My belief is that going out of your comfort zone helps reset what you see as normal and what you perceive to be possible while also making you more resilient to life’s challenges. Today I’d like to share some of the methods I use to get myself more uncomfortable to help sharpen my body and mind, endure any challenge and stay calm under pressure. I’ve used these techniques for benefit athletically, personally and in my business.
- Cold training. In my experience, there is nothing that destroys a person’s drive and motivation quite like being exposed to the cold. Therefore, if you can learn to make cold your friend you will develop a mental and physical edge that others only dream of. I employ cold training by running in frigid temperatures with minimal clothing, standing barefoot in snow for 5 minutes or more while wearing only shorts (this is the Wim Hof method that I’ve begun using recently), ice baths, frigid showers and more. As extreme as this may sound to some, you will be amazed at the physiological and mental benefits it provides. When things get hectic in my life and I have tons going on I will often think back to races or training in the cold and immediately whatever I’m facing in the present doesn’t seem as daunting.
- “Alarm clock” challenges. We’ve all had the experience where we’ve gone to bed excited about getting up early to accomplish something in the early morning only to hit the snooze alarm for an hour and avoid doing it. I challenge myself to get up earlier than I must and perform exercise, go for a run or get something accomplished for my business. Empowering yourself over your alarm clock will help you begin your day with a win and help you gather momentum throughout the rest of the day. I also think accomplishing something when others are still sleeping tends to make you feel great.
- Sign up and suffer. No matter what your ability level, there is a race out there to challenge you. I had never run more than a mile until I was 35 years old. I then jumped into obstacle course races which led to half marathons which then led to 24 hour races and ultramarathons. The key is to select something that you feel will be difficult for you. If you must dig deep, overcome the urge to quit and accomplish a lofty goal you will be amazed at the confidence and resiliency you acquire from it. When I face stress in my life now I often think back to a grueling stretch of a race I’ve done and think “well this is nothing compared to how I felt at that time.” Remember the quote “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
- Get around people that inspire you. Whether in business or in my personal life I have derived great value from being involved in groups. I believe being a part of a group helps keep you accountable, motivated and the camaraderie can be excellent. As a recent example, on Facebook I have become a member of Jesse Itzler’s #2017ofEverything group. The group accepts a monthly physical challenge to be performed over a series of days. Though I do all my workouts on my own I have found the group to be amazing. The group members range from elite athletes to people that are using the challenge to exercise for the first time. Reading posts about their progress inspires me to go beyond my comfort zone. Getting around others that are hungry for success I believe can be a great tool as we strive to improve as well.