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Results Speak: Doing These 5 Painful Things Will Pay Off Forever

Results Speak: Doing These 5 Painful Things Will Pay Off Forever

There’s a hidden side of pain which most people don’t realize. It’s a little benefit known as rapid growth. By default, we run away from painful activities and experiences. However, once you realize that a certain kind of pain actually improves your life significantly, you’ll begin to crave it.

This time, I want to show you the good side of pain and encourage you to leave your comfort zone for good, because once you do, amazing things will happen in your life.

1. Running.

If you never really ran regularly before and you suddenly commit to becoming a runner, your first workouts will be extremely hard. Your calves will burn and your mind will scream, begging you to stop. The good news is it gets easier. Except you need to do it repeatedly, and that’s the hard part.

Running isn’t only about staying in shape and living an active life, although that’s a habit that pays off every single time. Running is also a metaphor for going through hard times in life without giving up once you feel uncomfortable or like you are unable to keep going.

If you are able to complete your run, even if it’s painful and you’d rather give up, you’ll learn how to bite the bullet and survive once life throws you some huge obstacles.

“ […] When you’re running, there’s a little person that talks to you and says, ‘Oh I’m tired. My lung’s about to pop. I’m so hurt. There’s no way I can possibly continue.’ You want to quit. If you learn how to defeat that person when you’re running. You will learn how to not quit when things get hard in your life. […]”

Will Smith

2. Lifting weights.

When you start lifting weights consistently, you’ll experience the real power of commitment. You’ll also experience the power of tiny gains. At first, you will struggle with every single exercise, but as you get back to the gym over and over again, you’ll get stronger and stronger. Keep in mind that transformation never happens overnight. Actually, that’s another invaluable life lesson you get from lifting iron. Patience.

Working out strengthens your body, improves your self-esteem and confidence, as well as boosting your health. I could talk about other countless benefits for hours, but that’s not the point. The message I want to deliver is that in contrast to sitting in a cubicle, lifting weights is something your body will be grateful for.

It may be painful and uncomfortable; however, the feeling of accomplishment after finishing a workout, as well as long-term benefits, are worth all that sweat.

“The best activities for your health are pumping and humping.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

3. Taking a cold shower.

I’ve been doing it for months now. It’s one of the best habits I’ve developed. The beginning was painful, but over time it gets a little bit easier. That said, the freezing cold water remains that way no matter how many days go by. And that’s the beauty of it.

When you let the cold water run down your body, you start to panic, and want to stop it immediately. However, before you do it, realize that this pain is fictional. It’s not a real pain. You don’t actually suffer at all. It’s just a vein of discomfort which make you feel alive.

Taking a cold shower tests your ability to experience short-term discomfort in order to achieve long-term success. This is a skill which separates the extraordinary individuals from the average crowd.

I guarantee you, and it’s not a vain promise, but something based on real life experience: if you begin taking cold showers, your life will improve in many unexpected areas.

“Cold shower therapy makes you invincible. No lie. After your first few five minute face-offs with the shower, nothing can stop you.”

Joel Runyon

4. Organizing your life in advance.

Successful people don’t live on the spur of the moment. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that they are boring. They know exactly what they expect from their lives and what it takes to get there. Pursuing this path requires some strategic planning in advance.

Whatever your goal is, it won’t become a reality by accident. Every success you see is a result of sustained planning and taking action. I won’t lie: it’s painful and uncomfortable. Instead of proceeding, we run to distractions, procrastinate, and come up with thoughts that prevent us from  leaving our comfort zone.

However, if you want to become successful, you need to go through that pain. It doesn’t pay off immediately, but it definitely pays off forever.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

Alan Lakein

5. Eating healthy.

Let me clarify, healthy meals are way tastier than fast food and you’ll absolutely enjoy eating them. The painful part is sticking to preparing them and refusing to eat crap when the opportunity arrives.

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Your body is your biggest asset. Most people don’t truly realize it. This is why you see so many smokers, overweight or obese people, and other living examples of health-destroying tendencies.

If you take the time to learn about nutrition and put only high-quality foods on your plate, you’ll make your future self a huge favor.

“There’s nothing more important than our good health  —  that’s our principal capital asset.”

Arlen Specter

Featured photo credit: U.S. Naval Forces Central Command via flickr.com

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Oskar Nowik

Oskar is a blogger and the author of "Brightening: The Positive Attitude That Will Change Your Life"

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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