After coaching for years, we discovered there is one common denominator that rings true among different ages, genders and fitness levels. It's a variable that determines whether or not someone is writing the same New Year’s Resolutions year after year, or finding that there is always "something" in the way of their desired objective and their current state. Sound familiar? We've been there.
It's all about learning to become comfortable, in the uncomfortable.
We are hard-wired to avoid discomfort. Whether it's an awkward conversation, being too cold or putting ourselves in a job, relationship or new hobby that might totally fail... we run from discomfort. The unknown, the lack of guarantee or the thought of not succeeding threaten our sense of safety and sense of self. Fight or flight kicks in and typically we fight the heck out of it.
This can be over-busying, reaching for food, drink, Netflix binges or a shopping spree. Sometimes it's joining in gossip or finger-pointing to feel "connected." Disconnection = uncomfortable. It might be a vacation to get away. There are endless weapons we intelligently employ to keep us situated in our comfort zones.
Un-fun Facts: We don't grow in comfort zones. They keep us stagnant… and in our opinion, they're just not very fun.
Our minds are really freaking good at justifying all the reasons we have to stay stuck. So how do we manage to get comfortable leaving our comfort zones? It starts with small change and it requires an environment you feel safe taking a risk.
For us, we witness the power of these every day.
We know, accept and embrace that to make progress in certain aspects of our life, failure is a part of the process. But why can’t we accept this in other realms of our lives?
Why is failure so easily integrated into our physical progressions, yet the thought of it in other realms scares and at times, even paralyzes us?
Why, is it so impossible, in our culture, to apply this to risk we want to take in starting a new relationship, beginning a new career, reaching that financial or health goal that we have sought?
We are so afraid of the discomfort of getting there, or worse, of the thought it might not work, that we find ways to cocoon ourselves. Social media highlight reels only compound this when we see Suzy in Tahiti doing yoga every day for a living (how the f does she do it?) or the Johnsons in matching garb, perfectly lined up on beach, all smiling.
1- Don’t take things personally: Suzy on Instagram… her story is not about you nor is it a reflection of your worth. And for all you know it isn’t real. When you feel triggered by others accounts, separate your journey from their experience. The people watching your journey… not about you either. Their opinions are reflections of their own stories, goals or struggles. Those mechanisms we referenced about keeping ourselves stuck? Criticizing others is one of them. As you start to make change, lock in on yourself. Your life is your story to author, and you have the ability to make it freaking awesome.
2- Find ways to create small change: If ordering something different at your usual restaurant is enough of a “risk” for you (guilty), let’s start small. Slowly expand your comfort zone. Maybe it’s commuting a different way to work. Maybe it’s unfollowing someone on social media who triggers negative feelings. Or perhaps it’s joining a new club or doing a Paint Night. Have fun with it! Get outside of your comfort zone… or if you can’t totally step out, find the edge and push it a bit. Trust us, in time it gets easier.
3- Switch values from perfection to progress. Get rid of the pressure for perfection because perfection doesn’t exist. The more we try to embody it and exude it, the more power it has over us. Rather value progress. Just as you celebrate challenge in your physical progress, celebrate in other aspects of you life. Set backs? Just feedback for you to integrate as you continue to grow. Be proud of evolving yourself rather than remaining prisoner to the allusion of appearing perfect.
4- Sit With The Shit. When you get uncomfortable it’s going to be, well uncomfortable. Mel found this in her grief journey- she tried to fight it, joined every parent group, read all the books, traveled outside the country twice to find a “fix” to the pain. It was right down the road where her grief coach said “sometimes you just have to learn to sit with the shit.” When she sat with the discomfort of grief, she was finally able to lessen its' power.
The details of creating change looks different for all of us. But the start looks the same.
Step one is awareness. Notice if you are repeating the same desires or the same dissatisfactions in your life.If you are revisiting the same goals, the same final 5 pounds, the same gap in finances that you want. If you’re constantly busy, stressed, overwhelmed… it’s time to get a little uncomfortable. Nothing changes, if nothing changes.
Step two is willingness. Once you have identified the ways in which you may feel stuck, figure out if you are willing to make the changes. Notice what it will take and weigh the options; does your current comfort zone (routine, lifestyle) or your desired goal mean more to you? If you are not willing to create change, then let go of spending nights awake feeling like you should be doing so. Because the truth is, if you aren't willing to change, you are now compounding your unhappiness by desiring something you aren't willing to do. But.... if you are ready, we promise you, even if you fall down or fail in the process, pursuing your goals with a faith in your worthiness to be truly happy, is worth it. You got this.
If you are on the fence, ask yourself, what happens if nothing changes?