4 Easy Steps for Dealing with Discomfort

I think everyone would agree that Navy Seals epitomize peak performance.  When former Navy SEAL, Don Shipley, was asked the one key ingredient necessary for graduating from BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition/Seal) training he said, “get comfortable being uncomfortable”. In other words, dealing with discomfort was the only way a trainee could become a Navy Seal.   

Dealing with discomfort is an ability shared by all peak performers. It’s something that rest of the masses don’t possess. All high achievers can get themselves to do the things that others don’t want to do so they can get done what needs to be done to accomplish the things they want to achieve.

Interestingly, given a choice, peak performers don’t really want to do them either. But when push comes to shove, they find a way to do it anyway.

Unsuccessful people can’t seem to do this nearly as well. 

The Facts Around Discomfort

What happens when people get uncomfortable? They’ll often turn to non-productive behaviors that pull them back into the comfort zone. The problem with the comfort zone is it keeps you from accomplishing the great thing you have inside you.

The fact is most people would rather put up with the discontent they have about a negative situation than the discomfort caused by making a change. This is even if the discomfort would result in better health, a better job or a better relationship.

People simply just don’t want to tolerate any level of discomfort. Even if they know it’s only temporary.

Why People Keep Unhealthy Habits

A prime example of not dealing with discomfort is getting into shape. People who have unhealthy habits understand that they could be healthier if they would adopt of few new behaviors. These are activities like healthy eating and exercising.

The problem isn’t that they don’t know what to do. You can find information about improving your health everywhere. In fact, if you want some great information on creating healthy habits you can read “7 Steps for Developing a Healthy Weight Management Plan”. 

No, the real problem with not changing is not being able to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Unhealthy people simply don’t want to get out of their comfort zone.

Healthy eating is uncomfortable. Exercise can result in short term physical pain.

These people would rather put up with their bad present situation than endure the temporary discomfort changing would cause them.

Dealing with Discomfort – The Superpower of All Peak Performers 

How would you like to join the select group of people who seem to always perform at a high level?

You can!

Here are a few easy to follow guidelines for dealing with discomfort. These five steps will help you move out of your comfort zone while dealing with discomfort in a easy, systemic way.

1)  Do something easy, but impactful.

When I say easy, I mean easy. Go for a walk around the block. Sit down and meditate for five minutes. Read a book for three minutes right before you go to bed. Eat one “healthy” meal a day.

Here’s what’s key. Do something that isn’t too challenging but will have an immediate positive impact on your life.
2) Continue doing the behavior until you feel uncomfortable.

Now that you’ve begun the habit of doing the behavior, keep going until you begin to feel uncomfortable.

Walk a mile.

Mediate for 15 minutes.

Read for 20 minutes.

Only allow yourself to eat one unhealthy meal a day.

The discomfort you’ll experience might take the form of mildly sore muscles, irritation, annoyance, boredom, or a number of other negative feelings.
Honestly evaluate your discomfort.

Now that you’ve made yourself uncomfortable, evaluate how you feel. Notice the activity’s effects on your mind and/or body.

Ona scale of 1 to 10 what is its intensity?

Allow yourself to notice the physical feeling. Does it change after you pay attention to it for a while?
4) Relax and smile.

Now that you’ve evaluated your discomfort, allow your body to relax. Now, smile and continue.

When you want to quit, repeat this process again. When the urge to quit happens for a third time, allow yourself to stop.

This is a Powerful Method for Dealing with Discomfort!

The reason this is so powerful is you’re breaking the habit of quitting the first time you feel like stopping. You’re teaching yourself that you can continue, no matter what the discomfort happens to be.  
The best thing?

This skill will grow. Just keep practicing.
Building Mental Muscles for Dealing with Discomfort  

To build your mental muscles for dealing with discomfort, you can choose a more challenging activity or increase the duration of your current activity. With a little practice, you’ll soon be able to suffer through almost anything with a smile on your face.
Like so many worthwhile things in life, dealing with discomfort is simple, but not necessarily easy.

But think about what an incredibly valuable skill it is to have. I can guarantee you that it’s worth all the discomfort it takes you to develop it.

Can you think of another skill that could be more valuable to have at your command?

Applications for Dealing with Discomfort  

There are many everyday applications for this skill:


Sticking to a diet is dependent on your ability to deal with discomfort, both physical and psychological. This process will help you maintain the type of eating that will allow you to reach your goals.

Overcoming the momentary discomfort that comes with exercise is a big part of developing an exercise habit. And as you develop the exercise habit, you’ll soon have the type of energy you need to accomplish other important goals in your life.

When you take an honest look at procrastination you can see that it is all about avoiding discomfort. Interestingly, if you don’t use this process, you will continue to procrastinate until the pain of not doing what you know needs to be done becomes greater than the pain of doing it.

So, what are you waiting for?

It’s not always easy to sit down and practice the saxophone, learn statistics, or work on your Chinese language skills. This process will help you get and stay motivated to complete the work necessary to acquire these kinds of new skills.

Chores are great way to practice dealing with discomfort. They need to be done, they’re fairly easy to do and they’re usually not too painful.

Of course, the applications are endless. All of your current issues could be resolved more easily if you learned to deal with the discomfort of implementing the solutions you know would solve them.

Why Not Try Using This Process for Dealing with Discomfort Today?

You know what needs to be done and the only way you’re going to do what needs to be done is to deal with the discomfort that’s in your way. If you want to be more successful, you got to start doing the things you know you should be doing.

Why aren’t you doing them right now?

It’s because of the uncomfortable feeling you get at the mere thought of doing them. You can use this process for dealing with discomfort to change that feeling beginning today.

By building your ability to overcome discomfort you will be able to reach greater heights of success.

It’s the most valuable skill you can ever have.

Start using it today.

2 thoughts on “4 Easy Steps for Dealing with Discomfort”

  1. Loved this article and the truths are evident. I have started with my diet and physical exercise, and now am going to use these methods to adjust to a smaller budget and less lavish lifestyle. Thanks for the great advice

    1. You’re welcome Sherree! I hope you are wildly successful with your new healthy living plan! Happy New year!

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