Success is just beyond your comfort zone. So in order to reach it, you have to sacrifice things that give you comfort and do more things that make you uncomfortable. (It’s like giving up some couch time to sculpt a sexy body with a workout.)

Make sense?

The logic of success is simple. But the application…it’s a bitch. No way around that.–You’ve gotta give up the easy, comfortable stuff that occupies most of your (and everyone else’s) time. And no one really enjoys doing that at first.

But if you’re tired enough of drifting and being less than you know you can be, then you’ll gladly kick away your crutches and burn your comfort blankies to make something of yourself, like I did.

Today I live my dreams. I write for the largest publications in the world, and I make a living teaching others the habits and principles that originally got me off my Mom’s couch and into the publishing world. But four years ago I was just another lost millennial, dependent on my parents, and totally unpracticed in making sacrifices for longterm goals.

I was only able to make these drastic changes in my life, though, when I realized that no amount of comfort could ever fill the yearning in my soul for the deep satisfaction of success. (God, that sounded dramatic.)

Here are the biggest comforts I sacrificed to achieve the success I’ve earned today:


“Romance is the privilege of the rich, not employment for the poor.”

Relationships were my heroin and primary occupation. When I had a free pass for sex and all the kisses and cuddles I wanted, what did I care about success? I had everything I wanted in that moment, and was comfortable despite my lack of fortune.

So from 18 to 24 I had all the comfort in the world and none of the success–which was fine with me. But after my last relationship crashed, and I felt like I was actually losing my mind, I knew that another relationship wouldn’t solve my problems (I’d tried that solution 5 times already).

I made the incredibly uncomfortable decision to keep out of relationships until I was an independent and successful man.

Again…this was a bitch. I was super lonely at first and I struggled to find meaning as a single. But it was the struggle that made me strong, and it was the solitude that gave me time to focus on improving myself and make real strides as a writer and person. Best decision I ever made.

2-Social Media

The notifications, the tags, the comments…these things made me feel occupied and important. That’s why I turned to social media for a boost when I felt low–which was alllll damn day. Bu after checking it 86 times in a day, I felt much, much worse because I hadn’t accomplished anything. A million notifications couldn’t change the fact that I wasn’t doing shit with my life.

When I decided that I’d be a writer, though, and that I’d find a way to succeed if it killed me, social media was one of the first things to go. If I felt unsure, or low, I had to figure out productive ways to feel better and not just dive for my comfort blanket.

This sacrifice was almost Herculean, but again…It was totally worth it, a million times over.

(I have a social media presence to share articles over–but I use it maybe once a week. Life is way, way better now, and the discomfort only lasted like a week.)

3-Living at home

I’d managed to find some success in my writing career after a year. But with food on the table and a warm bed to sleep in, there just wasn’t pressure for me to perform. All that changed when I moved out.

I realized how expensive it was just to eat, let alone pay my rent. Oftentimes I went hungry. And going to bed with my stomach growling…it sucked. Nothing pleasant or romantic about it. But the discomfort gave me incentive to write better and to sell more of my work. And within the first six months on my own I’d made more money than the entire three years before.


Not all discomfort is bad. If you go to sit down on a park bench and find your left buttock pierced by a rusty nail…by all means, stand back up. But when it comes to occupying your own time, giving up your biggest creature comforts, and suffering to make stuff happen in your life, that’s when you should lean into the discomfort and get excited for all the amazing things that will soon come your way.

So what are the biggest comforts you’re going to sacrifice to make 2019 as kick-ass as you can?

Need help getting past your comfort zone, and some expert accountability? Check out how my coaching program can give you the extra push you need.

Originally published at


  • Daniel Dowling

    Performance Coach, Writer for Greatist,, Mindbodygreen, and FastCompany.

    Dan Dowling, here. I was the poster child for lost millennials - couldn’t keep a job…addicted to relationships…constantly checking social media and email. But when I got hungry enough for success as a writer, I gave up my distracted lifestyle and adopted one daily goal that changed my life forever: Do. Your. Best. Today, five years later, I’m a productivity coach who’s published on the world’s biggest sites (including Entrepreneur, Fast Company and Mindbodygreen), and I’m transforming lives through the best-effort, zero-distraction lifestyle that worked so well for me. Come and and learn how to always give your best at Millennial Success!