How to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”
When you are busy existing in the bubble of your routines each day it can be hard to consider stepping outside into something new and even a little scary. That cozy little space is often referred to as your “comfort zone,” defined as “a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.”
Being in your comfort zone feels easy, and one can very simply stay there for long periods of time without considering the tremendous advantages of the alternative.
While staying comfortable can be tempting, the growth and change you really want exist outside of your comfort zone. When you stretch beyond and reach to learn and achieve something new, that is where real growth and development occur, making life richer and more prosperous. Don’t let the fear of trying something new keep you from pursuing your dreams, advancing your career, or improving your health.
It is only when you choose comfort over facing the fear of trying something new that you really lose out on what life has to offer. Let’s talk about some ways you can step outside of your comfort zone, beyond the fear, and into the sweet spot of optimal development.
Take on a New Challenge & Shake Things Up
One great way to start pushing beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone is to take on a new challenge. You often see people doing this when they sign up for a 5k, start a new job, or attempt to learn a new skill. Do you have any big goals in mind? That would be a great place to start! The first step is understanding what you want to do and why. Make a plan, set your goal, establish some smaller milestone marking goals, and start with day one knowing you are heading for positive growth.
You can even do this in tiny steps by changing small things about how you go about your day. Try taking the stairs, read an article to learn something new, or turn off your phone for an hour each day. All of these things take you just a little bit out of your comfort zone and train your brain to grow accustomed to that behavior, making bigger changes feel easier when you are ready to try.
Face the Fear
Being afraid of new things is normal. We are creatures of habit, and our minds and bodies like the comfort of that stress-free zone (a little too much sometimes!). If you are ready and willing to start changing for the better, you are going to have to get comfortable with discomfort. Fear is a barrier that you can assess, learn to understand, and eventually traverse. It does not have to be a scary, unknown darkness that you avoid.
Face the fear by gathering the knowledge to understand WHY you are afraid, assess the possibilities of what you gain upon conquering that fear, and make the first baby step in the direction of your goal. Then do that again and again. Soon the fear fades as you expand your comfort zone to include this amazing thing you are doing that helps you grow and develop your mind and body. Well done!
Take Small Steps
Set some reasonable goals for yourself and break those goals down into small, attainable steps that set you up for success. Micro-goals can help you feel successful, contribute to positive brain chemistry, and help your ultimate goal seem more achievable. Challenge your current boundaries, but don’t overcommit. Celebrate the small wins and recognize your success along the way.
Accept Failure as Part of the Process
Failure can be scary, and it can be a powerful motivator for why people choose to stay the same. Once you understand and accept that no positive growth or change can happen without failure, you have unlocked an important element of self improvement. No one gets better without failing along the way. If you adopt this mindset, failure simply becomes another part of the challenge, something to be assessed and overcome. It is not a barrier, it is a door. Open it and keep going!
As you go through these steps, you will find that you become more comfortable with pushing against your current boundaries and trying new things. Like anything, expanding your comfort zone takes practice. Remember to be kind to yourself as you take on these new challenges and don’t take yourself too seriously. Allow yourself to be human, make mistakes, learn, and try again until you get it right. We are cheering you on and would love to hear about your victories in the BE WELL + BE GREAT Facebook Group.