I’ve been thinking a lot about why people don’t start a fitness program or if they do, why they don’t follow through.
The obvious things come to mind: They love eating cake and pizza, they don’t want to look foolish, the thought of exercising makes them cringe. Many feel don’t have enough time or they don’t want to change their lifestyle…the list goes on. Most people know that exercise and eating nutritious foods is the primary way to become and stay healthy, but for some reason they don’t succeed.
In my time as a trainer, I’ve come to realize that it really boils down to one simple fact. They don’t want to be uncomfortable.
They want to stay in their own little box — their comfort zone.
We all have one. Actually, we have many comfort zones for different aspects of our lives. Some comfort zone boxes are larger than others, but we all have a limit in which a particular situation is no longer comfortable or familiar. We all know that fine line when the action required to succeed in a goal is halted for a moment (or more than a moment) and you have to decide whether to follow through or not.
That’s how you know you’re exiting your comfy box of familiarity.
My comfort zone regarding nutrition and fitness is pretty large, but I have another so small that almost everything challenges it.
A few months ago, I was sitting in my car, it was about 50 degrees outside, but I was sweating. My hands were shaking, I could hear my heart beat in my ears. I kept repeating to myself “It’s no big deal Anne, just do it.” As much as my mind screamed at my body to move, my body was NOT listening. I just sat there listening to some dumb radio show thinking about how I was making things worse for myself. “The longer you wait, the worse it’s going to be.
Can you guess where I was?
Going to the hospital to have some procedure done? No.
Being interrogated by the FBI? Nope.
Getting stabbed with a dull knife? Not at all.
I was going to a meeting for the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce.
Yup, a meeting. A place where you have to get up and say something about yourself and your business.
It sounds so ridiculous when I type it out. Honestly, it is. Only, it wasn’t — at the time.
Obviously, my comfort zone regarding public speaking in social situations is quite tiny. But believe it or not, it has gotten bigger — surprising, I know. There was a time in my life I could barely even talk to a person one on one, let alone even THINK about getting up and speaking about myself. Most people who know me don’t believe it because I tend to talk a lot now!
Although I’ve come a long way, I still have more work to do.
Starting over in a town where no one knows of me and my capabilities, I have had to force myself to push back on my comfort zone.
Nike had it right with their “Just Do It” slogan. I know that no one wants that to be the solution, but that is really what has worked for me. I’ve withstood those heart racing times and realized, I’m ok. Stepping out of my little box and feeling VERY uncomfortable didn’t kill me. In fact, it was just the opposite.
With every meeting I go to and every sentence I say aloud, the walls of my comfort zone get pushed back. They might only get pushed back a few centimeters at a time, but it’s a step in the right direction.
With health and fitness, it’s the same thing.
There are probably a few things that need to change in your life to achieve a healthier lifestyle. You might need to eat a vegetable other than corn and French fries. Perhaps you need to take the first steps inside a gym or meet with a personal trainer. Some or all of those things might evoke a level of discomfort. The thing is, to get to a place of health and wellness, you MUST push back the walls of your “fitness comfort zone.”
Is it a little scary? Of course.
Will you have to use a little willpower to push yourself in the right direction? Absolutely.
Thomas Jefferson said “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” He was on to something.
Go ahead and take a small step outside your comfort zone and see what happens. I bet it isn’t as bad as you think and you just might expand your zone like I am trying to do!
If you are looking to start an exercise program, give me a call or drop me a comment on my contact page. I know one of my programs will fit your needs and help you push past your “comfort zone” to reach your fitness goals.