Blog Post # 179 – The Hardest Day

The first day is the hardest day.

Whenever we try to break a habit, the first day is usually the hardest.

On the day that my father quit smoking back in the 1980s, his mother-in-law (my grandmother) totaled his car on her way to 905.

I remember my father lying on his bed face down, moaning.

When I quit sugar 3 years ago, it seemed like an insurmountable task and I struggled mightily the first day.

But I thought to myself – today will be the hardest day. Tomorrow will be just a bit easier.

Of course, there are ups and downs whenever we give up a bad habit.

Tomorrow may end up being harder than today, but if we tell ourselves that this is the hardest day – that this is the worst that the universe can send our way – it makes it a bit easier to soldier through.

My friend Julie suggested picturing one tiny cell in our body that wants to break the bad habit.

On the first day, there is just one cell.

On the second day, two cells. On the third day, four cells, etc.

Jeff Olson talks about this in his book – The Slight Edge.

He tells the story of the water lily. How for many days, it is impossible to see the incremental growth of the water lily.

One day, by the force of cell multiplication, a lily pond appears.

This plan to concede that today is hard – perhaps the hardest day to come in giving up a bad habit – allows us to sit with the sadness of giving up a habit that has served us for some purpose for some time.

It also frees us to envision a world without that habit and allows us to take a small step towards that new life.

For today, let us acknowledge that change is hard. That today may be the hardest day.

Safe in the knowledge that we will survive.