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Are You a Comfort Junkie?

Are You a Comfort Junkie?

    Picture this…

    You’ve decided you want to get in shape. Get a little fitter, healthier and stronger. Buff up and gain some muscle. Possibly even a six-pack. You head off to the local gym, sign on the dotted line, hand over some cash and then head straight home. You would have done a workout on the spot but it wasn’t really a good time. So the following day you get up, put on your new gym outfit – the one you bought on credit – and head off to the club. You arrive looking resplendent in your new workout gear. You put your valuables in a locker, pin your key to your shirt and head out on to the gym floor.

    You look at all the bods in the gym sweating, grunting, pushing, panting and generally getting uncomfortable and to be honest, it really doesn’t look so appealing to you. The reality of exercise doesn’t seem nearly as much fun as the idea of it all. And if there’s one thing you like, it’s fun.

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    Strange people on strange equipment

    You move around the gym looking curiously at the strange people on the strange equipment and nothing looks particularly enticing or enjoyable. In fact, it all looks a little uncomfortable and if there’s one thing you have an aversion to, it’s discomfort. Finally you find something which appeals to you; a weird-looking bike, with a back rest, arm rests and a built-in TV. Giddyup. Now you’re interested.

      The first workout

      You call over the gym dude with the big arms and little head and he shows you how to program a workout on the bike and more importantly, how to use the TV. You ignore the first part of the lesson but soak up the TV tutorial. While the multitudes sweat all around you, you stay focused on your wildlife documentary and use the pedals of the bike as nothing more than a lop-sided footstool. Literally. Not a single turn of the pedals, not a deviation of your heart rate and not a bead of sweat to be seen. Forty five minutes later your workout is done and you head back to the locker room. You return your key to reception, purchase a well-earned drink and wave goodbye to the staff at the front desk. You stride triumphantly to your car and wonder why you didn’t join a gym years ago; “It ain’t that hard”, you think to yourself.

      Getting into a routine

      You enjoy your workout so much that you decide to go five days a week. You create a little ritual for yourself. Same bike, same corner of the gym, same rewarding drink at the end of each session, and of course that same triumphant power-walk to the car.

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      After three months of toil you’re informed that you’re due for your re-assessment. The dude with the little head takes you into a pokey room with a bunch of weird looking gadgets and a plethora of indecipherable charts and tables on the wall. He pokes, prods, measures and weighs you. He looks somewhat concerned. He informs you that you’re fatter, heavier, weaker and less fit than when you started.

      What? No results!

      You’re disgusted and disillusioned. You can’t understand how going to the gym five days a week for three months can equate to such poor results. You tear up your membership card and you vow never to return to a gym. If only you had actually done something while you were there. If only you had got a little uncomfortable.

      Now, I know watcha thinking: “as if anyone’s gonna do that!”

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        It ain’t just a silly story

        Well you may (or may not) be surprised to learn that this story is a metaphor for way too many lives. Lives spent avoiding anything that looks like hard work or discomfort. Anything that might actually produce some quality results. Anything that might get people out of their secure, familiar little boxes. Anything that might cause them to learn, grow, adapt and change. Some people spend their life sitting on the comfy bike, resting their feet on the pedals (rather than turning them), watching the TV and wondering why they get zero results. Why they make no progress.

        When it comes to achieving genuine personal growth and seeing real positive change in our world (as opposed to the all-too-common, short-term burst of motivation and temporary behavioural change), there’s a bunch of potential hurdles and obstacles that we need to negotiate and navigate our way around in order to create the new and improved version of us. There is however one standout at the very top of most ‘hurdles and obstacles’ lists…

        We are comfort junkies!

        Yep, being addicted to comfort can be somewhat problematic, if not catastrophic, for the wanna-be, modern-day success story. The truth is, if you’re not experiencing and dealing with pain, discomfort and fear on at least a semi-regular basis, you’re probably not learning, growing, changing, adapting and exploring your potential as you should be. If you’re all about personal growth, maximising your ability and positive change, then avoid the tough (uncomfortable, inconvenient, painful) stuff at your peril.

        Life can be an amazing and incredible ride. It can also be a messy, unfair and uncomfortable place to be. It’s our classroom. It’s where we learn and grow – when we choose to pedal the bike. As I’ve said before, pain is one of our greatest teachers but we need to be willing students.

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        We don’t learn, grow, adapt and improve by gravitating towards all things safe, comfortable, familiar and convenient. No, we actually begin to develop and change for the better when we get off the couch, roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. Some of us have been masters of avoidance for too long.

        If you’ve been reclining on the comfy bike forever, then maybe it’s time for you to start pedalling.

        If you’re serious about becoming the new-and-improved version of you, then stop looking for easy and start looking for effective. Don’t do what’s comfortable or convenient, do what works.

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        Craig Harper

        Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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        Last Updated on November 11, 2019

        How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

        How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

        Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

        To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

        Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

        1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

        Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

        Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

        To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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        2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

        Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

        If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

        Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

        3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

        Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

        Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

        4. Feed Your Brain

        Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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        This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

        Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

        Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

        5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

        According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

        Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

        Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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        6. Write it Down

        If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

        It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

        You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

        7. Listen to Music

        Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

        8. Visual Concepts

        In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

        Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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        Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

        9. Teach Someone Else

        Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

        Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

        10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

        Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

        So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

        Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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