One of the most common reasons people find it hard to maintain a High Performance lifestyle is because, although they are in love with the idea of being a High Performer, they aren’t really willing to make the necessary commitments to make it happen. Unfortunately, wishing, hoping, and planning isn’t actually going to achieve anything. At some point you will have to step outside of your comfort zone and take committed action.
Your comfort zone is a familiar place from which you act, react, think, feel and choose. And although you mightn’t like living here, at least its ‘easier’ despite its many disadvantages.
Success ultimately comes down to how badly you want something and what price you are willing to pay to get it. You will only achieve your goals through committed, purposeful and focused action. Most people are afraid of change because it involves stepping out of their comfort zone which can be both painful and unpleasant. But it’s the only way and the pain is short-term. The alternatives are to only ever think about and dream about success or to always look for the short cut or quick fix. While these approaches keep you nicely tucked up in your comfort zone, neither will lead to lasting success or a life you love.
The familiar saying ‘no pain, no gain’ really means ‘no discomfort, no change’. It applies to anyone who wants to change something to improve their life:
- For an athlete who wants to increase their performance it means hours of dedicated training at the expense of “fun” things
- For a people-pleaser it means saying no, no matter how scary that might seem
- For someone struggling with their weight it means making different choices, and becoming more self-aware
- For an anxious teenager who wants to learn how to drive it means getting behind the wheel and facing their fears
Many people get trapped within the limits of their comfort zone. They might make some progress, but when they reach the limits of their comfort zone, they get stuck, procrastinate, retreat, or give up. But your comfort zone is expandable – it’s stretchy. And like a rubber band, if you stretch it enough and often, it will maintain its new expanded size. Your comfort zone will have permanently grown.
But you must be willing to get uncomfortable to begin with because the practical realities of change always involve some form of discomfort.
Change is uncomfortable because it involves:
- New Experiences (learning a new skill or strategy; establishing a new habit; getting your heart rate up; responding to a craving differently; having a difficult conversation; going to bed earlier; etc.)
- Obstacles (time; money; triggers; people; life / busyness; etc.)
- Self-Doubt (I can’t do this; I’m a failure; this is too hard; I’ll do it tomorrow; I don’t feel like it; I don’t have the time; I’ve got no willpower; I’m fat; etc.)
- Unpleasant Emotions (fear of failure; embarrassment; rejection; anxiety; worry; guilt; shame; anger etc.)
Those who really succeed aren’t any more talented, smarter, or harder working than you. And they certainly don’t have any more willpower. But they are willing to continually expand the limits if their comfort zone. They understand that change is messy, painful and uncomfortable, but don’t allow this to prevent them from taking the actions needed to get the job done.
Do I prefer the safety and security of my current (dissatisfying) reality or the pain and discomfort that will inevitably come with change?
Am I content to just think and dream about achieving my goals, or am I willing to actually step outside the limits of my comfort zone to make it happen?