little steps towards the goal of having a sustainably healthier life.

I’ve just recently gotten back into doing Barre 3. I love it. It’s the first type of exercise I don’t hate. I used to run a little here and there, but I think I enjoyed being alone and outside – not the actual act of running. But Barre is enjoyable for me – and it’s a great workout.

It’s easy when you start a new exercise plan to want to see immediate results. We long to hop on that scale and see a lower number – or to have our love handles magically melt away after 60 minutes of sweat. But, change takes time and consistency. Change doesn’t happen overnight.

And sadly (for those of us who want to skip the struggle), it’s not just changes to our body that don’t happen right away. We have to work at the changes we want in our attitudes, our marriages, our finances…it takes work.

If I want to be more present with my kids, and I keep my hands off of my phone for an hour – I haven’t yet become a more present person – I’ve just taken a step towards the lifestyle I want. Likewise, if we want to kick our sugar addiction and forego an Oreo one time, the change isn’t complete.

Change requires something of us. If nothing changes, nothing changes. We have to do the work.

I think many of us get excited thinking about change. We like to think about the end product of change. It’s the rubber meets the road, nitty gritty, this crud just got real part that we’re not super thrilled about.

Let’s get real for a minute. When we set out to make a change, the beginning is fun. We have new energy, ambition, and all kinds of drive. We’re dreamers full of new possibilities and boundless hope. Similarly, we like to think about the ending – the place where we’re already different. We love to think about ourselves as thinner, calmer, more financially stable, etc. What we don’t like to think about is the middle – Act 2 if you will. Brene Brown says of Act 2, that “the middle is messy, but it’s where the magic happens.” We get to find out who we are and how bad we want it in the middle. We see what we’re made of! We find our grit and our gumption. We discover what really matters to us. It’s exciting!

Whatever you’re seeking to change, I encourage you to push through the discomfort. Keep going. Keep wading through the mess and disorder and find your magic.

Changing who we are is difficult – but the thought of becoming who we want to be (who we are MEANT to be!) – that makes the pain worth it. So, as I seek to become healthier, as I try to become more intentional, more present, more fun, and less anxious – I WILL feel pain. Results aren’t free – but the pain is worth the change.