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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 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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