This week’s Wednesday Wisdom comes from Brian Knight’s Daily Discipline email blog:

The first thing I felt was the light buzz of my Apple Watch on my wrist as it gently shook me out of deep sleep. The alarm on my phone joined the chorus. I quickly pushed the big yellow “OFF” button. As I lay in my bed, my mind began to calculate.

“Do I get up or lay back down? If I get up, do I work out? Read a book? Or just leave for work? Do I feel like working out? Do I have anything interesting to read? If I lay back down, does that make me lazy?”

This moment, the day’s first moment, perfectly captures life’s defining battle and the mental mistake too many people are making. No, I don’t mean what time you wake up or your morning routine. I mean the clash between comfort and effort in your mind and frequently, in your heart.

The #1 mental mistake everyone needs to avoid is prioritizing comfort over effort. It’s true for teens to teachers to CEOs to Moms. Most problems in people’s lives are because of this specific mistake.

There’s usually tension between comfort and effort, at least on meaningful actions and missions. Sometimes you’ll see it and feel it in little things too. For example, last night, my wife and I grabbed a couple of blankets, sat on the couch, and enjoyed a bottle of wine together. She said, “Next time you get up, I’d like more wine, please.”

She experienced minor tension between her comfort under the blanket and the effort to get up, walk to the kitchen, and pour a glass of wine. Who hasn’t experienced their own version of this? Yes, I got up and refilled her glass because I love her.

Comfort is not a bad thing. You don’t have to drown yourself in discomfort. There is a time and place for comfort, but effort comes first. One way or another, every day starts with this decision.

Don’t make the obvious mistake and put your comfort before your effort in meaningful areas of your life. One more time, for clarity: don’t make the obvious mistake and put your comfort before your effort in meaningful areas of your life.

Effort over comfort is life’s defining battle and one you must consistently win if you want the best for yourself, your mission, and those you love.