The Reality of Being Comfortable
I want you to imagine something for a second.
You’re sitting down on your favorite couch, gripping a warm cup of coffee in your hand. You’re wrapped in blankets and you can feel the cushions of the couch deforming underneath you, gently wrapping themselves around your lower body.
How would you define this feeling?
I would use one word: comfort.
Comfort is a feeling most of us are familiar with. It’s that nice, warm fuzzy feeling we get when things are the way they should be. Comfort makes us feel safe. It makes us feel in control.
Comfort is easy.
Our comfort zones define us. We’ve established these so-called boundaries over the course of our lifetime. They’ve been etched out by our experiences, challenges, struggles and achievements.
We hate stepping over these boundaries. We’ve grown to enjoy the little space of comfort we’ve created for ourselves and rarely venture out beyond.
This is true for our health, our jobs and our lives in general. We’re comfortable in our daily routines and apart from the occasional day dreaming, we couldn’t imagine every abandoning this feeling of familiarity.
But here’s what you need to understand.
Comfort is killing your chances of success.
It’s desperately holding you back.
And this is natural. As humans, we hate change. We like things to stay consistent.
But there is a very powerful link between your level of comfort and those results you’re constantly striving for.
It looks something like this:
What do you see?
This graph explains exactly why the majority of us will NEVER reach the level of success we dream of. It shows why only a select few will achieve the level of fitness that they’re striving for.
Here’s a little more detail added to the graph.
Take a moment to analyze this graph. You’ll notice that there are two major areas:
The first, circled in red, is in the bottom right corner. This is the all and mighty comfort zone. This is where 95% of people will remain for the rest of their lives.
The second, circled in green, is the sweet spot. This is where the magic happens. This is where success (however you want to define it) is brewed. Only 5% of people will have the guts, the determination and the willingness to reach for this area.
So here’s the million dollar question:
How do I get from the red to the green?
Venturing out of your comfort zone is not easy. I’ll admit that. But, that’s fine. Anything in this world that’s WORTH achieving should NOT be easy. It should be hard. And only the people who put in the work should deserve to reach those levels.
So how do you start the transition? How do you gravitate to the top left part of the graph?
Start with these steps:
1. Define your comfort zone
Like I mentioned earlier, your comfort zone is determined by your experiences, challenges, struggles and achievements. These will naturally be different for everyone. From a fitness perspective, think about all the things that make you feel uncomfortable. Work through your thoughts until you find that smallest thing that makes you feel uneasy. For some it could be signing up for a marathon, for others it will simply be leaving the house to move around. Whatever it may be, write it down.
2. Start slowly
Don’t just jump right out of your comfort zone. That’s like leaving a warm cozy house and jumping naked into a pool of ice water. Although it sounds exciting, your chances of failure are drastically increased. Instead, what you want to do is dip your toe first. Feel out the water before making the dive. Take a small (but powerful) step outside the zone and see what it feels like. So, if you know going for a jog makes you feel uncomfortable, start by simply stepping outside of the house. Progress to a walk. Plan out your route. Ideally, you want to make yourself feel comfortable. Then progress. Essentially, what you’re doing is you are expanding your comfort zone one step at a time.
3.Understand that it’s not an easy transition
As you begin your adventures, you’ll realize just how hard it is to expand your levels of comfort. I mentioned how we hate change. Well, so do our bodies. It may feel awkward and painful at first, but don’t let that stop you. There’s a reason only 5% of us will get to the green area on the graph. A lot of us will try. We’ll get the courage and start climbing that graph, but obstacles force us to slide back down into that comfy red circle. That’s just the reality of it. If you want to make the full climb, you’ll have to overcome those obstacles. This will take a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but that’s what it takes to reach the top.
4. Understand there is a balance
Some of you will take what you read here and get freaked out by the idea of living a life inside a big fat red circle of comfort. You’ll jump out with excitement, vying you’ll never step back into that zone. That’s not the idea I’m trying to portray. As I mentioned, the idea is not to escape your comfort zone, but to expand it. And you do this by balancing your time inside and outside of that zone. That’s how you live life.
5. Never stop expanding
Realize that the climb to the top of that slope is not one that happens overnight. In fact, it’s not something to be associated with time at all. This is a journey that lasts a lifetime. It requires lifestyle changes. Sure, it’s possible to make drastic changes in a short period of time and reach that green zone, but if you don’t build the necessary habits to keep you there, you’ll slide back down faster than you can snap your fingers. Patience is a virtue here. Enjoy your climb. Understand there will be set backs. Build the necessary (positive) habits to keep yourself climbing. So when you do eventually get there, you’ll know how to keep yourself there for life.
There’s another very interesting phenomenon that happens at the top of the graph, within that green circle. I’ll let you read about it more here.
I hope this post has given you a different perspective on what it takes to actually get results.
Take a few moments to figure out where on the graph you currently stand. Be honest with yourself. Then think about where you want to be.
If staying in that red zone is your kind of thing, that’s completely fine.
But if you’re one of the select few who really want to make a change, who really want to make things happen, I’ll tell you this.
There’s definitely room at the top of that mountain.
Make things happen.