All right! So far, today sucks. It’s been a stressful few months or so. And of course, like anyone else, sometimes I just wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Sometimes you just wake up agitated, especially if you didn’t sleep well. Which is kind of my case. To phrase it simply, I’m uncomfortable but not the good kind.
Wait, there’s a good kind?
Yep, there sure is! And that’s what we’re talking about today.
We’ve got to do something about settling into a routine. While habits are good and having a structured routine is better, never ever getting out of our comfort zone is a completely different issue. We can have a routine, strictly structured or loosely structured, and still be able to incorporate positive stressors…things that make us uncomfortable.
I tend to like to do this in an extreme way, but there are less extreme ways to do it as well.
For instance, I recently purchased a manual car. That I didn’t know how to drive. Not much else changed in my life, I was still doing my routine. I still taught Aikido, went to the gym, did everything I needed to but with the added stress of figuring out a manual transmission.
It was hard. It was a little scary. There are still moments when I’m trying to figure everything else. Of course it was hard and maybe even a little exhausting. I was learning. My brain was exercising. And exercise is really never supposed to easy.
But you don’t have to go out and buy a manual transmission car to get uncomfortable.
There are easier, less expensive ways to do it.
1.Take a new route
Whether it’s to work, school, or on a run, taking a new route is great activity for your brain. If it’s a run or bike ride, try taking paths and roads where you have to actually figure out how to get home.
Besides, it’s a good time to experience some stress since you’ll be immediately be exercising off the stress.
2. Try new exercises
If you’re into working out (which you should be), you should be mixing up your routine. If you use only the machines, try the cables or free weights. If you do one type of cardio, try another. And another. And another. Try some HIIT or plyometric movements.
If you really like your workout, mix up the order! Even doing your exercises in a different order will challenge your muscles in a different way.
So those are some of the easy ways to make yourself uncomfortable. Some other ones include things like shopping at a different store, eating different meals, trying new foods, and traveling to a new place nearby. You can even buy a shirt from GoodWill that you are nervous to wear but wish you could.
Now, let’s get into the bigger things.
1.Buy a gym membership (and use it)
The using it part is the hard part. Now, your first gym membership doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, it probably shouldn’t be. And you do not have to be capable of much at all. The only pre-requisite you need is the ability to read a sign on a machine and figure out how to use it. Additionally, you can look up how to use various gym machines.
Then use it. Go and each time you go, plan out what you’re going to do and do one new thing. Just one. Maybe start with five exercises and each time you go, add a new machine. Maybe you can even build up to a place with a pool or classes. Then, when you’re ready, you can put those into your routine.
2. Treat yourself
Go to dinner alone. Lunch alone. Go grab some coffee by yourself. Go watch a movie by yourself. Hell, even go for a long walk by yourself and enjoy nature. You don’t have to wait for someone to enjoy your life and yourself. Go treat yourself.
No, it won’t be easy. But that’s the point here. It’s uncomfortable. And that’s where we need to be in our life to progress mentally and emotionally.
Obviously, these are not the only ways, big or small, that you can introduce you positive stress. Things are undoubtedly stressful but not necessarily in a bad way, kinda like a roller coaster.
I’ve talked about stress in past articles, but it’s important that we sprinkle it into our lives here and there so we give our brains things to chomp on. It helps us grow. And really, at the end of the day we aren’t trying to just get through life and manage. We’re trying to create a better version of ourselves today. Better than yesterday. Better than five years ago. That’s the only real thing we have control over.
It’s important to be uncomfortable and push your boundaries.
What you do not want to do, is terrify yourself. If walking out your door to go out to eat by yourself is entirely too overwhelming, then make a lunch and eat outside in your yard, on your balcony, your patio, whatever. Then work up to a picnic by yourself. Then go out to eat at a restaurant.
There are steps you can take with any goal to get there. If we aren’t exposing ourselves to various stresses, then when we try to incorporate a small one into our routine it’s going to feel absolutely awful.
We’ll talk more next week about self-improvement journeys, but for today, remember that we have to take it easier on ourselves and not crush ourselves with pressure but we have to figure out how to continue pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone.
Sitting in a place and saying, “I deserve this” is a terrible way to go.
Instead, push yourself. Get yourself uncomfortable because that is going to be the thing that