This week I would like to begin with a quote from a book titled “personal best” by George Sheehan. In his book he says “It is more comfortable not to try hard. But life is, or should be a struggle: Comfort should make us uncomfortable; contentment should make us discontented”. Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls of all ages: I now ask you, are you comfortable with being uncomfortable?

While I was in high school and college I had my share of superstitions before various sporting events. One of my biggest things, that I couldn’t control, or at least not very well was my nerves before a particular game. I could have been the favorite in a particular event or as a team if we knew were rated higher going in. Either way it didn’t matter. For some reason or another I would get nervous 9 times out of 10. The good thing was that the more nervous I was, the better I played. On the rare occasions when I was especially focused and not feeling uneasy is when things usually went down the tube. I would actually be nervous because I didn’t get nervous (if that makes any sense), but by that point it was too late and the poor playing would soon commence.

So what is the deal with being uncomfortable? Isn’t it considered a good thing if you are focused, blocking out all distractions, thus making you feel more content with everything going on around you? In my opinion being focused and being content are totally separate things. Take a sporting event for example. Before the game the players try to get as focused as they can on the task set before them. Now during the game you can often see the coach try to get his players re-focused and bring them back to where they should be. Time and time again we see teams that build a huge lead only to later blow it and allow the other team to win. There are many factors to why this happens, but it isn't uncommon to see the team winning become content with the lead they have and their performance up to that point. What they fail to realize is that the game isn’t over until the lady sings, or the buzzer sounds, whichever comes first.

The same goes with our exercise program. Once we start becoming content with where we are at is when things can start going sideways. There will come a point when we will finally reached our goals that have been nagging us for years. Once that goal is reached we have 2 options. Stay comfortable or push ourselves a little bit more.

The moment we become very comfortable with our surrounding is when we easily begin to lose focus. That being said, the next time you feel content is when you may want to re-evaluate things. Remember to enjoy what you do, but to not get too relaxed. The more we are relaxed, the harder it is to push ourselves to the next level.

Aaron Fabel, B.A in Exercise Science and Wellness, is the CEO at the Oahe Family YMCA. He can be reached by email at ajfabel@oaheymca.org

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