Have you ever felt like making a change was hard unless you were forced to make it. It seems the more we need to make a significant change, the harder it is to get going on it may be.
Striving to do things differently is energizing and difficult at the same time. An idea for a fresh start occurs to us and we revel in excitement at first. The commitment to it can even feel good too. But then comes the difficulty of following through. And this is where the rubber hits the road. Quitting a smoking habit is going to be hard. But improving your lifestyle so you can see your kids grow old is something that you are passionate about. But that won't be enough. It's a lifelong commitment and you have to have all your ducks in a row. In order for you to be successful at quitting you have to manage stress a different way, and approach your day to day with some flexibility. Because initial excitement will wear off.
Some people do not like to make health and fitness goals because it makes them have to step outside of their comfort zone. It's easier to stay the same. The effort to lose weight, change a unhealthy addiction, or be discipline about going to the gym can be challenging.
What makes us change then?
It turns out that some people make changes when they have to, not when they want to. Of course this isn't always true. But making the uncomfortable decisions on a daily basis to bring about change can be a daunting task. It’s just that the changes we most desire are hard, involving emotional responses that can be tricky to identify and challenging to unseat. We often need urgency to bring about change. For example, let's say you had a doctors appointment to get blood work done. The results came back showing that you now have Type II Diabetes. Your doctor informs you of all the health implications that come along with the illness and you are now scared straight. You immediately go home and start to examine what you haven’t wanted to see. You realize all the mindless snacking you partake in, the liters of soda you consume daily, and the unhealthy choices you make on a consistent basis. You immediately start to put forth the effort to bring about change. A crisis often supplies the right kind of push and readiness. Necessity is a more powerful motivator than preference, willpower, or even a loved one’s begging. That is a sad truth.
My father would always tell me to do things that make me uncomfortable until they become easy or comfortable to do. Some people may have the capacity to force themselves over the hump of deep hesitancy, but most of us take the path of least resistance day by day.
Everyone has the capacity to become mentally stronger. And everyone has room for improvement. Changing the way you think, feel, and behave isn't an easy task. It takes dedication and commitment.
Just like going to the gym a few times won't make you physically strong, developing your mental muscle is also a lifelong process. Mental strength takes years to build and a lifetime to maintain.
Not everyone wants to improve their lives. And that's OK. Some people are afraid of the hard work, and others doubt their ability to create positive change. But if you want to challenge yourself to become the best you can, increasing your mental muscle will take you to the next level. I've seen it early in my career of 1 on 1 personal training, through virtual coaching with my clients through WebFit, and in my own life.
Your mind can be your biggest asset or your worst enemy. When you learn how to train it well, you can accomplish incredible feats. But it starts with doing what is hard on a regular basis.
Philosopher William James said, “Do at least two things every day that you don’t want to do, for the very reason that you don’t want to do them.”
Practice being uncomfortable.