Rewarding things are difficult for a reason


Hard things in life can sometimes be the most rewarding, whether it’s exercising, eating healthy, serving a mission, learning an instrument or even repenting.

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Eating healthy, like other worthwhile things in life, don't come easy.
Exercise and wellness professor Larry Tucker said exercise for most people is difficult initially because the body isn’t conditioned.

“It’s a significant adaptation to go from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one,” Tucker said. “The muscles and heart aren’t ready for it. You have to start light so the body can get accustomed to the extra work.”

Tucker said it takes a conscious effort to become a regular exerciser.

“There are many reasons why people don’t exercise,” Tucker said. “They don’t feel like they have the time with a busy lifestyle. And exercise is not enjoyable to begin with,  so why do something that is not enjoyable when there are other enjoyable things to do?”

Tucker said there are literally hundreds of physiological benefits to exercising and that quality of life greatly increases with exercise.

“It affects the body, mind and spirit,” Tucker said. “We can participate more in life when we are physically active.”

Ada Yan, a BYU alumnus from Kent, Wash., who majored in exercise science, said the hard things are what really make you work.

“When you have a trial that is hard you are appreciative of it a lot more once it’s over,” Yan said. “On my mission it was really hard when people wouldn’t listen or accept the message but when we got the one person who decided to listen they really made me appreciate what I was doing.”

Pauline Williams,  dietetic internship director, said  you can not compare broccoli to ice cream, but all foods can fit into a healthy diet.

“Try to get out of your head that there are good and bad foods,” Williams said. “All food can fit into a healthy diet. It’s about how much and how often you eat.”

Williams said to eat well people should do three things: eat a variety of foods, watch portion sizes and remember all food can fit.

“Watch your portions,” Williams said. “If you want some ice cream or chocolate cake, eat it. Have a small portion, enjoy it, eat it and be done … Indulging in something is not a bad habit that needs to be broken. You can all indulge in something. Maybe someone loves strawberries, maybe someone loves pizza, maybe someone loves chocolate. The key is to keep the indulgence in perspective.”

Yan said one reason why it is so hard to eat healthier foods at college is because the healthier foods tend to be more expensive, and as a college student it tends to be harder because of limited funds.

Melanie Barber, a violin performance major from Maple Valley, Wash., said practicing her violin is really hard but brings tremendous rewards.

“I remember my freshman year in violin I decided I would practice 30 hours a week,” Barber said. “Practicing is really hard. I remember practicing so many hours and just being more exhausted then ever before. When the week was over I felt a joy I had never felt before in my life. It fulfilled something in me I never knew existed. You work so hard with sweat and tears.”

Religion professor Matthew O. Richardson said he believes every outcome has a price attached to it.

“Perhaps much of my thinking on this topic deals with Doctrine and Covenants 132:5 —  ‘For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world,’ ” Richardson said.

Richardson said he supposes the most rewarding things in life require a price that most people consider “hard.”

“The price of a clean conscience, for example, requires genuine and full repentance,” Richardson said. “Most of us feel this is a hard thing to do. Anyone who has experienced full and genuine repentance, however, will testify that this form of repentance was not easy but very worth the effort.”

Richardson said some people are mistakenly grateful for their sinful past, which never brings happiness or value, and misunderstand that it was repentance that was rewarding.

“Too many of think if it is hard, it must be good,” Richardson said.  “This is not always true.  We must be focused on the price required, which can be difficult in some cases and not so difficult in other cases.”

Richardson said most often those things we treasure the most are those outcomes that require a price that includes, among other things, sacrifice, consecration, discipline and devotion. He said whenever we put more of ourselves into anything, whether it be temporal or spiritual, the more it becomes a real part of who we are.

“Thank goodness for scriptures, personal revelation, and especially prophets, seers and revelators to help us understand the necessary prices to pay for the most rewarding things in our life,” Richardson said.


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