A number of years ago a friend of mine introduced me to the idea of taking the “path of least resistance”. Her very wise (and experienced, he was in his 90’s) dad, was adamant about making sure she understood this concept just before he died and she shared it with me.
Many times as parents there so many things that need to be accomplished, it is easy for the “less important” things (such as self care – exercise, meditation, etc) it’s easy to get stuck in a place of putting it off until another day.
I have been athletic all my life, but this slipped for me in my parenting journey. For me getting back to a healthier level of fitness with a solid routine has been something I haven’t been able to make happen in a really consistent way.
I have made some attempts with accountability partners who I came to understand didn’t have the same goals, online health coaches and gym memberships, yet no matter how hard I have tired, getting back to a place I feel good about has not happened. Until I applied this idea of the “path of least resistance”.
I believe we all have a “body budget”. This “budget” is the amount of energy we can expend each day. Of course the amount fluctuates somewhat, depending on various circumstance – sleep, exercise, nutrition, stress are some of the biggest factors.
I understand that as an expat mother of four children, living continents away from family and friends, building a business, with a husband who has a demanding career, a lot of my body budget is eaten up by just managing the essential aspects of life.
With this understanding I was able to acknowledge that some of the other things I was desiring required more support because my body budget was limited.
I speak with parents all the time who feel they are overwhelmed because this world requires an exceptional amount from parents. The bodies of these parents are talking to them telling them their body budget is limited and they need more support.
I recently had a similar experience where I was able to acknowledge that if I wanted to do more regular exercise I needed to figure out the path of least resistance to make more exercise happen. I needed more real support because my body budget was already used up. In my case I needed more hand holding.
Even though I knew a higher level of fitness would likely increase my body budget, I couldn’t find the extra effort necessary to make regular exercise happen. So I hired a trainer who I would have to meet in person and would keep me accountable.
The morning my kids were fighting and I was exhausted before they all left the house for school was the morning the path of least resistance crystalized for me. If it was not for the trainer waiting for me at the gym that morning, I would never have gone. Yet once I finishes I felt energized.
So many times as parents we see patterns that are unhealthy, that we want to change but we we need more support to make it happen. I see this so often when parents feel guilty after they have been unable to manage the complexities of life and then they have taken their frustrations out on their children at the end of the day.
They know their child doesn’t deserve this level of frustration and impatience but in the moment it is hard to control. Their body budget was telling them, there isn’t enough fuel in the tank. In those moments you need to either need to stop and refuel or you need to ask for help, sometimes both feel impossible. Yet when they take the time to look back and explore the situation they can find ways to manage the situation differently in the future.
When you are looking back on how to do it better, look for the path of least resistance. Figure out how can you do whatever it is you need to do in a way that feels easier. Life is hard already, figuring out the path of least resistance and how you can still get it done without such a heavy load.
Expat parenting is complex and it can require a lot from our body budget. This month I am opening up four “power hour” spots. During the “power hour”I can help you explore some ways to find the path of least resistance. Since it is my birthday month, I am specially pricing these sessions at $127USD. If you are interested, just reply to this email.
You are amazing and your child is so lucky to have you!
I’m here cheering you on!
PS. Don’t forget next week I will be doing a live event in Jakarta you can sign up here for the details: pages.mirsadahoffmann.com/marchevent