The challenge in life isn’t figuring out how to be comfortable. The challenge is figuring out when to be uncomfortable. Growth happens when you stretch yourself. It doesn’t happen when you just sit on the couch.

When you are working out, changes and growth don’t happen if you haven’t pushed. For novice weight lifters, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is used as an indicator that you’ve had a “good” workout. As you gain experience, you learn that you don’t have to be sore after a workout to see improvements in your fitness. But you do have to put in the work to get improvement.

That first set of steps as you push past comfort and into being uncomfortable are a bit like experiencing DOMS for the first time. It hurts. It’s not fun. Every move produces a new twinge. Reaching for a jar reminds you that you worked hard the day before. What you learn when you workout is that you have to ignore those small aches. You have to keep moving. Frankly sitting still makes it just hurt worse.

Right now there’s something in your life that you are trying to accomplish. You may be working out for the first time. It physically makes you uncomfortable.

You have to keep moving. You have to push past the small, inconsequential aches and reach.

You may be job hunting. The frustration that builds as each job lead flops feels like a lead weight.

You have to keep moving. You put a plan together, so stick with it. Execute your daily searches. Fill out one more application. Keep moving.

You may be dealing with a challenging situation at work. Nothing seems to be improving, and it’s like moving in mud.

You have to keep moving. You can’t see it, but you are making small progress forward. Deep breath and then push forward again.

As you push out of a comfortable place, and push into something that doesn’t feel good, you get stronger. This holds for both mental and physical strength. It’s not easy. But then the things you really want in life aren’t easy in any event. Push for it. Be uncomfortable. Take that discomfort and use it to fuel a push for something bigger and better.

Who wants to sit on the couch day in and day out? It’s so much more fun to live life to the fullest.