There’s no room for adventure or excitement in our comfort zones. And over time, you might feel overwhelmed or trapped by boredom and fear when you don’t challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. However, perhaps it’s time to stretch those limits a little!
We all live within our comfort zones to some degree by doing things that are familiar to us as well as relatively easy. While this is all part of establishing a routine, some of us may also be longing to try something new, but lack the confidence or reassurance to go for it.
Most of us regularly let fear rule our lives in the name of comfort. We live our lives within the boundaries our comfort has created. We refuse to speak in public, decline an invitation to a party where we won’t know many people, or put our dreams on the back burner because we’re afraid of the unknown. And I’m not saying these boundaries are stupid — we designed them to keep us safe, both physically and emotionally. But sometimes we can get a little too comfortable and can’t find our way out.
It’s not the worst way to live . . . But it’s certainly not the best way either. The difficult thing for most of us comes in stepping outside of our comfort zone. Or even just widening our boundaries.
There’s no doubt that stepping outside of our comfort zone can be, well . . . uncomfortable. But it can also expand our horizons, create new opportunities and leave us with memorable experiences! When you step out of your comfort zone, each step is taking you closer and closer to complete and total self-love.
Here are 10 steps to help you take off into the unknown:
Access Your Comfort Zone With Honesty
Did you opt out of a yoga class with a friend because you were busy? Or were you worried you wouldn’t be able to keep up with the crazy poses? Did you not apply to college because of the expense? Or were you afraid you wouldn’t get in? Often we fool ourselves into thinking our comfort zone is larger than it is. If the boundaries aren’t there, we don’t have the responsibility to ourselves to push them. Look at your comfort zones with clear, non-judgmental eyes. Meet yourself where you are.
Reinterpret Your Fear
In order to overcome your fear of trying something new, re-frame those feelings of fear as feelings of excitement and opportunity. When viewed in this positive light, those butterflies in your stomach will soon be seen as welcoming rather than something you seek to avoid.
Focus On The Why
Having a mission statement of why you’re stepping out of your comfort zone can help you overcome the fear of doing it. Writing out benefits of doing the activity. Such as, ‘to build courage,’ or ‘to become more creative.’ Looking at the why when you start to get stressed out can help bring down your stress levels and make it easier to accomplish the task.
Leaving your comfort zone doesn’t mean you have to prepare to parachute out of an airplain tomorrow. You can start by simply changing how you approach your daily routine. This could involve taking a different route to work, or even going vegetarian for a week. Look for the perspective that comes from any change, even if it’s negative.
There is a good chance you are not the first to struggle against this particular boundary. Find those who have done it successfully, and learn from their wisdom. Classic public speaking fears can be addressed at a Toastmasters meeting. If anxiety and depression are keeping you from living your life, check out one of these groups and speak with your doctor. If you are being kept in your comfort zone by an addiction, there are people who want to support you right in your area. Once you begin to look, you will be surprised at the resources available to you.
Ignore Outside Opinions
A big part of the reason we don’t make any changes in our routine or try anything new is for fear of judgment. Consider the fact that the people we admire most in the world tend to be those who march to the beat of their own drum.
So instead of remaining silent and blending in (which is comfortable), don’t be afraid to say things or do things based on your own perception of how others may react. You’re not supposed to be perfect, nor is anyone else.
Pull From Your Strengths
Identify an opportunity where your strengths are at play just as much as your fears. For example, consider that you are a pop culture and sci-fi connoisseur who is terrified of talking to strangers. An event like Comic-Con could give you the chance to interact with like-minded people in an atmosphere that fosters fun and camaraderie. Are you a good writer, but shy speaker? Read your best work to a group of friends. Choose a topic you know inside and out. Find or create a situation where your strengths are on display. Confidence will follow.
Identify ‘Worst Case Scenarios’
We often come up with end results for our actions without really knowing from experience what to expect. In other words, we let our worst case scenarios play out without even giving the action or idea a try.
One of the steps to successfully leave your comfort zone is to manage risk. It’s probably helpful if you identify and perceived risks ahead of time and then think of ways you can minimize them. This way, in the unlikely event that your worst-case scenarios come true, you’ll be equipped to deal with them.
Picture The End Result
Progressing in life naturally requires you to step outside the box in some way. Picture your life a couple of years down the road and ask how would you feel if it was exactly the same as now.
Picture the end result of pushing your own comfort boundaries. In the example of photography, think about the great photos to show off and be proud of. If you’re traveling, think about the amazing experiences you’ll have by stepping outside the resort or into rarely visited areas. Get excited about meeting the more adventurous person you could be, it doesn’t mean you have to throw caution to the wind.
Don’t give yourself the option of backing up. Pay for the event you want to attend. Tell 3 close friends about your plans. Make it as difficult as possible to cancel at the last minute. Keep your expectations realistic. Remind yourself that your goal is to push your comfort zone, and that feeling discomfort is part of the process. It means you’re growing!
The real you, the one you have hidden inside for fear of being unloved or unaccepted, has a place in this world. Take small steps everyday to venture outside of your comfort zone. Each small step brings you one step closer to self-love.
+What steps have you taken to step outside of your comfort zone? How do make the uncomfortable comfortable? Leave your thoughts below!
Much love and good luck