Out of Your Comfort Zone (BOS)

We all get comfortable in certain ways. It’s why we crave routines and habits–because they help us to feel comfortable. To know what to expect, and to find, and then maintain a status quo or norm. We like to be comfortable because it makes it easier to deal with the unexpected stuff and the stressful things when most of life is just plain normal.

And being comfortable isn’t bad–as I just described, it often helps us to handle the “extra” stuff in life because we have a little bandwidth for it provided by the comfort. It’s just that when we are too comfortable, for too long, life can either get boring, or we kinda stop progressing. We try to stay away from the unexpected and the stressful stuff so much that we almost never face challenge, we almost never have to stretch outside of our comfort zone, and therefore we don’t have to adapt and grow in order to adjust to the ways life can ebb and flow.

Cue November Project. It’s original intention was to get a couple of guys out of their rut comfortable routine and to see if they could create a new kind of normal for themselves. One that involved getting up early, workout out every day, being outside for their fitness–no matter what the weather was–and simply seeing what they could accomplish as active human beings, and with the support of each other.

This morning’s workout was exactly the kind of thing to get us out of our comfort zones…and possibly to see ourselves, our community, and this whole fitness thing a little differently. We went to a location we’ve never been to before with NP_BOS. The Hayden Street Stairs are a pretty sweet (and long) set of stairs connecting Hayden Street (at the top) with Heath Street (at the bottom) in Jamaica Plain. It’s an area that probably most people aren’t selecting for their regular running route, never mind for a stair workout. It’s a stone’s throw from the Riverway and Jamaica Pond, so plenty of people were out there this morning running along the waterways. But up on the Hayden Street Stairs? Just NP and a few early commuters. So break out of our norms to get to a new location in an area we admit, we don’t visit enough for Monday morning workouts.

Then, we got a little uncomfortable by spending so much time on those stairs, many of us thought it was Wednesday. But we threw in some variety that we just don’t do in the stadium on Wednesdays. For 24 straight minutes, the crew alternated between running in a loop up/down the stairs and completing a minute of an exercise. So it looked something like this: 3 x 8 min of 1. stairs 2. pushups 3. stairs 4. box jumps 5. stairs 6. plank hold w shoulder taps 7. stairs 8. squats or rear foot elevated single leg squats. It was good. It was hard. It was one of those workouts where you aren’t sure how you’re going to keep going but then you do and you realize that you were outside of your comfort zone the entire time for a handful of different reasons, and that even though you kind of don’t like that, you also really like that. When you’re done especially, you realize how utterly unlikely it is that you’d do something like that on your own–and you’re grateful that you did it with everyone else because everyone was working really hard–and you feel great about starting your day that way.

Some of the crew who showed up this morning even got uncomfortable by just showing up because it was their first day at NP. Some tried running to the workout for the first time. And it’s amazing to see all the different ways that people challenge themselves and allow themselves to be challenged by NP–because that’s why NP is here. To get outside our comfy, comfortable, normal, usual, every-day comfort zones, and to see what else we’ve got–together. It’s never been intended as a “figure it out on your own” kind of thing. It’s always, since Day freaking ONE, been about seeing what else we’ve got, with the support, kindness, side-by-side-ness, and community of each other.

Because the very best way to get outside of your comfort zone is to just not be alone. It’s like a more comfortable way of getting out there, and NP has that for all of us, every single week. So please keep showing up and getting out there. You being there makes it easier for everyone else to get out there too. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays…forever.

NEXT MONDAY will be at the pier thingy right next to the Charlestown bridge, on the Charlestown side. MAP is right HERE. 6:29am, the sunrise will be brilliant and you won’t regret it. Unless you don’t show up–you might regret that. So show up, or don’t, just see if you can get out of your comfort zone.

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