These #STRONG2014 athletes have different goals but when it comes to why they chose these 2014 goals, they have one thing in common.
Each of these amazing #STRONG2014 athletes wrote “I want to push myself” in their reasons for making their goals.
What is the need we have as athletes and humans to push ourselves? The article “The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone” explains why it is so good for us to push ourselves.
The idea of the comfort zone goes back to a classic experiment in psychology. Back in 1908, psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson explained that a state of relative comfort created a steady level of performance In order to maximize performance, however, we need a state of relative anxiety—a space where our stress levels are slightly higher than normal. This space is called “Optimal Anxiety,” and it’s just outside our comfort zone.
What can we do to push ourselves enough to get the results we want? Here are some ways to break out of your comfort zone:
Do everyday things differently. Take a different route to work. Try a new restaurant without checking Yelp first. Go vegetarian for a week, or a month. Whether the change you make is large or small, make a change in the way you do things on a day-to-day basis. Look for the perspective that comes from any change, even if it’s negative. Don’t be put off if things don’t work out the way you planned.
Take your time making decisions. Sometimes slowing down is all it takes to make you uncomfortable—especially if speed and quick thinking are prized in your work or personal life. Slow down, observe what’s going on, take your time to interpret what you see, and then intervene. Sometimes just defending your right to make an educated decision can push you out of your comfort zone. Think, don’t just react.
Trust yourself and make snap decisions. We’re contradicting ourselves, but there’s a good reason. Just as there are people who thrive on snap decisions, others are more comfortable weighing all of the possible options several times, over and over again. Sometimes making a snap call is in order, just to get things moving. Doing so can help you kickstart your personal projects and teach you to trust your judgement. It’ll also show you there’s fallout to quick decisions as well as slow ones.
Do it in small steps. It takes a lot of courage to break out of your comfort zone. You get the same benefits whether you go in with both feet as you do if you start slow, so don’t be afraid to start slow. If you’re socially anxious, don’t assume you have to muster the courage to ask your crush on a date right away, just say hello to them and see where you can go from there. Identify your fears, and then face them step by step.
Two important points to remember:
1) Pushing too hard can actually cause a negative result, and reinforce the idea that challenging yourself is a bad idea.
2) You can’t live outside of your comfort zone all the time. You need to come back from time to time to process your experiences. The last thing you want is for the new and interesting to quickly become commonplace and boring.
Mark, Ashley, Jake, Mindy, and Angie, we’re cheering for you as you push yourselves and achieve your #STRONG2014 goals!
Comment and share how you’re pushing yourself and share some encouraging words for our #STRONG2014 athletes!