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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.

        More by this author

        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 September 16, 2019

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

        We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

        The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

        Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

        1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

        Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

        For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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        • (1) Research
        • (2) Deciding the topic
        • (3) Creating the outline
        • (4) Drafting the content
        • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
        • (6) Revision
        • (7) etc.

        Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

        2. Change Your Environment

        Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

        One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

        3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

        Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

        Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

        My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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        Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

        4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

        If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

        Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

        I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

        5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

        I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

        Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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        As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

        6. Get a Buddy

        Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

        I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

        7. Tell Others About Your Goals

        This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

        For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

        8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

        What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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        9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

        If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

        Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

        10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

        Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

        Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

        11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

        At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

        Reality check:

        I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

        More About Procrastination

        Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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