Push Outside Your Comfort Zone

TAGS: Mitch Calvert, training methods, increasing strength, goals

Change is hard. Humans are programmed to fear change of any kind, preferring to seek shelter in comfortable, self-constructed boxes. But true satisfaction is found outside that box.

Most of the readership on elitefts™ has gone beyond what they originally thought possible. They've broken through their comfort zones, so to speak, whether that be achieving a 500-pound deadlift for reps or competing in their first bodybuilding or powerlifting competition. But sooner or later, that becomes the norm and a new comfort zone has been created.

As an elite athlete, striving to achieve means continually setting goals and going beyond the goals you originally set for yourself. Even elite athletes hit plateaus and must dig deeper to go beyond those benchmarks. We’ve all seen the fit guy in the gym who goes through the same general workouts week in and week out, but he doesn’t have much to show for it. He essentially looks the same as he did two years ago.

With a critical eye, be honest with yourself. If what once worked for you isn’t yielding the same results, change it up. Don’t be afraid to try new training methods. A new routine may provide the spark you need to spur on new growth and strength increases and, most importantly, renewed motivation.

Originally, when I first started out, my goal was strictly aimed at ridding myself of the flab I put on in my teen years. But once I achieved that objective, I knew I wasn’t done. I just looked skinny fat under my clothes and didn’t feel satisfied, so I transferred that energy into building muscle. Now, six years later, my journey isn't by any means over. I continually strive to get better and have a lot of room for improvement. It’s been gratifying to work each day on self-improvement, both physically on the outside and as a person inside. The two go hand in hand. If you only focus on one without the other, you aren’t truly growing and improving.

Setting goals

You’re never too old or too comfortable to make a change. Are you unhappy with something in your current situation? Change it! If you’re committed to lasting change and work hard enough, success is your only option. We all know that anything worth fighting for takes hard work, but the reward of a job well done is so worth it in the end.

First of all, figure out a goal you most want to accomplish. Maybe you want to change careers or lose twenty pounds for an upcoming wedding. Set a realistic time frame for achieving this goal and then take every step you can to make it a reality. Maybe that goal is to lose twenty pounds in four months. No matter the obstacles you face, change can be accomplished if you have the internal fortitude to see it through to the end. Write it down, put it somewhere visible where you’ll see it every day so you’re accountable to it, and start taking steps toward achieving it.

Start with baby steps. If you dive in headfirst and change too much at once, sticking to it will become a chore. Map out your daily diet right now (be honest) and pick away at certain things you could stand to live without. Two creams and two sugars in that morning coffee? Maybe substitute a sweetener like Stevia (bring your own if you have to) or request Splenda in place of that sugar. Cut your cream intake in half. I bet within a week you won’t be able to tell the difference in taste, and you’ll be shaving significant calories from the bottom line.

The tortoise may not look good out of the gates, but it always crosses the finish line. Be the tortoise. Make this a lifestyle change, not a crash diet. If you aren't doing any cardio at all right now, don’t immediately jump into twice daily routines seven days a week. Save some bullets for later when you actually need them. Three, twenty- to thirty-minute sessions a week will be sufficient to start. Those who come out guns blazing tend to find it too difficult to maintain and quit before they see the finish line.

I think people fail with goals when they look too far ahead. If you get focused on reaching your goal weight overnight, you’ll get discouraged along the way and quit. Focus on winning each day. Kick Monday in the ass and then wake up ready to do all you need to do to make Tuesday equally as successful. Ask yourself, “Can I do it today?” The answer is usually yes. Don’t skip ten steps ahead. Focus on the journey. Change is always an option and often leads to great things!

Contemplating a career change? Do it. Maybe you have the fitness thing figured out but hate your day job and struggle to find the motivation to punch the clock every day. If that’s the case, set your sights on making a change into a career that will bring you joy beyond the paycheck.

Even if you interview for a job that you think would be ideal but don’t get the call back or job offer, don’t let that stop you. Pastor Joel Osteen says, “You have to come to your closed doors before you get to your open doors.” A closed door shouldn’t be a stop sign but rather a detour on the path toward your ultimate goal. You may not know how many closed doors there will be, but have faith that you’re learning from each one of them and it’s only a matter of time before the open door presents itself. A closed door should be perceived as a stepping stone rather than a setback.

A dead-end job is escapable. Sure, it may pay the bills, but you only get one life. Follow your passion wherever it takes you, and the financial and personal growth will follow suit. Without passion, life is hollow and unrewarding. Pursue your passions and reap the rewards.

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