Some of you know immediately; some of you have to think for a moment: What do you find most challenging in your daily efforts to lead the life you want? Those of us aspiring to live a more healthy, informed, and ecoconscious life know that it isn’t always easy, even when the changes you want to make seem small at first glance.
Fitting in exercise may be your personal stumbling block, or finding enough time in your day to relax. Maybe you’ve not yet managed to set up that system for home recycling, or you keep forgetting to drink enough water in the morning, then drink too much late in the day—and wake up at night because of it (I confess, this sometimes happens to me). Maybe your challenge is big: You need to give up smoking. Or you tend to be critical of yourself or those around you. Maybe it is small: You don’t eat enough garlic, or you’re attached to your one cup of coffee a day. (Or three … or four? Refer back to big challenges!)
I’ve yet to meet someone committed to the natural lifestyle who doesn’t struggle with at least one issue. As for me, I have many struggles. I once thought the biggest one was limiting myself to one cup of black tea per day. Since then, two health care practitioners have suggested I relax: Black tea is an antioxidant, and my “vice” is actually healthy. Now, perhaps it is my sugar intake (see our story “Nix Your Fix” to find out how much is too much). Sugar is hidden in so many things, and (I have to come clean) a sizeable portion of sugar shows up in plain view on my spoon whenever I want to luxuriate in thoughtful tea sipping. Should I simply allow this habit of mine, learning to live hand in hand with sweetness, or should I deny myself this pleasure? There is no right answer, only the thought that whatever I decide, perhaps my sincerest efforts should go toward gracefully accepting myself, whatever my shortcomings are. And that may be the most difficult challenge of all.
For our story “The Hardest Part,” we asked three natural-lifestyle luminaries to share their biggest challenges. They offer how they choose to see and live with these struggles.