“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
Neale Donald Walshch
We enjoy the security and predictability of our daily routines. We’re afraid of rejection, judgment, and failure. We avoid risk and the unknown. We go from exploring and taking risks every day as children, to holding ourselves back, playing it safe, and ultimately limiting our personality, capability, and potential.
A comfort zone relates to anxiety levels.
It is defined in psychology as an artificial mental boundary. A place or situation where one feels safe, comfortable, in control, or at ease and without stress.
In layman’s terms: a behavior pattern that fits a predictable routine to minimize stress; where we feel most at home.
It’s easy being comfortable and there’s nothing wrong with having somewhere familiar to return to. But too much comfort can make us lazy and kill productivity.
You can’t motivate yourself to make real improvement while feeling content. You’ll find yourself doing only enough to get by. Leading to missed opportunities and regret.
It takes a lot of courage to break your of your comfort zone, but it can be a great for your self-esteem and provide lasting happiness and fulfillment.
Learning to face the unknown not only becomes easier with practice, but can be very liberating and surprisingly habit forming.
What’s in It for You?
- Feel more in control in life
- Expand social circle
- Build self-esteem
- Increase confidence
- Raise self-awareness
- Gain comfort in the unknown
- Look at old problems new ways
- Cope better with unexpected challenges
- Push yourself easier in the future
- Learn new skills
- Become productive and creative
6 Powerful Steps to Help You Leave Your Comfort Zone:
1. Believe That Things Can Change
Your thoughts have power. What you tell yourself matters and will largely determine who you become. You are much stronger than you think. Realize that all limitations are self-imposed. Believe in yourself!
2. Accept the Challenge
Notice how much you stay inside your comfort zone. When was the last time you really challenged yourself? When was the last time you accomplished something you were really proud of while coasting in neutral? A little anxiety can benefit you and increase performance. Set goals that allow you to leave your comfort zone and look at yourself as someone that accepts challenges. Rise to the occasion!
3. Change Your Mindset
Don’t look at challenges negatively and don’t play it safe. Recognize what’s holding you back and work towards correcting it. There will always be some difficulty, risk, and discomfort involved if you want to learn. Over time you’ll learn to open up to experience, accept a little discomfort, and push yourself to achieve new goals. Recalibrate your reality!
4. Change Your Daily Routine
Your current comfort zone used to be uncomfortable terrain.
Start small with something you wouldn’t normally do. We all have things that come to mind here. Try a new restaurant, talk with a stranger, volunteer, or take a dance class. Habitual behavior can be hard to change, but work to find ways to stretch your personal boundaries. Strive for more!
5. Start on Something That Matters to You
Large goals may seem unattainable, so start small. Working up to things slowly will help you change your perspective and see that things are possible. Take small steps; changing everything overnight is difficult to sustain.
Want to diet? Change one meal. Want to run a 5k? Start jogging. Want to start a business? Interview a business owner. Want to go to school? Fill out the application.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Challenge yourself!
6. Lose the Lethargy of Fear
Don’t fear failure. Most of what we do fails. Everyone notices the small percentages that succeed.
Everyone That Has Ever Been Successful Has Failed.
- J.K Rowling, a broke and impoverished single mother, had her script for “Harry Potter” denied more than 10 times before being accepted.
- Walt Disney, struggling to eat and pay rent, was unemployed and bankrupt before creating Disney Land.
- Thomas Edison, deemed stupid and unteachable by teachers, obtained over 1,000 patents for his inventions.
- Milton Hershey dropped out of school in the 4th grade and was fired from numerous jobs and started numerous unsuccessful companies before starting The Hershey Company.
Focus on the process, not the outcome. No fear, no distractions!
Why This Matters
How can you expect to grow while restricting yourself to the same old routine?
With challenge comes growth. You won’t be as happy as you can be if you don’t give yourself the chance to grow.
Stepping out of your comfort zone can create conditions for drastic transformation.
Take the steps to pay it forward to yourself.
As you make improvements, the boundaries of your comfort zone will expand.
You’ll be more comfortable letting go and taking risks. You’ll be reaching for self-actualization.
Don’t let your comfort zone stop you from chasing your dreams!
Life awaits! Go find the sweet spot, just don’t overdo it.
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