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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 January 21, 2020

        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

        Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

        your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

          Why You Need a Vision

          Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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          How to Create Your Life Vision

          Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

          What Do You Want?

          The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

          It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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          Some tips to guide you:

          • Remember to ask why you want certain things
          • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
          • Give yourself permission to dream.
          • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
          • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

          Some questions to start your exploration:

          • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
          • What would you like to have more of in your life?
          • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
          • What are your secret passions and dreams?
          • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
          • What do you want your relationships to be like?
          • What qualities would you like to develop?
          • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
          • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
          • What would you most like to accomplish?
          • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

          It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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          What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

          Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

          A few prompts to get you started:

          • What will you have accomplished already?
          • How will you feel about yourself?
          • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
          • What does your ideal day look like?
          • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
          • What would you be doing?
          • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
          • How are you dressed?
          • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
          • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
          • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

          It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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          Plan Backwards

          It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

          • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
          • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
          • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
          • What important actions would you have had to take?
          • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
          • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
          • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
          • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
          • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

          Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

          It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

          Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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