One Hard Thing You Have to Do to Be Happy, Healthy and Successful: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable, by Marc and Angel
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Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. A little at a time.
The idea of building up enough mental strength to be OK with discomfort may sound daunting, but it’s really not. It’s relatively easy when you take it one step at a time. This is a discovery Angel and I made many moons ago when we were trying to dig ourselves out of a hole and get our lives back on track.
We started to accept a little more discomfort by trying to live with less physical possessions and less debt, but we hated the feeling of not being able to buy things when we wanted them. At first, it was truly uncomfortable to resist that forceful urge. Our minds resisted, tried to run from this discomfort, and tried to make up all kinds of excuses for buying stuff we didn’t need.
But we learned to be one with the discomfort, and stay the course, by spending just a little less every week. When we did, gradually, spending less got easier and easier. Our world didn’t end – it just got better. We were a little uncomfortable for a while, and then we weren’t anymore.
Then I watched this same process transpire with my daily workout regimen. I didn’t want to lift weights because it was too hard. My mind made up a bazillion excuses. I found ways to avoid the gym. But then I caught myself, and gradually gave in to the discomfort, a little bit at a time, and it wasn’t as hard as I imagined. I lifted weights, and grew to love it. Then Angel saw my progress, and she started working out too.
Angel and I repeated this process for improving our diet, reducing our alcohol consumption, conquering procrastination, working through adversity, and more.
Getting comfortable with discomfort – and gradually building up our mental strength in the process – has easily been the biggest key to our long-term happiness and success.
Some tips from the article:
1. As discussed above, try embracing discomfort in small doses by building positive daily rituals to support your goals. If you’re averse to exercise, for example, take a 5-minute walk to the end of the block and back every morning before breakfast. Don’t overthink it – just put on your walking shoes and go. You probably won’t like it much at first, and that’s OK. You don’t have to like it to feel good about getting it done. Believe it or not, before I started with weights, this is how I started working out at the very beginning. And now I love it.
2. Pay attention to your tendency to avoid discomfort. What tasks, goals, or issues have you been avoiding simply because they make you feel a little uncomfortable? What good ideas have you been rejecting? What problems do you have that stem directly from an unwillingness to accept some discomfort? What have you allowed your mind to make excuses about? Become aware of your mind’s weakness with discomfort, and see if you can start taking small steps forward, one by one. (Angel and I discuss this further in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
3. Focus on the full extent of your emotions when you’re feeling uncomfortable. Are you angry, or scared, or worried, or sad? Instead of ignoring those emotions, face them. Embrace them, accept them, sit with them. For example, if you catch yourself procrastinating with a difficult task, eliminate the distractions, sit with the task, and don’t shift to something else. Just be there with that uncomfortable feeling of dealing with the difficult task in front of you. How does it feel? Are you in deep pain? Or are you really OK? Take a deep breath. And then take the next smallest step.
4. Set yourself up with tiny discomfort challenges. Simply do slightly uncomfortable things at regular intervals: Say hello to strangers. Be sensitive and tell someone how much they mean to you. Say no to people when you know you should. Get to the gym. Eat kale. Skip the Starbucks. Etc.
Mental strength is built through lots of small, daily victories.
It’s the individual choices we make day-to-day that build our “mental strength” muscles.
This is a big key. It's all about the small steps. And not getting discouraged.
Today was a bad day? Don't use it as an excuse to abandon change. You just try again tomorrow.
Tomorrow always brings the opportunity to do better.
Source is Imzy: