Comfort zone challenge woman reflecting

Comfort Zone Challenge: New Year's Resolutions Reimagined

I've deliberately kept quiet over the past few weeks, although New Year is the busiest time of the year for the health and fitness industry and most people in my industry are jumping on the band wagon, I try to avoid all of the New year, New You noise!

The reality is that around 80% of people will give up on their New Year's resolutions at some point this year, and sadly, the majority of those have already made that call by now!

Why does this happen? What changes in a few short weeks that means your big health and fitness goals for the year ahead are so easily swept aside?

Often it comes down to the goals either being too big, not specific enough or simply too difficult. We often set goals to achieve things that we've never done. The reality of running a marathon when you haven't jogged more than five kilometres will hit you hard. Completely giving up alcohol when social drinking is a huge part of your life will become incredibly challenging and getting back to the ideal weight that you last hit over ten years ago is going to be a huge challenge.

I see it so often and I never want to be the guy that says I knew you could never do that. My job as a coach is to ensure that you WIN! So first step - don't set yourself up to fail!

It is my belief to succeed in anything you need two things:

A clear and achievable plan

And the willingness to try something new.

That's why I don't want you to set any New Year resolutions, I just want you to be willing to step out of your comfort zone to help you achieve health, wealth, and happiness in 2018!


What Is The Comfort Zone Challenge?

I'm sure you've been there in the past when you had great intentions of making big changes to some area of you life?... I'm fortunate enough to work with some very successful and inspiring people and guess what? They break their resolutions too! It doesn't mean you lack willpower, it's just that most New Year's Resolutions are simply way too overwhelming.

Instead, I encourage my clients to take the comfort zone challenge. Look at one or two aspects of your life and aim to step just slightly out of your comfort zone. As the saying goes, The sooner you step out of your comfort zone, the sooner you realise it wasn't all that comfortable!

With small changes that challenge you out of your old habits, I guarantee you'll find success in your long-term goals, too.

Fitness Habits That Actually Stick

As a coach, most of my job is motivation. You would think a great workout programme matters more. The truth is, even an average quality programme will get results if you are working with a highly motivated client, but it doesn't work the other way round.

So here is what I have learned from over a decade of working with busy, not overly athletic (but still awesomely motivated) people:

You have to make the comfort zone challenge stick. 

Stop pushing your body, and you will stop seeing results. A fitness journey is never really over, you have to constantly strive for more. Sounds daunting? It doesn't have to be.

No matter where you are right now, here are five simple, actionable challenges to push you out of the comfort zone:

  • Don't stop when it gets hard! As Mohammed Ali famously said "I only start counting reps when it starts hurting because they're the only ones that count."
  • Sign up for a fitness event. A hiking holiday. Yoga in the park. It doesn't matter. Just try something new.
  • Create a kickass fitness playlist. Music that gets you excited to get moving.
  • Do 5 minutes of exercise and drink a pint of water as soon as you rise. It's hard to have a bad morning when you start it so well!
  • Get a workout partner. It doesn't matter if it's a friend, your partner, or even a pet (a puppy will do an amazing job of getting you up and running around the park every morning), just encourage each other to keep going.

Nutrition: Because Abs Are Made In The Kitchen

Healthy comfort zone challenge food

I've said it many times before but you simply can't out-train a bad diet.

You don't have to go from burger and fries every night to raw vegan or paleo because I guarantee you will fail  but how about  adding 'stop doing fad diets' to your comfort zone challenge?

Aim for moderation, instead of extremes. Commit to making at least two or three nutritious homemade meals every week. Or (I might be biased here), try my one-month healthy meal plan. It is straightforward, easy to follow, and it will give you a kick in the right direction (we all need that in the beginning of the new year, right?).

If you are just too busy for both, and need someone to take care of this all for you then why not start training your taste buds to love healthy food through a meal delivery service. I have been trying out the Mindful Chef meals recently and I recommend them to clients all the time. They bring you delicious, restaurant-quality meals and they have options for all dietary restrictions you might have.

Recovery: That Is When Change Happens

Fit woman sitting

Muscles don't grow at the gym, this happens while you sleep! If you ignore recovery time altogether then you stress out your system and end up feeling and looking worse than before. Most people don't even think about recovery when setting their health goals. More is better right? WRONG!

Your first comfort zone challenge in this aspect is to actively think about recovery.

I won't be the first to tell you this but meditation will help a lot in this. And I am not asking you to spend an hour in complete silence every day. You can start by a couple of minutes every night. Meditation silences your busy mind and it helps immensely with focus.

For beginners, I definitely recommend you take a meditation course to build a strong and consistent practice. My personal favourite is the Live and Dare Meditation course. It is perfect for complete beginners, as well as those who have tried meditation before but it never really stuck. In five weeks, you will develop the right technique and build the habit to make meditation work for you.

The Comfort Zone Challenge: Beyond Health

Celebrate ditching your New Years resolutions! You didn't REALLY want to pursue them anyway!

Just get comfortable with being uncomfortable as much as you can and see what exciting improvements come your way in 2018.

Let me know how you get on...