What do losing fat, gaining wealth and learning a new language all have in common? All these, and more, require you to get out of your comfort zone.
The ages of 18-25 were great years. Not for anything responsible like getting Dean’s List or working a sweet internship at a great company ensuring I’d have a successful and a well compensated future.
I was partying.
I have heard “You’re quiet” by just about everyone I’ve ever met. At the time, my comfort zone was playing Madden, watching TV and playing sports. Keggers, strip clubs, bars and all the other social/alcohol driven places were not. I would never be mistaken for a party animal.
Thankfully, I had friends that will talk to anyone and like to party. So in order to hang out with them, I made a conscious decision to get out of my comfort zone and it was awesome. I met people and had experiences I would have never had otherwise. Just about all my friends today are people I met in that time frame. You might call it peer pressure or trying to fit in, but I call it pushing my comfort zone and I’m better for it.
I’m sure I could have come up with a more fitness/health/successful life example for this post, but that point in my life was a big one for me. It was the first time I went out of my comfort zone and saw what the other side was like.
COMFORT ZONES ARE HELL
Everyone loves their comfort zone, me included. Low stress, you know what to expect and things are good.
Really, comfort zones are all about fear. Fear of failure or some catastrophic collapse seen in any super hero movie by the villain.
So we create our own little comfort world of things we know are safe to prevent failure.
But like any red-blooded person we have wants and dreams.
We want to be rich.
We want to be skinny.
We want to be [insert famous name here].
Our comfort zones and limited thinking hold us back.
The phrase “it must be nice” drives me up the wall. Granted some people are genetically gifted (LeBron) and some people won the sperm lottery (insert any heir or heiress), but most successful people work their butts off to get where they are.
If you want to be successful in any aspect of life you have to leave your comfort zone and these limiting thoughts behind.
• “I don’t really have to do this.” If you don’t have anyone pushing you, then you have to rely on yourself for motivation. It’s a lot easier to say “It’s too hard. I’ll go watch Netflix”. Believe me I say this all the time. During the hard times, which will be many, you can’t listen to your emotions. You have to listen to the tiny voice of regret in your mind. That’s the only motivation you need.
• “I’ll start Monday.” What’s wrong with Wednesday or Friday? I get it, the weekend is coming up and you want to enjoy one last weekend before the diet starts. I suggest to strike when the motivational iron is hot. If that is a Tuesday then so be it, start Tuesday. I purposely started the 30 day challenges to squash this limited thinking. By starting the challenge on a Thursday we were already on Day 5 by the time other people would have started. Advantage us.
• “I’ll start once I have more X.” Another procrastination technique. You will never have more of what you need so just start. When I was younger someone once told me a quote which I still live by:
“Procrastination is like masturbation. In the end you’re just f#$king yourself.”
Probably the best quote you could ever tell a 5th grader.
• “I don’t know how.” I get this one 100%. Still not a good excuse. Don’t know how to lose weight? First start eating healthy. Next, do more research. Regardless of what you are trying to accomplish there is always an easy initial step. Take it and worry about the rest later.
• “Life is all about fun and enjoying it.” I agree with this too. The fun of the comfort zone is like the first circle of Dante’s Hell. You’re kind of just hanging out waiting for life to happen to you. I prefer to grab life and make it happen. There’s success and adventures your leaving on the table staying in the comfort zone. It’s time to move out.
• “But my job is so stressful, I need to relax.” Everyone is stressed and dealing with heavier stuff than you. Stop playing the victim and do something about it. There is always someone who is doing more than you with less.
GETTING OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY
Once you get rid of the B.S. story you are telling yourself of why you can’t start, the next step is to set some goals. This is a little paper exercise but extremely useful.
• Write down your fears. At the top of the page, write down your goal. Below that, write all the things that make you uncomfortable about attaining that goal. No reason is stupid, if it bothers you, write it down.
• Go down the rabbit hole. Focus on each uncomfortable reason individually you came up with and write down why you fear them. Really think about it and dig deep.
• Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Avoiding fear got you to this point, it’s time to face it. But, take baby steps. Too much at once will turn you off if you fail. So if you want to start losing weight, don’t start with a total overhaul of your diet. That’s too much at once between the food shopping, cooking, the food, meal prep amongst other things. First focus on a healthy breakfast. Once you got that down, move to lunch and so on. Push yourself outside your comfort zone little by little.
• Failure is not bad. Don’t look at failure as the end of the world. Look at it as a learning tool. Focus on the lesson and not the failure. There is always a lesson there.
• Hangout with like-minded people.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Jim Rohn
Look at your circle of friends. Are their habits going to help you on your journey or are they bringing you back? If they are bringing you back then keep them as friends, but try to spend more time with more people that will help you achieve. This is huge I’m recently finding out.
• Be your own B.S. meter. Call yourself out and figure out the real reason for the excuse. If it’s fear (unless death is a legit outcome), do it anyway. Don’t take your own crap.
• Focus on the benefits. Keep yourself motivated by looking long term at the end goal. After working 8 hours and being up for a total of 15 hours, the last thing I want to do is work on Aesthetic Physiques when I get home. Then I think about when this will be my full time job while traveling the world with my wife. The only motivation I need.
• Enjoy the process. Learning and surprising yourself is like a mental orgasm. Finding something that works is like no other form of winning because it was only you that contributed to that win. You made it happen. Enjoy that.
• Shake it off. There are going to be haters and people trying to bring you down to their level. Their opinions are just that, their opinions - not the truth. Don’t let their insecurities dictate what you do. It took me 31 years and a Taylor Swift song (I kid you not) to understand that. Give yourself some time.
WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO SEE ON THE OTHER SIDE
The last 2 years have been more productive, fun and life altering (in a good way) than the previous 31 combined. I’m not sure what that says about the previous 31 years but I like my life trajectory so much more now.
• Growing like a weed. There is lots of personal growth when you push yourself. Skills you never needed will be required. Different ways of thinking will be the norm and you’ll see new challenges as an opportunity rather than an insurmountable wall.
• You can’t have just one. Success breeds success. No one just stops after they have one success and says “Nope I’m done.” After you get positive results in one aspect you’ll crave the challenge of conquering something else. Again the mental orgasm.
• You don’t need fear. In the prehistoric world fear kept us alive. Thankfully we no longer have to worry about a saber tooth tigers eating us. Millions of years later, the fear is still there, but instead of ferocious hell cats, it attaches to things that cannot kill us - like public speaking. Once you realize that you have the ability to conquer your fears there is really no stopping you.
• Self-confidence through the roof. If you can put yourself in a category that makes you stand out of a crowd how does that make you feel? In the epidemic of obesity, you can say I lost weight. I am healthy. When you can say I can provide for my family with something I created and not have to worry about being layed off. That is self confidence because you did it. You now have the skill set to conquer any problem which is an invaluable resource.
• You’ll inspire others. When someone achieves something great, people take notice. Seeing you succeed might be the kick in the pants they need to make a change. Like I said before, success breed success. Let your success inspire other people to make a change.
I am in no way a success expert and I 100 percent understand you saying this is a load of crap because I haven’t achieved any large financial success yet. I’ll give you that. But this comes from how I have achieved things in dieting, getting abs and now on the pursuit to my newest goal. The guy that hates being the center of attention was in a bodybuilding show!
All I want you to do is to take it for a spin. If you don’t like it, go back to the comfort zone and keep dreaming of a better life.
Exiting the Comfort Zone: You 2.0 originally appeared on aesthetic-physiques.com