Frank Murphy probes deep into what he calls the Uoy of leaving the comfort zone’ and why he’s happiest doing sit ups.
The First Step – Decide The End Result Today The initial turbulence experienced in leaving any of our comfort zones is an expected norm. Training should begin with small increments of self-imposed commitment to regular classes of at least twice a week for a period of twelve months. If you really desire to change a part of your life that will reap rewards from martial arts this is the minimum, anything else will simply not bring rewards. That is it. Twice weekly and at least one year of serious commitment. Once you make a serious decision, once you are no longer willing to put up with the same old results, only then are you ready to do something about it.
It is in such a committed decision that you take your first step. But in taking that first step you stand more chance of success if your friends, training partners and mentors support your every effort with praise and encouragement along the way. In turn you reciprocate with positive comments and inspire your fellow martial artists to keep going and push for gradual improvement. A positive remark on how good a fellow martial artist is doing works wonders for confidence. An example would be to comment on how regular their attendance is or how they are in great shape or how they appear more confident or appear to be losing weight.
All these early positive remarks are the oxygen that makes confidence flourish in the initial stages of taking that first step to a new improved and more resourceful you. After one year of training, you become armed with a formidable weapon, a habit. Once this conditioned habit of regular training is moulded into a person’s life confidence soars and you eagerly leave the comfort zone, certain in the belief that victory over your old habits is now a reality. That vital first year of conditioning body and mind is so very important, but so often taken for granted. Remember you must first decide that you are going to keep the promise to yourself of getting into top condition and your best resourceful state. Only then are you ready for the next step, the follow through.
Following Through On Our Decisions Keep a vivid picture of yourself in 82 Martial Arts Illustrated four weeks time, four months time or four years time. Condition your thinking into a level of certainty in your body and mind of who you will become compared to where you are now. Many times you hear martial artists deciding on a certain course of action only they fail to follow through. Before you learn how to follow through let me explain why many lose focus and k never follow through with a great idea or a life enhancing decision.
Obstacles In The Pathway Of The Weak Become Stepping Stones In The Pathway Of The Strong You will encounter setbacks. Some fo these setbacks are within your control, some are not. For example, you decide to go martial arts training and it’s raining and cold outside. Inside the TV looks inviting and there is a good football match on. You cannot control the weather. It is a setback not of your making, but you can control the amount of TV you watch. Life will throw setbacks your way, but you should be clever enough to separate what is within your control and what is outside your control. These little setbacks make most people lose sight of the changing decision they made in the first place. We grow more if we are influenced by our decisions rather than by our conditions. The gravitational pull of comfort sets most people back and the big life changing decision becomes like all the other decisions, discarded.
Decisions that end up forever consigned to the ‘I wish I Arranging with fellow coulda’ or ‘I wish I shoulda’ decision wilderness.
Complacency Is A Recipe For Disaster When this happens, of course, complacency gets into your routine and your initial spurt of commitment and decision making, if not nurtured with positive environments and positive people around you, returns to produce the same results as before. We all know only too well the negative reception we sometimes get when we return to the club after missing a few classes. Hello, stranger, haven’t seen you in ages, you’ve missed a lot. We did lots of sparring when you were missing. That is definitely not what I would encourage anyone to remark to another student. How about saying, Great to see you back again, we really missed you. So all the excitement of the initial decision, all the New Year’s resolutions and all the promises made as you celebrate one new year after another, in the vast majority of cases never get followed up. Why? Simply because there wasn’t enough of the following.
How To Follow Through On Your Decisions Get the setting right.
One of the best ways to exit the comfort zone is to break your patterns. If you feel tired after a day’s work and it’s a challenge to get to training, set up a system where you make that vital decision easier. Instead, keep saying, I look forward to training after work, it refreshes me.
Powerful personal affirmations work, believe me. Try this next time you do sit ups, count about thirty crunches and then continue, but instead of counting, affirm loudly, I love doing sit ups or Sit ups are great.
Get the setting right by having your training kit and uniform all clean, pressed and ready, like a little ritual to put yourself in an uplifting frame of mind. Before I go for a run, I leave my trainers and tracksuit nearby incase I need to go next morning. If that setting required me to go looking for the trainers or the suit, then any excuse and I don’t follow through. So break and interrrupt your patterns of procrastination to get leverage for leaving the comfort zone.
Make Enough Positive Remarks Sorry to repeat this but we humans thrive on recognition. Babies cry for it and soldiers die for it. In every martial arts school there should be enough pats on the back for every small improvement, and don’t mean wait until they pass a belt test. Reward effort over technique, when you struggle to do thirty sit ups with a mild headache, or when your attendance is regular, congratulate yourself, even if no one else does. Give positive encouragement to your fellow students and you will make them feel good about themselves and in turn help yourself.
Strongly Visualise The Outcome Regularly Having a vivid picture of the end result uppermost in your mind, but only for some of the time is only half way there. To get a permanent result you must hold regular positive thoughts of your desired outcome until you get a permanent result. Visualisation is like any habit or technique, in that the more you practice, the better you get. You become certain. You could say you practice certainty. Pick a down time in your day when you can focus for a few concentrated minutes on your desired outcome.