About 13 years ago, I saw a single mom who worked three jobs sign up to train with an employee of mine the same day a bachelor surgeon signed up with another trainer of mine. The mom was looking at the prospect of being around for her kids; and she had determined that the discomfort of time and money invested for her health HAD to happen if she could be around for those kids in the best way possible. It stretched her thin. But that is precisely why it worked. The bachelor surgeon, on the other hand, floundered. He often no-showed my employee, because the whole transaction was comfortable. He could throw away the money. He was always willing to revert to his prior lifestyle. He was unwilling to face his patterns and discomfort.
I’ve seen tens of thousands of people during their fitness transformations; and I’ve always tried to figure out the common trait that successful ones share. There are circular reasoning explanations, like compliance and consistency. But what makes them compliant or consistent?
As best I can tell, it’s prioritization of discomfort. There is a common mindset among people who fundamentally change their health and fitness: they all deeply acknowledge they must live in a new manner.
I don’t mean theoretically. I mean they actively look for a way to revise everything in their behaviors. They don’t seek a way out of the new practices. They look for ways to NOT get out of the new practices.
They move work meetings. They change jobs. They change sleep patterns. They shop at new grocery stores. They change laundry detergents. Whatever it is they used to do, they’re willing to see each prior behavior as a cause or symptom of unhealthiness.
I’m not saying to change any of that. I’m merely saying that in tens of thousands of case studies, this is the trait. I once had a prospective client tell me that he had never as an adult been consistently exercising for more than 6 months at the absolute maximum. I said, “then you ought to commit to a year.” He paid in full for a year of coaching; and before he made it through week 1, I knew he would be successful because he was willing to embrace the discomfort to overcome his pattern.
It’s simple. You want to grow? Prioritize discomfort.