Today we're going to learn how to break through discomfort and finally live a healthy life.
Over the years I’ve been collecting small instruments; a ukulele, bangolele, and my grandfather’s harmonica. For most of my life I’ve wanted to be musical, but I’ve never really invested much time towards learning. But in my fantasy world, one of my happy places is sitting in the sun, casually playing music and singing with friends.
Doesn’t that sound nice?
But here’s the thing, in order to do any of this (minus the sun bathing part), I have to LEARN HOW.
And learning is hard….especially when you’re a grown-up.
A couple of years ago I found a knitting group that was gathering at a local brewery, Odd Alewives. There were EPIC knitters there like Hunter Hammersen and Rachel Jones. …yeah, I know. Cool, right? Anyway, I showed up with the tools I was familiar with; a crochet hook and some cheap-ass yarn.
Since I was already quite familiar with using yarn, it didn’t take me too long to adjust to knitting. Learning was easy.
The same applies to painting and drawing for me. Anything relatively within that wheelhouse I feel comfortable and confident in. I don’t feel intimidated by learning. But music? That pokes my insecurity button.
Doing something new can evoke lots of unsavory feelings basically because we’re being challenged out of our comfort zone.
The brain is a double-edged sword when it comes to challenges. While it actually thrives on breaking barriers, it’s kind of squeamish about taking the first steps in doing so.
Our fragile egos are afraid of getting hurt, and will go through a whole series of disempowering thoughts to keep us comfortable.
What if I fail?
What if I’m no good?
What if it’s too hard?
What will others think?
Who am I to be doing this anyway?
This nonsense inquisition is just your brain trying to keep you from feeling uncomfortable.
There are LOTS of reasons why we avoid and resist new things.
- Maybe there was an epic fail in your life that “proved” risk-taking is dangerous.
- Maybe you had someone in your life who convinced you your abilities were limited.
- Maybe your life has always been predictable and calculated, so you believe that’s how it should stay.
Whatever the reason, it’s coming from a fixed mindset…and it’s totally bogus. And again, it’s just your brain trying to keep you comfortable.
Now, if you’re completely satisfied with where you’re at, congratulations. This blog is not for you. But if you’re avoiding adding new things to your life because it’s too uncomfortable, keep reading.
There’s an infinite list of things you may be trying to incorporate into your life. And it doesn’t matter if it’s something simple like doodling daily, or something a little more challenging like starting a yoga practice, or something even more epic and completely life changing like learning ways to dismantle your own white supremacy beliefs.
Change is challenging no matter how great or small, and I’m proud of you for wanting it in the first place.
So, on that note, let’s learn how to be a beginner and understand why getting good at being new is so important to your overall health, and healing.
I like to use the 5 Keys to Self-Care Independence when approaching challenges in my life, so let’s dive into those…
The first, and very critical step is having a growth mindset. Ensuring your head is aligned with your heart is the only way to make any practice sustainable and enjoyable in your life.
- Know you are powerful and capable
- Accept that learning is a long game and be patient with yourself
- Embrace failure and use it as a learning tool
- Be realistic about how much you can do and how quickly you can do it
- Focus on the process and not the end result
Patreon Perk: Mindset Mantra Maker
Getting to the root of your motives and purpose behind your actions keeps you inspired and motivated.
- Why do you want this new thing to be a part of your life?
- What will you gain?
- What will you lose?
- What will happen if you don’t bring this to your life?
- How do you feel when you think about being challenged?
- What holds you back?
- What moves you forward?
- What happens if you sit with uncomfortable feelings?
- What happens when you work through discomfort?
Patreon Perk: Finding Purpose Worksheet
While having a growth mindset means focusing on the process and not the end result, direction is about having a clear picture of what your goals are, and having a practical, achievable plan to get you there.
- What is the goal?
- What are some smaller steps you can take to get you there?
- Make sure they’re “SMART”: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
Patreon Perk: Goal Setting Chart
Most of us are really good at accomplishing the first three steps, but when it comes to taking action, we set our goals on the back burner while we wait for the “right” time to start. BTW, this is just the handiwork of your subconscious trying to keep you comfortable because action is the hardest part. Trust me, I know. I’ve put off this whole self-care gig for years while I waited for the “right time” #nomoreexcuses.
- Start NOW.
- Seriously, if you’re sitting here reading this blog, you have time to dedicate to your new goal.
- Even if it’s writing out your plan, working on your awareness, or strengthening your mindset, DO-IT-NOW.
- Even if you only have three minutes at this very moment to dedicate to it, do it now. This blog will be waiting for you when you’re done.
Seriously, I can wait…
Okay. So, one of the reasons it’s SO important to invest even just a few minutes a day towards your goal is because of a thing called neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is basically a fancy word for retraining the brain. Every minute you invest in your new activity is one more minute it becomes more familiar. And the more familiar something becomes, the less scary it is, and the easier it gets. Eventually, with enough practice, the very thing that once brought discomfort, will actually become habitual and satisfying.
Patreon Perk: Action Checklist
The last key to being a beginner is having support. Feeling encouraged and being held accountable is really important to your success.
- Get yourself an accountability buddy
- Share your endeavors with family members
- Join focus groups online
Patreon Perk: Private Groups
So, we’ve talked quite a bit about the steps to take in order to feel successful as a beginner. Now, you might be wondering how this can help with your health and healing…
When we decide to go all-in with our wellness, it can be kind of scary, and certainly feel uncomfortable. We're afraid to dive into certain health and healing routines because they feel awkward and weird. I see this all the time as a massage therapist.
I've worked with several contractors and fishermen whose bodies were pretty busted up. They live with chronic pain and limited range of motion, and it's really affecting their quality of life. I typically use their truck as an analogy when I explain what's going on with their bodies. What if the truck was way out of alignment, and had a rusty axle? They all know this isn't good.
I further explain that they could very easily practice a little maintenance every day to ensure they stay in alignment and maintain full functionality of their body. They like the idea until they hear what they need to do.
It usually revolves around stretching, specific yoga poses, deep breathing, and self massage. And some of them just aren't into it. The consequence? Continued chronic pain and limited range of motion.
Because of a fixed mindset they're limiting the potential for health and healing. They'd literally rather stay in their mental comfort zone and live with chronic pain and limited range of motion than practice being a beginner and introduce health and healing into their lives. Bonkers, right?
The thing is, we've ALL been there.
There have been things we've avoided doing for our emotional/mental/physical wellbeing because we'd rather stay in our comfort zone. Present company included. But we're all capable of using the 5 Keys to Self-Care Independence and rocking our wellness like a mother-lovin' boss.
We deserve to live life in balance, and I believe we all can. How do I know? Because I'm living proof.
I love you.
I appreciate you.
Thank you so much for being here.
I’ll see you soon.
If you’d like to receive regular self-care goodness, sign up for my newsletter! And as a thank-you I’ll send along my free Mindset Makeover Kit!
Want to start figuring out your self-care needs? Check out The Quick Guide to Identifying and Tending to Your Self-Care Needs.