November 04, 2013

Comfort Zones, November Goals, and "My Yoga Online" Review

(Logo by Crispin Lefay)


We all know, because it's gospel in the self improvement world, that we're supposed to keep pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones as often as we possibly can.  Right?

Well, I have some thoughts about that. Shocking thoughts! Be forewarned.

Plus we've got a review of the My Yoga Online subscription I've been enjoying, and a giveaway winner to announce from last month.  And I can't wait to read what everyone is up to as the holiday season looms menacingly approaches!



Yet before I get to any of that I need to apologize yet again for not even replying to most of the last couple of posts comments, and neglecting to do much blog visiting while I was gone.  As to this most recent reason why this blog sucks, I blame travel to NYC, taking (and passing! yay!) the ACE health coach certification exam, and internet shenanigans at the "Dream" Hotel.  This prevented me from commenting via laptop and restricted me to thumb typing on my droid--which, speaking of comfort zones--is well outside of mine.  I'm old school and have short stubby fat fingers and little patience for minuscule keyboards.

On the plus side, the hotel did have a few interesting characters hanging out in the lobby.


I would have preferred two-way internet, but whatever.

But since this is a monthly Goals Post, in which commenting and replying to others is highly cherished, I WILL be replying to all (noncommercial) comment threads... yet, again it might take me a day or two. Sorry! Life continues to conspire to make blogging difficult, as we are taking off today for our annual San Diego migration, with a 5 day stopover in, um, Frisco Texas. Stay tuned. I believe Frisco might offer fewer distractions from blogging than New York City. Just a hunch.

Anyway so back to the matter at hand: comfort zones. And here's my shocking advice:

Go Ahead and Stay Happily in Your Comfort Zone Whenever The Hell You Can Get Away With It!


This is not what most health bloggers would say.  In fact all over the web, you see inspirational messages like:




Whatever.  I say screw that nonsense.

I mean sure, if you're one of those people whose comfort zone includes leaping into uncomfortable situations, then knock yourself out and go right ahead.

Or even if you're "normal" and have been taught to keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and you always feel really glad you did afterwards, even if you were kinda miserable while doing it... well, if that works for you, that's great too.

However, if you, like me, are part of the silent segment of society that likes to hang out in peaceful pleasant non-stressful comfort whenever possible, I say: it's time we stop apologizing for this! So I hereby pronounce:

It's OK to Embrace Your Comfort Zone!

How about we stop pretending to be like the Uncomfort-lovers who can't help pushing themselves into painful and/or terrifying situations out of the delusion that pain and terror are virtuous states? What if we accept and celebrate who we are? Let's freely acknowledge what we really like in life: for things to be fun and easy, not hard and scary.

(That last word is "naps," not "maps."
 I am actually quite hopeless at reading maps).

But wait, you may be saying... Isn't this cheating? Isn't it weak and wrong to stay in your comfort zone?

I say: heck no it isn't!

I don't believe there is anything morally wrong about being comfortable, or inherently virtuous about being uncomfortable.  To prefer ease to distress is a legitimate, and in my mind, completely logical, lifestyle choice.  At least as long as one takes ownership of one's choices and the consequences thereof.  Comfort-seekers shouldn't get all grumpy about not achieving the same objective results at the same velocity as those folks who are constantly catapulting themselves out into their Discomfort zones.


Wallendas: not so big on comfort zones.

But does this mean we comfort-seekers will never grow, learn, or experience new exciting things in life like the moth-to-flame discomfort seekers?

Hell no!  That would eliminate the "fun" part from "fun and easy" wouldn't it?

The trick is, in my mind, learning to expand your comfort zone gradually from inside, so it gets ever bigger and more entertaining and adventurous. Yet avoiding, wherever practicable, big scary leaps outside that leave you shaking and traumatized and vowing never ever ever to wander far from the familiar again.

Here's where the post could get really long. I could offer many examples of personal growth and achievement that proceeded slowly and comfortably and yet ended up at places that might have seemed unimaginable at the start.

But you can imagine, and probably have witnessed or experienced, many of these yourself.

Instead, here are a few notes of caution should you chose to ignore all that pro-discomfort nagging and decide to Embrace and Optimize Your Comfort Zone:

Beware of Comfort Zone Shrinkage

The dynamic properties of comfort zones can lead to expansion, but also to contraction. Especially, for many of us, as we age. Situations that used to seem reasonably familiar and invigorating can start to seem more challenging, and eventually slip into the Discomfort Zone if we start defining comfort ever more narrowly.  Be alert to subtle signs of receding comfort! Best to avoid suddenly finding yourself trapped in a cramped dingy comfort zone that smells like microwaved frozen dinners and dirty laundry and mildew, and hardly allows any sparkly light or music or excitement or adventure anymore.

Make Your Comfort-Driven Choices Conscious

Over time, our priorities can shift.  So sure, it may be that you want to choose to widen your zone in some areas and accept some shrinkage in others.  But there can be a mindlessness about this process that doesn't serve our real need for comfort.  Beware of unconsciously attending more to what other people think is important or unimportant and letting your own precious sense of what is fun and meaningful dwindle.

Comfort Doesn't Mean Inactivity

[photo: brkinhrt2]

It is uncomfortable to have serious health problems, or find you've somehow lost the nerve to ever say "no" to anyone, or to be trapped in a job with an asshole boss or in a marriage with an abusive partner or to get stuck living in a location you hate. In order to keep your comfort zone comfortable, you may have to actively Do Things while they are still within your zone even if they are not right smack in the center of it.

Sometimes the choice is not between Comfortable Inaction and Uncomfortable Action. Instead it may be between a "within comfort zone but challenging" step now, versus a "horribly uncomfortable out of zone" experience later.

For example, if someone were to ask you to choose to voluntarily sign up for a stroke or a heart attack, this would obviously seem like a Big Uncomfortable Leap out of your zone. Ouch, excruciating pain! And financial devastation! And hospitals and bedpans and crappy food and icky medical procedures and getting your vitals taken at 3am! Or, well, sudden death. That's an option too.

Most people would actually find a 30 minute daily walk and a few more healthy home cooked meals to be quite a bit more comfortable than the scenario above.  Especially if they'd start with even 5 minutes of walking a few times a week and add one additional serving of veggies and gradually work up to greater, more impressive feats later as lifestyle change got even more comfortable. But sadly, these choices are not often offered with full disclosure in a timely manner. You may be signing up for that stroke or heart attack right this minute without even realizing it!  So you may need to be proactive and strategic about how to keep your comfort zone truly comfortable.

So What Does Online Yoga Have to Do With Comfort Zones?


I found the My Online Yoga classes to be an excellent way to enlarge my exercise comfort zone to new activities, while staying happily well inside it!

There are all kinds of classes and they add new ones all the time.  In addition to yoga, there is meditation, pilates, and other related stuff.  You can explore and find particular styles or instructors you like, and even try out things that you suspect might be WAY out of your comfort zone if you had to actually show up for a class and then decide whether to make a spectacle of yourself by leaving after three minutes if you are way over your head. In the privacy of your own home, you can be wildly experimental with no humiliating social repercussion.

Because the genius of an online class is: you can see them, but they can't see you!  You can make them go back over and over the same pose if you're struggling, you can skip things that don't appeal, you can make everyone stop what they're doing while you put another load of laundry in... just try that at your local studio and see how far you get.

If you have a laptop and put it on a box or something and go full screen, it really is kinda like having your own private class, except no one can point out that your form sucks.  This could be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your desire for anonymity vs feedback. (I prefer, at this early stage, NOT to be told all the things I am doing wrong. And yes, I am a big fat baby.)

Plus, bonus: suddenly there's an ocean in your crappy basement!

Also, unlike an IRL class, you can take your yoga class with you when you travel.  Most yoga instructors, while flexible enough, might still object to being folded into a carry-on bag.

Full disclosure: there are other online yoga class websites too; I didn't compare them, as this one was comped and getting free stuff is one of my favorite things about health blogging.  But I can honestly say I was totally impressed by the instructors and classes I happened to try, and the price per month seemed quite reasonable, especially considering how much real-life classes tend to cost.

So the winner of last month's giveaway is:

Heather Lee!

But if you didn't win, and are also looking for fun easy ways to do new things from firmly within your comfort zone, you may want to check the My Yoga Online site and see what you think.

And yep, you may have noticed that I have spared you many more murky camera-phone NYC pictures that I was going to work into this theme. But be assured I did indeed take them and you will no doubt be subjected to them later, lucky readers!

So, what have you guys been up to lately and what are you hoping happens going forward? Are you a comfort-seeker or an embracer of all things uncomfortable?

68 comments:

  1. So yeah, for this month my goals are all, as usual, firmly in my comfort zone. In fact, it's a bit back to basics and foundational--a renewed focus on physical and mental health (some exercise experimentation, meditation stuff, some books to read). Plus some overdue catch-up work on filing, managing and finding workout tunes (my mp3 player and software are an incompatible disaster) and sorting through old clothes and belongings and getting rid of stuff and other random projects even more tedious that I will spare you the details of.

    And meanwhile... well, I'd like to take a step back and look at some long-range planning regarding blog/books/coaching/workshops etc and try to figure out my next move. Now that I've got the certificate thing out of the way, I don't want to leap enthusiastically but mindlessly to the next thing without getting a better sense of how it's all going to work together and where I want to be in a few years (when the Lobster will be retired for good and rarin' for unencumbered adventures). I'd like to be a bit more strategic about it all, if that makes any sense.

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    1. Sounds like you have a lot to keep you busy, Crabby. Stepping back and looking forward makes complete sense to me. Can't wait to see the NYC pics!

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    2. I love those times when something big ends and you really get to feel pleasure the little tasks of life and the chance to do some long-term thinking.

      What I hope you can find is an excellent marketing advisor. You have so much good advice and you are so funny, and what I maybe most appreciate is how thoughtfully you listen to (read) and respond to comments. I bet you're an amazing life coach, and I'd sign up in a minute if (a) I hadn't been therapied up the wazoo already and (b) I were remotely capable of intentionally changing myself. What I would love to see you do is some kind of group thing online, a little like you're doing here with these goal posts, but more general life-coachy stuff, instead of just fitness related, but it's so hard to get that kind of thing started -- people need to know how good you are before they sign up. I bet many of your readers would pay for an online group thing, even if they weren't comfortable or able to afford a one-on-one coaching series. But you'd need more people than that, which is where a marketer comes in. All of this is just back seat driving, of course. I'm sure you can plot out your own life beautifully without my kibitzing.

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    3. Trabb's Boy, this is SO helpful!!!

      This is exactly the sort of thing I've been thinking about, but it seems a little daunting and part of the problem is my lack of certainty that enough folks would find it appealing, given all the on-line competition for stuff like that. So hearing the same sort of idea come up independently from someone smart and thoughtful like you who sees it as something that might be useful (at least for others) is a very encouraging data point!

      Given my strengths and limitations (including, frankly, motivational) I'm pondering some sort of partnership venture, but I am SO far from having worked out the whats, who's, when's and how's...

      Thanks again for the input!

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  2. Nice to see another take on the un-comfort zone! With all the sayings around, there is always one to fit whatever dysfunction of normal function we choose to do.

    Look at your life honestly, and you will see where you need comfort and where you need some change.

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    1. Somehow I suspected you might not be totally on board with the "stay in your comfort zone" advice Dr. J! :)

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  3. Great post Crabby!

    I believe in finding balance between comfort and discomfort. We need comfort to relax and enjoy; we need discomfort to grow. When there is too much comfort we end up bored. When there is too much discomfort we end up stressed.

    I love adding some discomfort to my life. It's exciting. But I make sure to do it 1 thing at a time, gradually, so I don't end up overwhelmed!

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    1. Good for you for being able to find excitement in discomfort HSH! And 1 thing at a time sounds like the way to go. Me? Zero uncomfortable things at a time sounds just about ideal.

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  4. Yaaaaaaaay, thank you thank you! I've really enjoyed the limited yoga on my Wii Fit (don't laugh), so this will be very cool to experiment with! I will let you know how it goes. :-)

    And congrats on the certification! I knew you'd nail it. High fives all around!

    Now, as someone extremely fond of the comfort zone, I have to agree with you about watching out for receding zone walls. I'm an extreme homebody, and I've found that the less I have to go out and do things, the less I want to. Adding the gym and cycling into our routine has been good for me in more ways than one because it's helped me slow the hermit conversion process. It is really nice to see someone own their zone, though. Love this post. :-D

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    1. Durr, I forgot to mention my goals for the month! A new challenge will be starting next week, so they'll be related to that. Gonna work on increasing daily calorie burn, increasing my deadlifts, increasing the number of workout hours per week, and writing a new short story. It's gonna be a busy month!

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    2. Oh good, glad you're up for giving the yoga a try! I'm a the airport now but once I get settled I'll get you set up.

      And it's so awesome how you've been rocking your challenges. Can't wait to hear how the new lineup goes, and yay for the short story!

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    3. Congratulations on winning, Heather Lee!

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  5. My trainer just came back from a weekend training camp where it was all push your clients out of their comfort zone. He can go ahead and try that with his other clients but, I have anxiety issues and it just doesn't pay to push me.
    I am on day one of my new lifestyle. I changed my office hours from 9-5 to Noon to 8PM which pushes all my personal time into mornings when I feel the best and have the most energy. Now I don't have to feel bad when I fall off my bus and crawl to my home and into bed. I get to swim during the quietest time of the day and I get to see the sun on occasion. It feels really decadent!! My goal is to add Yoga and Tai Chi to my extended morning workout and to figure out what I can eat for breakfast that won't give me heartburn. Normally I exercise on an empty stomach, but now that isn't possible. So far the hard boiled egg was a no and so was the banana. Going Yogurt next!

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    1. I'm with you Cindy, being pushed outside of my comfort zone just makes me cranky and rebellious; I do far better expanding from within.

      That's great that you managed your schedule to be work-free during the best time of the day! Now if you can just find food that agrees with you... fingers crossed on the yogurt.

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    2. Cranky and rebellious, yes. Beware of pushing me out of my comfort zone, because punching people is well within it.

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  6. Death Ride GrandmaNovember 4, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Yeah, Crabby! I so agree with your thoughts about the comfort zone! I often think that our Puritan heritage makes Americans highly suspicious of anything that brings pleasure, or comfort, or fun. We've gotta get past that.

    We know a guy, really a very nice guy, who probably would disagree, though. Once he and I were trading bicycle effort stories. At the time, I was trying to improve my pace up a local climb. I described to him how, the time I set my personal record, I had reached the top feeling nauseated and shaking like a leaf. I figured I'd get a few sympathetic words...but no. His eyes were blazing. He said, "I love that feeling!"

    So I won't forward this week's blog link to him.

    My goals right now? Well, with all my travel recently the weight I dropped for the Death Ride has mostly crept back. I want to be a pound or two less this time next month. This season, I want to lose a few pounds (5 or so) before April, then practice eating more while I ride, since lack of fuel was my downfall last year. My other (my fun) goal is to search for all the training rides I can put on the calendar for next spring. I know there are some very cool centuries in all sorts of pretty places. I want to find them and sign up. And I want to maintain a slightly higher base this winter by doing a little more climbing than I did over the previous winter. I launched that by climbing Mt Hamilton (the highest we've got in the SF bay area) on November 2. It felt great.

    Of course, that raises the comfort zone question. A few years ago, that climb was most certainly not in my comfort zone. It took some discomfort to put it there. But hey, it was sort of fun discomfort, and it paid me back right away with the satisfaction of having done something I'd never have thought possible. I guess it was just a way of expanding the comfort zone?

    Have a great trip!

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    1. Yikes, your friend LIKES feeling nauseated with effort? Yeah, um, I don't think he'd find much to like about this post!

      I guess it's an interesting question whether "fun discomfort" counts as within or outside of the zone; I kinda think in my own mind, non-scary familiar discomfort like with hard exercise is still within the comfort zone even though it's uncomfortable! So perhaps my theory still needs a little work...

      But by any measures the stuff you do would be WAY outside any "normal" persons comfort zone, and hooray for you for being so awesomely not normal! :)

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    2. I am with Crabby, DRG. The awesome stuff you do does not even register on my comfort-o-meter! You rock!

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  7. Congratulations on passing your test!

    In my weird life, i've found that the time to change is when it becomes uncomfortable not to.

    My goal for this month is to work consistently on my lung capacity. Now that cold is really creeping in, i need to do it.

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    1. Ooh, lung capacity is a great goal and much more sciencey-sounding than most vague fitness quests.

      And "when it becomes uncomfortable not to" sounds like a very sensible time for change!

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    2. "The time to change is when it becomes uncomfortable not to." I don't know why, but I loved this. I feel like I have been in discomfort and turmoil for well over a year now, but you know, it was the time to change and really got myself into this. I will be thinking about that for a long time.

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  8. The older I've gotten, the more content I am to stay in my comfort zone. I'm tired of forcing myself to do things that I don't enjoy and have absolutely zero desire to ever experience!!! Thanks for a great post!!!
    And, Frisco, TX is nice because it's in TEXAS!!!! Actually, they have a minor league baseball team and some pretty good shopping and eating!!!
    Safe travels back to CA!!!
    I'm not setting a goal for November - I already know that there is no way I'm going to focus on anything new this month so I'm just going to be real and not even set a goal!

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    1. Cracks me up Kim, because the stuff you do on a daily basis would be SO far out of most people's comfort zones! If you've managed to get where you are by staying mostly inside yours, you are the best argument ever for my oddball theory!

      And sounds like you don't need a new goal, you got plenty irons in the fire already!

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  9. My comfort zone is fairly weirdly shaped. For instance, I have lived alone for most of my adult life, which seems to be something most people find undesirable, if not uncomfortable, and I've lived comfortably alone about fifty feet from where some friends of mine were held up at gunpoint (which happened before I moved there) and I walked places at night there with no hesitation. Yet I avoid phone calls whenever possible. My gut tenses and my heart rate speeds up whenever I have to make one, even brief harmless appointment-making calls.
    I don't agree that you can't grow without getting outside your comfort zone; mine is full of interesting and challenging things. But as Crabby says, sometimes you have to get outside comfort to avoid greater discomfort: phone calls play a role in job hunting, but being jobless is even more uncomfortable than making phone calls.
    On the goal front, my last month's goal crashed. I did manage to bring up the subject of cutting back to one day a week at my second job, but Things Happened: people quit, people got sick, people had devastating deaths in the family. My goal now is to survive working seven days a week until the end of December. That will be more than two and a half years. Yeah, I'm tired.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    1. Love the idea of a weirdly shaped comfort zone! Especially since it sounds mine is similarly shaped... I too have had a life-long phone phobia, which is ironic given I now have a phone-based life coaching practice, but also an example of incremental small steps adding up.

      That's great that you did the hardest part, bringing up your need to cut back! Know that was a hard step. I'm guessing it will be a continual challenge not to retreat and to keep looking for the way you feel most comfortable setting boundaries and getting to take care of yourself... could this be one of these very situations about having to move away from the center of the zone now in order to avoid being forcibly propelled into the Discomfort zone later?

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    2. Mary Anne, hang in there...working every day for the rest of the year sounds tough. I can only hope it is really enjoyable work. Take care!

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    3. It is really enjoyable work, Kimberly, which is why it's so hard to cut back. Seven days a week is beyond exhausting, though, and I've got to before I collapse. Crabby, I'm already in the Discomfort zone, if being so tired I can't remember what day it is counts.

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    4. Death Ride GrandmaNovember 6, 2013 at 8:29 PM

      Oh, my. I think I'd want to live alone if I happened to be working 7 days a week. Ouch. Sounds like your goal needs to be to take care of yourself so you don't add yourself to the list of problems at your work. I follow a couple of brain tumor web conversations, and the recurring message for caregivers: you can't take care of someone else if you don't take care of you! I don't see why that should not apply in a work situation. Sounds to me like you need to do a little more care of you.

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  10. It's strange how we all view comfort differently. I with you, being in that comfortable zone can get you complacent and not challenge yourself, and pushing yourself to that discomfort area makes you better. The need is for balance.

    A few years ago I met and got to work for a really, really successful individual. She's now running one of the biggest internet sites around. And from her work I noticed that there really is no difference between her comfort and discomfort zone. She said that every since she's been in young she's always put herself in a position to challenge herself and doing so over time became comfortable with that 'discomfort zone'. And you can see it in successful people. They're very cool, calm and collected in difficult and stressful situations and perform their best.

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  11. Wise post, Crabby. I really love your blog.

    Like Cindy, I have anxiety issues. Many years and forms of treatment have not reduced the anxiety so much as allowed me to be okay with it. In other words, I have learned to stop apologizing for staying in my comfort zone, just like you say.

    The way I've always looked at it is that I have a stress budget to spend on outside-the-comfort-zone stuff. Usually I spend it on work, but sometimes on something fun, but stressful, like traveling or bearing children. Once in a while I`ll do something stressful just because it`s the right thing to do, like visit my mother. Generally, though, Team Comfort Zone all the way!

    But there`s emotional comfort and physical comfort. Strength training is what I love, and the whole point there to push yourself to the point of causing little tears in your muscles so they can rebuild themselves bigger and stronger. And boy, oh boy do I love that feeling of doing one more rep when my body is already crying uncle.

    No goals, as usual. They make me uncomfortable. All the best to the rest of you, though!

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    1. Trabb's Boy, I think the notion of a "stress budget" is brilliant! And, well, while some folks seem to be born with unlimited "trust funds," which I didn't mean to be a pun but it kinda is, other of us have to scrape by with fewer resources and use them more wisely. And traveling and bearing children seem both like worthy expenditures.

      But yeah, let's stop apologizing for how we choose to spend our limited stress budgets, just because we don't want to waste stress on pursuits that aren't worthy enough!

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    2. Death Ride GrandmaNovember 6, 2013 at 8:38 PM

      Trabb's Boy, maybe we don't need to think of goals the way, say, football players do. When I read your comment about anxiety, I thought about why I don't feel that. I think it's because I don't really think goal, exactly - no time limits, no external pressure. I've just chosen something I look forward to doing, and I try to figure out how to get there.

      I really like your stress budget idea, too. I only wish more people understood themselves that well. Too many people, when stressed, remind me of a neighbor who, when her 3-year-old was showing a bit of strain, said, "His meter's run out." That image has stayed with me. With kids, it is to be expected, and mom & dad have to help them pull it together. It sounds like you, unlike too many adults, know exactly how much you have left on your meter, and make sure you don't try to fool it into giving you more time without replenishing it.

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  12. Frisco! You'll be right next to my kids in Plano - please wave to them for me! :)

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    1. Sure Shelley, will do...

      Hey, I think they waved back!

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  13. Hi Crabby, I recently expanded my comfort zone big time - I flew non-stop Toronto to Hong Kong - 14.5 hours and 15.5 hours - and I am afraid of flying! So that was outside of my comfort zone, but because I did it my trip to London next year (8 hours) have moved INTO my comfort zone. Yahoo!
    My goals for November are 1. 12 trips to the Y and 2. 9 yoga classes and I will check in to let you know how it is going. Phoebe

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    1. Phoebe, that is SO cool! I'm not a big fan of flying myself (wait, is there a phobia I HAVEN'T had yet?!?) so know how much courage that must have taken, that's awesome!

      And seems really smart to frame your goals in terms of total number of trips to Y and yoga so you can be flexible about how/when it happens, but still know if you're close to your target or wandering away. Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

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    2. Wow, Phoebe! That is so great! I have a fear of flying too, but the death of a family member and a lot of Ativan got me back up in the air. So far I have taken a couple of two hour flights and a couple of three hour flights. Not sure what would get me to four hours. My friends want me to visit them in Scotland...six or seven hours...not sure I can do it. Kudos to you!

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    3. Kimberley! Do it! Get on that plane to Scotland! I did it 2 years ago - was scared silly, and it was fantastic and really started me on the path to addressing my fear of flying. I was afraid of panicking / falling out of the sky in the middle of the ocean - but turned out okay. now that I have 15.5 hours under my belt, the 8 hours back to the UK will be a breeze. Best Wishes!

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  14. Great post, Crabby! Pardon the departure from the usual wise-cracking, sarcastic type response here. But, feeling a bit more serious on this subject currently.

    Last month I managed to miss accomplishing a big goal and get outside my comfort zone at the same time. Missing the big goal was a big disappointment and despite the fact the circumstances were sort of 'extreme'-ish, the bottom line is I still have lots to learn and actually employ what I learn.

    My biggest difficulty when I am doing something to expand the limits of my comfort zone is knowing how far to push that boundary out. What's healthy v. insane? How much discomfort is necessary to achieve an ancillary desire (such as a kind of 'transcendent' state or maybe some braggin' rights) ? I suspect you just don't know until you're in the moment and even then you're pretty much guessing. Considering and experiencing all of this is fairly humbling for me and that, in and of itself is a good thing.

    Then there's the whole acceptance of the good parts of allowing one's self to just be comfortably at ease and enjoy the predictable pleasures that come along with that - and focus less on "achievement". Nothing wrong with really just appreciating life from time to time, yes? ANd maybe THAT is the ultimate achievement.
    Now - back to those push ups :)...............
    Anon

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    1. Ah, anon, you have the most wonderful gift for finding the useful life lessons and turn even frustrating experiences into big WINS, I so admire that. And if you find worth in feeling humbled that's handy too, though I think given the incredibly challenging nature of the feat you took on (I won't pretend ignorance here) there is nothing to feel humbled about!

      One theme that seems to come up a lot recently in athletes I admire who take on mind-boggling long-distance events is that no amount of strength or willpower can make up for some nitty gritty details in terms of nutrition, hydration, etc... whether it's DRG's death ride or Kim's ultra or other examples I've been reading. And that some things are just beyond an athletes control. But the amazing thing about all you guys is you just take it in stride as a learning experience and emerge even stronger.

      And love your thoughts on all this, lots to ponder.

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  15. I love to step outside of my comfort zone as along as it is handy enough for me to scurry back into as needed.

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    1. I think scurrying to safety is highly underrated as a talent leah!

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    2. A fan of scurrying, here!

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  16. Neat...I'm going to have a look into the online yoga. I'm looking for some new milder workouts for the next while and while it's really an out of my comfort zone situation of utterly bizarre proportions for me in my life right now, you need to start somewhere :)

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    1. Good for you geosomin! And I gotta say, as a yogaphobe, the online thing really is the mellowest way to approach it.

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  17. Some parts of my life must remain in the comfort zone and other parts are free to roam...it really depends on the situation. I don't bungee jump or hit the trapeze very often, but I have made a lot of life choices that other people would never consider. Yay me!

    Still meeting my goal of daily meditation. One super cool addition to my meditation is The Boss (my partner) is joining me quite frequently.

    My side goal for the next while is to hang.in.there re: SCHOOL! Seven more months and I am DONE!

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    1. So awesome that you are still on track with the meditation after all this time! And seven more months from now you are gonna be free to get into all kinds of interesting trouble. :)

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    2. Still impressed with your meditation; I know it will help with the seven months.

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  18. Congrats on your ACE certification! I like your take on comfort zones. I'm definitely a comfort seeker. I actually just signed up for a running group this past weekend and that is taking a big leap for me because I'm a super shy, social anxiety-ridden person. Hoping it's not terrifying at the moment.

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    1. Hey thanks Courtney!

      And wow, that's a big brave step but I have the suspicion you'll be glad you made the leap. We comfort-seekers sometimes have to just suck it up and jump in every now and then because some things just don't lend themselves to incremental within-zone approaches... like if you could just send your left leg first, and then more and more of you until it was comfortable to show up to the running group with your whole body including your brain, that would be nice... (and actually, if you can figure out a way to do that, please let me know!)

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    2. I certainly hope so! That's a good theory in getting one body part in at a time. Maybe we could work on a portal of some sort. HA!

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  19. Congrats on the ACE! We all knew you could do that. :)

    Like my twin, QuiltingDoberman said, "I feel like I have been in discomfort and turmoil for well over a year now…" I too feel like this last year has been most unsettling. It must be a quilting thing.

    I am still stuck, and as you saw in my latest blog posting, maybe I am meant to be stuck. VERY slowly I DO feel I am shaping my life to be what I want it to be for as far into the future as I can see.

    Yoga is still a given…it is NOT an option to skip it. ( INO = It's Not an Option) In fact, I have now actually taught two Yoga classes when our regular gal was ill. I've been asked to step in for two days a month to give her a regular break. I actually liked it! This is a volunteer thing and I am not certified. I am tossing around the idea of becoming certified but … just not sure that is the right direction. For now I am just having fun with it all.

    The gym is not working out. My newest goal is to try something a little different again. I am going to add more walking back into the mix too.

    That's all I gots. Hubby is in China for three weeks. (NOT a good thing) and with the daylight savings time ending and his trip and my birthday and Halloween and the holidays around the corner, no wonder I wished my oldest a happy birthday a full day BEFORE the actual date. Le Sigh. I'm taking my blankie and going to bed now. :D

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    1. Love that there are two awesome Cranketeer quilters with so much in common!

      And it's funny (well, strange, not so funny probably from your perspective) that you feel so "stuck" when from an outsiders perspective, it seems like you are always full of new ideas and growth and an expansive perspective. Sorry it feels that way from the inside! But in the meantime you offer great inspiration to others.

      I do think that those slow, plateau, "stuck" like periods often precede weird unpredictable bursts of discovery and growth but it can be damn frustrating waiting for them.

      Blankie sounds like an excellent idea! (And I'm willing to confess this way down in the bottom of a long comment thread that I still have my ORIGINAL baby blanket, also named blankie, which I still keep with me, um, just to keep the chill off on cold evenings...)

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    2. A YEAR long plateau is depressing, but THIS time I am not using that as an excuse to get fat again. :)
      I will figure things out. I've just never been HERE before and don't know what my life is supposed to look like or be like yet. But I will figure it out. Of that, I have little doubt.

      Awwwww, too sweet that you have your Blankie still. Lucky Blankie. (You ever see the movie "Brave Little Toaster"?)

      Thanks for saying that about my perspective. I AM full of it. I mean I do have/try lots of different things, but that is again, because I don't know what or how to live life as a normal sized, healthy person…not totally yet. I like it so far. It is so neat to buy 'off the rack' now! :D

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    3. Love that you are not letting the plateau change your healthier lifestyle no matter how long it goes on. The new plateau is still a great achievement and SO many people out there could only wish to get where you've gotten yourself. But yeah, it's also cool you are constantly looking for ways to tweak and keep things moving in positive directions both physically and emotionally!

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  20. lately Ive been SO SO SO EMBRACING the UNcomfy.
    and Im ready for comfy again.
    I mean OM READY FOR COMFY AGAIN.

    xo

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    1. You are so much braver than I am at the whole uncomfy thing! But yeah, even you go-getters need a break sometimes. Join me in comfy land!

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  21. Let's see...

    Congratulations on passing the exam! I didn't think you would have trouble.

    Safe travels as you head out to San Diego. We are keeping it nice and warm for you here. (I think it's supposed to be near 80 today?)

    I'm intrigued by the My Yoga Online now that I know it has Pilates and meditation as well. I have been considering meditation, but don't really know how to start learning it.

    My next race training plan officially starts on 11/23. So I am focusing myself on slowly getting back into the training brain zone, where it doesn't matter that it's early/dark/whatever, I have things that need accomplishing.

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    1. Thanks OTF! And really appreciate you keeping the sun shining. It was starting to get awfully chilly in ptown when we left.

      Seems so smart the way you plan your races and training so that you get recovery time and can get in the right mindset--very strategic! If I were the racing sort, I'd want to do it that way too. Fortunately, napping doesn't require nearly the same pre-event preparation.

      And hey, someday we gotta do a west coast meetup!

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  22. OMG -LOVE!!!!! I was just thinking about writing something about this but a slightly different take due to a personal friend going thru problems. I used to be all the GET OUT of the comfort zone person but since social media took over my life, I am really tired of people telling others that if they don't do this or at least do it a lot, then they are less than which I disagree with. I like your take on what I always write about for food/exercise - find what works for you. Out of my comfort zone may be different from another person... too many people out there saying you are bad if you do this or that...

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    1. I have to laugh at "since social media took over my life" Jody--I do think over-exposure to all this hyper-motivational almost punitive "push yourself" stuff can be counterproductive. Your take always seems to me encouraging but sensible!

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  23. Yes, I do love to work out at home where no can see me (dying in child's pose, as Dave does the last 5 reps!). I do Dave Smith's body weight exercises at MakeYourBodyWork.com I found his website from this blog, so thanks for keeping me in my comfort zone. It's one thing to fake your way through Zumba, than to show the world you are a level 1 in abdominals or some other exercise.

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    1. That's so cool that you're still using Dave's program! And I'm with you on Zumba... I see the classes and I'm nowhere near coordinated enough to do that in public, maybe Zumday.

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  24. Yep, I'm still doing Dave's program. I try to do 2/week. Today's workout was a killer. "Beast Butt" but I did it! Well most of it! hehehe.

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  25. A bit late to comment on this one.... A lot of change and demands recently for me, so my November goal is to stay right in the middle of my comfort zone, as much as I can. (Does that count as a goal ?). Then if all goes well, I hope to have enough energy in me for December and onwards to actually DO some goals, rather than just thinking about them !

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    1. Fliss, what if you call staying in your comfort zone "stress management?" Same thing, but then it sounds even more like a "real" goal. And can't wait to see what you get up to for December!

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  26. Just found your blog and I have to say i'm soo glad i did. I loved this post and your writing style is sooo refreshing. I can so relate to being "part of the silent segment of society that likes to hang out in peaceful pleasant non-stressful comfort whenever possible". Great stuff and just what I needed.

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