When my husband and I got married, my mom read the "The Station" at our wedding. It's a powerful story of life as a train, with stations along the journey where the train stops, but there is never an ultimate destination.
One of the most challenging stations of my life has been law school and the bar exam, which I just completed on August 1st! (whoop whoop!) When I started law school, I was not naive about the commitment. I knew it would be hard. I'd watched my mom and my husband climb that hurdle. Eric and his dad, uncle, and grandpa are all attorneys, as are my mom, dad, and aunt.
Although I knew what I was getting into, it's completely different when you're the one facing the endless mounds of reading and the single exam that determines your entire grade. It's a lot of pressure. It was time-consuming, exhausting, and emotional at times. The most important thing that I learned while going through law school was that you didn't have to be the smartest person to make it through, you just had to be willing to put in the work and push yourself.
I chose a 4-year, evening law school to make things more manageable, and so that I could work full time all the way through. Then, in my last year of law school, I launched my very own efficiency consulting business. The business blew up! I thought I'd be successful, but I had no idea what was to come. At the same time, I needed to start studying for the Bar Exam. While law school is challenging, the Bar is a totally different beast! Your law school education earns you a law degree, but you are not an attorney and can't give legal advice until you take and pass the bar exam -- a huge test approximately two months after graduation -- in your state. In California, the exam is three full days of testing.
Finishing school, studying for the bar, and managing a growing business took a toll on my health. I've always been active, but as I got busy with other priorities, I simply didn't make myself or my health a priority. I gained a little bit of weight, got super out of shape, and ate whatever was convenient. I was never overweight, but I was unhealthy. Super unhealthy. I finally decided that I HAD to change, and it didn't matter that I was going to make these changes during the hardest month of my life. I figured that life never seems to slow down, so there really was no reason to wait.
With the bar exam looming, and knowing that I was going to spend two months on my rump studying, I knew I needed to make some changes to be able to sustain the required energy levels and drive. On top of the sedentary position I would assume for two months, I knew I wasn't happy with my body, my energy, or my state of mind.
Change is Hard, but Change is Good
During the bar, I tackled studying 10-14 hours per day, while eating clean, hiring a remote personal trainer, and exercising daily. Yes, this meant that my days were really long at some points, but doing these things gave me more energy, better focus, and helped stave off the occasional melt-down days that are natural during the bar exam.
Eating clean was not always easy, and there were definitely a few cheat moments, but just like exercise, I'm not always perfect, and that's okay. There were stressful days of studying where all I wanted was my favorite pizza, or chocolate cake. Sometimes I would push to have those things, and my husband, knowing what my goals were and that I wanted so badly to be healthier, would push back on me. I was so mad at him at times, but I was always thankful after the fact. The whole point for me was to change my relationship with food by focusing on foods that made me feel good. I am very sensitive to the things I put in my body- I'm a no-meds, no caffeine, mostly-natural person. It's a life I chose to lead to make me feel better and it has made me feel amazing, like never before!
I Pushed Myself, and I Made It
With challenges hitting me at every angle, I made it. I completed three full days of a difficult examination, while feeling good. Two months of studying paid off. I did everything I could, and left it "all on the table," so to speak. In the end, I thought the exam wasn't too bad. I have no idea whether or not I passed though, since results don't come out until November 22nd. Regardless of the outcome, I dedicated myself, heart, mind, body, and soul. I studied as much as I could and completely transformed my body by eating right and exercising at the same time.
I am proud. More than proud, I'm grateful. I made it through the hardest month of my life, and stuck to my goals. I would say that's one hell of an accomplishment!
My Keys to Success
I've said it a million times on the blog and I'll say it again: organize whatever you are doing and you will always do it better.
Cut Out Excess.
This can be negative people, distractions, opportunities that simply come at the wrong time. For me, social media is a big distraction because of my blog and business. It was hard, but I cut out social media for 14 full days, and it was absolutely worth it!
Make sure to keep love in mind when you're facing challenges. Remember to love your spouse, your children, your family and friends. While the station you're in may be tough, those people are the ones who will greet you at the next one, if you continue to love them.
Show thanks to those who are helping you through. It's not always easy for them, either. Watching a friend or family member struggle or push is hard. Thank God for the power he gives you to continue to push.
When times seem tough and you're facing challenges-a-plenty, push through. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes it's hard to see, but you will never have more pride in yourself than when you push yourself to do things you never thought you could.
Take pride in the accomplishments along the way. Sometimes it's easy to dwell on the things you didn't achieve or the things you have yet to achieve, but by celebrating the milestones, you'll feel even more empowered!
My life truly has been full of stations, none the same as any other. I guess this is what keeps it interesting, but there have been a few constants -- organization, determination, and the love of family and friends -- that have allowed me to accomplish my goals at each station along the way. They are the reason that I've been able to accomplish all that I have and I am forever thankful for their every contribution.Now, all I have to do is wait for exam results! Wish me luck, because I really don't want to have to retake it in February!
That's my Goal Accomplished... WHAT'S YOURS?
This post is part of BlogHer's Goal, Accomplished editorial series, made possible by P&G Always Infinity.
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