“I think people are obsessed with comfort to the point that they forget, if you don’t have any discomfort in your life how do you know when you feel good?” – Gary “Laz” Cantrell (Co-founder Barkley Marathons)
It’s time to get uncomfortable.
As the (former) manager of a small circuit training gym, I know that whenever someone walks through the door of the gym for the first time, that the person standing before me is the result of a life. A life that has been led in one way or another up until then. A life that is more or less comfortable to them, and that it’s going to take a whole lot more than diet and exercise to change that person into whatever they want to become. It’s going to take a new life (something very uncomfortable).
But I never tell them that, because we don’t sell ‘new lives’.
You see, if you want to change your life, if you are unhappy with your life, you are going to have to accept that getting there is gonna require being uncomfortable. A lot. Because changing a life, metamorphosing into something else, requires pain. But without that pain you wouldn’t be able to tell that you are changing, or have the perspective of knowing what it took to change afterwards. And that is the only way to know when you’re on the right path, the pain, because in order to push through pain you have to have conviction in where you’re going and in what you want; otherwise, you’d stay put.
Sadly, many people don’t realize all that yet, and so they always ask me what it is that they can do, or what it is that they can eat, to change themselves. And, so, I tell them the things that they should do and the things that they should eat, but what I should really be telling them is that it’s not what we do or what we eat, but who we are that really matters. Because those things are all just a part of that. That everything I do and everything I eat is just a reflection of who I am, and that they are (not so simply) going to have to change who they are if they want to be something else.
It’s like when I hear how some new study just found a link between eating whole grains and having a lower risk for heart attack, or how eating refined sugar increases it. And how I automatically know that many of those people who are looking to change will hear that and suddenly think to themselves that if they start, or stop, eating those things they will become healthier. Well, yes, possibly so; however, those things are only a by-product of a life that someone is leading which makes them healthy or unhealthy. Doing one or two of those things on their own does not make you healthy or unhealthy. In other words, I can eat shit that’s bad for me on occasion because the remaining 90-plus percent of my life is spent living a life that counters that. Whereas, if you’re doing the opposite and expect that putting a different bun on your hamburger, or that exercising to burn it off is going to change you, it’s not.
Most people though just want any act, any effort, to be payment enough for the reward. They just want some magic pill to fix everything. They want to be able to undo decades of life choices in 6 months time and in 3 easy payments of $19.99. They just want whatever it is to be painless and easy.
Unfortunately though, there is no reward without sacrifice. And that is what you see in the people who are committed to change, sacrifice. A willingness to do whatever it takes to get to where they want to be. A willingness to get uncomfortable.
I mean as a trainer I can help you for the 30-60 mins that you’re in the gym (although I can’t make you fully commit yourself to the workout), and a nutritionist can help you plan all your meals, but neither of us can actually do anything about the other 20 odd hours of the day that you’re stuck living in the same life that led you to us. And we can’t take control of your life and change all of that for you either.
Simply put, there’s always one common denominator in failed diets and exercise routines, in goals unachieved and dreams that fall short, in relationships that end and plans that get shat on, and that’s you. You are the problem, and until you fix you nothing is going to change.
Coincidently, you’re also the solution to the problem. But no one can really help you unless you’ve first helped yourself. You have to be what you need.
You just don’t gain weight, or lose a job, or have a marriage end, because of calories in/calories out, or showing up late to work one day, or because of poor communication. Those things are simply the tip of an iceberg. The much bigger problem lies beneath the surface. A place dark and cold where only you can go and eliminate the obstruction that is before you, the obstruction that is you.
So if you want to change your life, if you want to be happier with who you are and where you’re going, you have to be willing to go deep down and break that ice at it’s core. You have to be willing to melt away the life that was you, and allow a new you to take form.
And that my friends, isn’t in any comfort zones.
It’s not an easy process, it will not feel good at first, and it will not be quick. But it will be better than being someone who constantly asks ‘Why me?’ or ‘Why not me?’. Someone who has no idea of where they’re going. Someone who’s stuck in their comfort zone.
You see, life isn’t some Sleep Number bed that you get to choose a setting on and have a perfect nights sleep. You make the bed you lay in. And if you don’t like it; well, then you better get to work on making a new one.
The world simply ain’t gonna change because you want it to. You have to change your world.
So wherever you are in life, it’s time to embrace getting uncomfortable. Because comfort is just the easy way of saying you’ve given up.
Don’t give up.