People typically want to avoid being uncomfortable. To many, achieving a “comfortable life” is the highest goal possible. However, contrary to popular belief, being uncomfortable is actually an integral part of goal achievement. It’s impossible to achieve a goal – even the goal of comfortability – without some level of uncomfortability. For this reason, it’s best to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
To help, this article discusses the reasons why uncomfortability is part of goal achievement, including steps to embrace and overcome your own uncomfortability. By the end, you should look forward to the feeling of uncomfortability and be able to use it to your advantage.
Below are the 5 steps needed to get comfortable being uncomfortable:
1. Set Goals You Actually Want to Achieve
The first step to overcoming your own uncomfortability is to set goals you actually want to achieve. The reason for this is because the only way you’ll be able to push through the pain to earn the pleasure is if your desired pleasure is actually worth the pain. If a goal feels uncomfortable and you don’t really want to achieve it, chances are you’ll quit before you succeed. If, however, you want a goal above all else, you’ll go through any amount of uncomfortability to get it.
2. Choose Goals That Force You to Learn
As a part of goal-setting, you also need to ensure that you choose goals that actually force you to learn. This will help you hedge your bets so even if you fail at succeeding your goal, you still win, making the uncomfortability worth it. For example, if your goal is to start your own business, you can hedge your goal through the entrepreneurial learning experiences you’ll gain.
Even if your current startup fails, the knowledge you glean from that failure will help you succeed later. This is a great way to ensure that your uncomfortability is always a net positive.
3. Create an Action Plan and Set a Routine
Once you’ve set goals that’ll force you to learn and that you actually want, the next step to getting comfortable with uncomfortability is to create an action plan and a daily routine. The thinking here is that one of the major culprits of uncomfortability is fear or anxiety about the future. You’re not sure if you can achieve your goal, not sure if the pain is worth it, and it makes it harder to go all in and try your best to get what you want.
To circumvent this problem, translate your goals into an annual, quarterly, weekly, and daily action plan. Start with your end-goal, what would you need to do this year to achieve it? Then work your way back, what would you need to do this quarter, so that 3 quarters later you achieve your goal? What would you need to do every week and every day to achieve your quarterly goal? Setting up your plan of attack in this way helps you systematize your goal achievement and gives you the chance to stop worrying.
4. Measure the Outcome of Your Goals
If you want to get comfortable being uncomfortable you’ll want to consistently measure the progress towards your goals and the outcome of those goals. The worst part about being uncomfortable is the knowledge that it might not be worth it. It might all be for naught. To avoid this, measure the results of your action plan and routine monthly and quarterly. See what’s working and see what isn’t. Adjust accordingly. This will help ensure that the juice is worth the squeeze and reduce your feeling of uncomfortability.
5. Plan for Periods of Sprints and Rest
Once you’ve actually started implementing your action plan, make sure that you plan for periods of sprints and rest. This is because it’s impossible to push towards goal achievement 24/7, 100% of your life. You’ll get burnt out, the feeling of uncomfortability overwhelming you. Instead, if you’re looking to get comfortable being uncomfortable, plan for short sprints where you’re hell-bent on attacking your to-do list, and periods of rest where you focus on self-nourishment and relaxation. If you do it right, you can do
If you do it right, you can do three-quarters of work followed by one quarter of rest, one month on and one month off, and any other number of combinations. As long as you plan accordingly using your action plan and routine, taking time off isn’t only good for your soul, it’ll actually help you overcome uncomfortability and achieve your higher-level goals.
Being Uncomfortable is Part of Goal Achievement
If you want something, you have to go through some level of uncomfortability to get it. It’s cliche to say, but anything worth having is going to be hard to get. If it was easy it wouldn’t be worth it in the first place. So, by definition, a goal is one that’s going to be a challenge to achieve. And born from that challenge is the uncomfortability everyone tries to avoid, except it’s unavoidable if you want something worth having.
For example, if you’ve ever set the goal of buying a house, you know that it’s like a second full-time job. It takes years to save enough money and upwards of months just to find a place worth bidding on. And once you find one, you have to negotiate through your realtor, compete with other buyers, work with your lender, and fill out reams of paperwork before the house is even yours.
And if you’ve ever purchased a rental property, you know that after all that, your work has just begun. From there, you’ll have to post ads on Craigslist and Zillow, be around to show the property, vet the potential renters, and deal with any city ordinances prior to signing a lease. And all while thinking about it constantly.
I think it’s safe to say that this is the definition of uncomfortability. You might even be wondering why someone would even go through the trouble if their reward is a consistent headache. But of course, the potential reward (i.e. rental income and asset price appreciation) is great and it often outweighs the potential downsides. In fact, if you do it right, the short-term uncomfortability results in a better life long-term.
Example of Uncomfortability as a Component of Goal Achievement
I just invested in my first out-of-state rental property in Austin, Texas. And let me tell you, dealing with all of the above while not even being in the state is a headache. It’s maximum uncomfortability, as far as being uncomfortable goes. However, I bought the rental because I want to build home equity while I travel. I knew that if I could only get a long-term rental property, I could live wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and still pay down an asset even if I was only paying rent.
So even though I’m currently in the middle my rental headache, I know that if I can find a renter and make it out to the other side, my life is better off for it. Essentially, if I can push through the short-term feeling of uncomfortability, my reward is a lifestyle of long-term happiness and satisfaction. So, even if you have to go through 4 months – or more – of uncomfortability to reach your goal, wouldn’t it be worth the pain?
Conclusion – Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
Overall, being uncomfortable is a part of life. If you want anything worth getting you’ll have to go through some level of uncomfortability to get there. However, you can reduce your uncomfortability if you follow the 5 steps needed to get comfortable being uncomfortable. The result is a relaxed life filled with everything you’ve ever wanted.
Evan Tarver is an author, nonfiction writer and editor, screenwriter, and small business owner with a background in finance and technology. Overall, the content he creates is meant to shift the way people think and encourage them to act. Some ideas explore the social environment on the macro level, some ideas explore the transformative power of personal growth on the micro-level, while most fall somewhere in between.