Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
*If complete honesty and some minor censored cursing offends you this probably isn’t the blog for you*
January 2021 – New Year New Me
Don’t be alarmed; I completely agree that the ‘New year, new me’ hallmark is an overused cliché that, for most people is a statement filled with much hope and good intention. Yet, after a week or two, after the novelty has worn off; you realise life is throwing the same s*** at you as it was last year. You inevitably fail at all your goals and settle yourself back into the same comfort zone you were so determined to climb out of, and the excuses flood in about why you couldn’t do it…or perhaps that’s just me?!
For me, the New Year has always filled me with an overwhelming wave of emotion; happiness, sadness, hope, regret, anticipation and ‘Auld Lang Syne’ get’s me every time! Every year, I start with the familiar empty tune of ‘this is my year – New Year, new me’. Don’t get me wrong there is undoubtedly something poetic and some sense to using the New Year as the perfect opportunity to start afresh but I feel like it comes with a whole heap of pressure and sense of judgement – Yeah yeah, you said that last year / Here come the New Year New Me posts / Let’s see how long it lasts this time *Insert rolling eye emoji*. Let’s face it whether it’s the New Year, your birthday or a Thursday there’s never a wrong time to start afresh and begin living the life you want.
The truth is…there is no quick fix…Sorry!
I have probably been on my self-development journey for around 5 or 6 years as I realised that after about 18 months of suffering from pretty severe anxiety, I needed to sort myself out as that is not a way I ever wanted to feel again! However in the interest of being completely open, which is my commitment to you – when I say I have been on this journey I wasn’t exactly on it, I would maybe hop on for a day or two to try something new, see no results and then hop right back off again and give up!
Yep, that’s right it wasn’t uncommon for me to give up something that some ‘Guru’ had told me would transform my life after a day or two of not seeing the results! Ridiculous right, but a defeatist attitude teamed with a craving for instant gratification is a real b****.
I am -and always have been- a huge sceptic when it comes to “successful” people (which I will often refer to as Guru’s) that tell me what I need to do to become a better version of myself. Which is usually a 2-hour morning routine including; exercise, meditation, affirmations, journaling, etc., etc., etc. When you look at the list, I admit that all of them are incredibly positive things and it certainly makes sense to be doing the same things that successful people are doing. Therefore, I take full ownership of my scepticisms because I believe it comes from my craving for instant gratification like I say I am not disputing any of the techniques above and let’s face it the people who are saying it are far more successful than me (currently). Still, I think their lack of transparency that to do any of these things (whilst seemingly quite obvious and easy) requires a huge amount of resilience, persistence, and willpower, as these things only work when you do them religiously repeatedly and you will certainly not see progress immediately! The other annoying kick you when your down realisation is that these traits required to implement these great things like the perfect morning routine will improve when you do the items, it’s like a big, tormenting, f*** you cycle.
Perhaps everyone knows this, and it’s just me looking for this magic quick fix that these ‘Guru’s’ appear to be pushing, well the truth is…there is no quick fix…sorry! Because I believed this quick fix, I felt like these people and what they were telling me to do was utterly unobtainable because, after a brief moment of inspiration, I would inevitably fail. After all, the results weren’t instant, and therefore I would give up!
There is some hope, though, you do not need to do all of them, and this is something they also don’t tell you! It can feel quite overwhelming, especially for someone starting from doing absolutely sod all for one’s personal development to be faced with a long list of things to implement into their lives all at once. It’s the same as the New Years resolution list. Let’s face it, most of us don’t really like change, we certainly don’t like to accept there are changes that we need to make about ourselves! Your journey to success and what that success is to you will be very different to that of someone else, you have to find the things that work for you, and it might be some, all or none of what works for someone else. Don’t put too much pressure on achieving everything you want at once, and you have to focus on progress over perfection!
This is my biggest lesson over the last 5 or 6 years which is why I include that time as part of my journey, whilst I may not have been actively or effectively working on my self-development those years eventually woke me up to all of the bulls*** I believed and had been telling myself, and that brings me to 2021. Something changed; cliches aside, I am at a place now where I am committed to my self-development. I have entirely accepted that there isn’t a quick fix or a final destination that I am trying to reach, that I am embarking on a constant pursuit, not something I can do part-time. I am excited and ready for that. This is a fundamental realisation I believe one needs to make before being genuinely committed to themselves.
Given everything I have just rambled on about, I decided it was time for a different tact for 2021. I have still written the list (yes the list in the picture is my actual list) of all of the things I would like to achieve this year, but rather than trying to implement and achieve everything all at once, I am choosing one item from my list each month.
My thinking behind this came from an episode of The Mindset Mentor Podcast, which explains that all you need to do is focus on being 1% better today than yesterday. This woke me up and was probably the first bit of advice to resonate with me – my instant gratification craving could finally divorce my defeatist attitude as all I needed to do is commit to achieving a small thing each day! So that is what I am doing, choosing one thing off the list, implementing it every day for the whole month and at the end of the month, I will decide if it works for me. If it does I will carry on doing it, if it doesn’t I won’t continue with it but will celebrate the achievement of doing it for a whole month – remember not everything has to work for you, but you won’t know unless you try! I will then introduce the next thing for the new month.
For January my one thing was to take a cold shower every day. You may be thinking this is a strange thing to start with, how is that going to help with self-development? Well aside from the health benefits associated with doing it, it takes an incredible amount of will power and control over your mind to be able to do it! I don’t know if you’ve ever tried it but when you are about to step into a cold shower an overwhelming sense of fear comes over you, and your mind becomes very noisy urging you not to get in and coming up with every excuse to talk you out of it. This is precisely why I started with this one, I have to overcome my mind daily and force myself out of my comfort zone to achieve it.
I am happy to say that I did achieve this and it will be the first one to be ticked off the list and I do plan on continuing with it moving forward if you haven’t ever tried it before I would recommend it. Not only is it empowering (after like the first few days as they are pretty savage I won’t lie) but it’s so refreshing. I look forward to it now – as well as all the other health benefits that are associated with doing this, including increased endorphins, increase metabolism, improved circulation and boosted immune system!
I am hopeful that this technique is going to work for me as I did manage to achieve a couple more off the list; I am almost at the end of my first book of the year, I have listened to The Mindset Mentor pretty much every day, and here I am writing. But I’m not focusing on that right now or putting any pressure on continuing with all of them just yet I am just going to focus on my one for February – Read one book per month – wish me luck!
I plan to write a blog each month, reflecting on how the month has been and for some accountability. But I also hope that it inspires you to focus on what 1% looks like for YOU. I am on a mission to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and I want to give an honest, completely vulnerable and authentic perspective as it happens for me.
1% better every day = 3778% (37.78%) better by the end of 1 year.