be comfortable being uncomfortable

I have a list of mantras I’ve created with my clients over the years; a list I refer to as LAWisms. With over 20 years teaching, coaching and training experience, I have many lawisms. And no, I don’t consider my way to be THE LAW; but the nickname stuck when my triathlon training buddy referred to me as The LAW and so it stuck. One of my favorite lawisms? “Be comfortable being uncomfortable.”

What does that even mean?

Well, just like YOU and everyone else we know, we’ve all dealt with shit. Life WILL make you feel uncomfortable, but don’t ever let it stop you. You have to remember, it’s a good thing to feel uncomfortable. When you feel uncomfortable, it means you’re moving forward and exploring new territory. Get comfortable being uncomfortable and find out how far this journey can take you!

Over the years, I’ve had a few clients express the fact that they absolutely hated being or feeling uncomfortable, no matter the context. They hated that feeling if it arose at work; they didn’t like the feeling when they started to exert themselves in their workouts; they disliked the anxiety they felt when they began to get uncomfortable in situations that were out of their control.

The issue was not that they disliked the feeling; the DEEPER issue was their own FEAR; fear of discomfort; fear of the unknown; fear of not being in the driver’s seat… If it’s so terrible, why do it, why even bother they thought.

Well, life isn’t always unicorns and rainbows, right? Life is MESSY. But as the saying goes, without rain, there wouldn’t be any rainbows…A level of discomfort is the spice of life (OMG, am I full of metaphors or what? ha!) No really, discomfort is necessary!

Take for example fitness and movement. If eating healthy food and exercising is uncomfortable, then you will revert to eating comfort foods and not moving as much. In turn, your health begins to decline. BUT, being unhealthy, unfortunately, is also uncomfortable, so then you seek distractions from this (and the fact that you have debt and too much clutter, etc.) in food and entertainment and shopping (as if spending will solve our problems!) and this in turn makes things worse. It’s a vicious cycle, you see? When you continue to run from discomfort…

OK, so what? So what do you do now if you are starting to realize that you need to pivot and start being comfortable with being uncomfortable?

Here are some tips I’ve learned:

  1. Try it in small doses. Sit for 30 seconds in discomfort. If you’re averse to vegetables, try one green veggie. Put it in your mouth, leave it there for 30 seconds. You probably won’t like it much, but that’s OK. You don’t have to love it, but by doing this you’ll realize it’s not so bad after all.
  2. Immerse yourself in discomfort. Are you sad, or angry, or stressed, or frustrated? Instead of avoiding those emotions, immerse yourself in them. Dive into them, accept them, be in them. Same with procrastination — sit with the task you’re running from, and don’t switch to something else. Just be there with that uncomfortable feeling. How does it feel? Are you in deep pain? Are you OK?
  3. Seek discomfort. Challenge yourself daily. Find uncomfortable things and do them. Introduce yourself to strangers. Hug a friend. Confess your feelings. Take the new fitnes class. Confront someone (with a smile). Say No to people. Go for a run. Try a new healthy dish.
  4. Watch yourself run from things. What have you been avoiding because of discomfort? What feelings have you been rejecting? What problems do you have that stem from discomfort? What have you allowed your mind to rationalize? Become aware of this process, and see if you can stop avoiding things, one by one.
  5. Learn that discomfort is your friend. It’s not an enemy to fear. It’s actually a good thing — when you’re uncomfortable, you are trying something new, you’re learning, you’re expanding, you’re becoming more than you were before. Discomfort is a sign that you’re growing.

This is why I am not your USUAL Personal Trainer. For my clients, a big part of their wellness journey includes a mindset piece. M clients go through a mindset makeover to ensure that they are ready mentally and physically to approach this part of their journey ALL IN (not one foot in). No matter how much money you pay me, if your WHY does not align with your WANT, you’ll never get the true results you seek.

If you have been pulling your hair out, so to speak (not a lawism but the way *winkwink*); if you are inundated with way too much fitness and food info out there and you are frustrated because you can’t seem to find a sustainable rhythm toward your wellness goals, I’m your go-to. I help busy and stressed women achieve sustainable wellness results so that they can begin to love their bodies NOW, not 10 pounds from now.

Do you agree? Let me know what you think my leaving me a comment below. You can find me @leeannwatanabe on instagram, Lee-Ann Watanabe and 2CW-HI on Facebook and 2CWHIFITNESS on Twitter and Lee-Ann Watanabe on Linkedin.

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