How many times have you been told to get out of your comfort zone if you want to accomplish something that is really worth the effort?
You may remember – it’s a scary place to be.
However, did you know that it is also possible to spread out your comfort zone in a much more gentle way, without ever getting terrified.
How you get there is not important – it is about completing the journey.
Increase your comfort zone and improve your life:
- Take it easy. Bigger changes cause greater Just imagine going for a jog for the first time in years trying to do a half marathon in your first attempt. Or join the gym and opening your exercise routine with 50 bench presses or 100 push-ups.
- The secret here is to make minor changes at first, then increasing it gradually over time. Waking up earlier, for instance – if you’re not using an alarm clock, start with just that, and gradually make it a few minutes earlier over a few weeks, and before you know it you’ll be a regular early riser. This is perfect to make sure you remain comfortable in whatever change you need to bring into your life.
- Eat something different. Most people shy away from trying new food, but it’s an easy and non-threatening way to push the boundaries of your comfort zone. Switch from one drink to another, visit a different restaurant or try something else from the fruit section at your local supermarket.
- Turn a new page – read a different book. Find something to read that is not on your normal list – for instance, if you’re a man, a book on feminism might hit home. If you’re Christian, a book on another faith such as Muslim might shake things up a bit. But pick up a book you would normally never have read.
- Break away from routine. Take a different route to work or school or the local shopping mall. Nowadays, with GPS built into your cellphone, don’t even look at directions for going anywhere beforehand. Aim in the general directions and trust your instincts to see where you end up. If you do get horribly lost (beware of wandering off into dangerous areas, especially in the dark) use your cellphone map to find your way if needed, and hopefully you won’t be late for work…
- Pull the plug for a whole Pretend you’re in a black-out. Switch it all of – your computer, your phone, the TV, the radio… It’s a challenge – much bigger than you think, and will be more uncomfortable than you can imagine.
- Move around in the house. Sit somewhere else instead of your favorite TV chair. Eat at the dining room table. Sleep on the other side of the bed, or better yet – swop bedrooms with the kids for the night.
- Say hi to a complete stranger. Step into the lift and chat with your companions. Turn to the person next to you at the coffee shop and start chatting. It doesn’t have to be a twenty-minute affair. All it takes is 30 seconds, and you can consider yourself successful. There are more than enough people or opportunities in your daily life to practice on. Strike up a conversation with the clerk behind the counter at the bank or grocery store and enjoy the appreciation on their faces by simply saying a bit more than just “Hi!”
- Don’t be shy – ask your boss for a review. If you are not the big boss, tell your immediate senior or boss you’d like to sit down with them to review your performance. Taking that kind of approach might not only do wonders for your career, but will stretch your comfort zone.
- Apply for a different job that’s a significant step up from your current position. You might feel a bit like an imposter, but that’s okay. What is the worst that can happen? You might just get the position and with that a new career with new challenges. But your bank account will definitely benefit. Don’t only look at a better job in your own organization – don’t be afraid to go job hunting for a bigger, better job.
- Pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t spoken to for at least six months. Don’t take the easy way of least resistance by sending them an email – pick up the phone and just do it. Unless they have won the lottery or married a billionaire, you will feel great about it afterwards.
- Stretch your travelling budget – get out of your own country. An easy way to experience the excitement of getting out of your comfort zone is to explore new destinations. If you’ve never travelled outside of your home country, this might be more of just an eye opener – it might even be quite a shock. Everything is different – the food, the people, places to see and especially the culture – all should be different. Don’t go to another part of the world that is a copy of your own country – explore a bit! Get a passport and read about faraway places you’d like to visit.
- Treat yourself and give yourself a thrill. Pamper yourself a bit with a new hairstyle, and go out and do something that makes your (new) hair stand up. Do something that even scares you a bit, like skydiving or mountain climbing – even just a roller coaster or the latest water park. Face your public speaking fears – give a speech or take a dance class. For some people going to the gym might do the same.
- Take a quiet moment and go sit on your own in silence. Like staying without electronics for a while, this can be tougher than you expect. Again, turn off everything and sit alone with yourself. Don’t daydream – just be your own silent companion for at least 30 minutes.
Getting out of your comfort zone and moving the boundaries ever so slightly one at a time, bit by bit, opens up many new possibilities.
Just imagine how your life could change if you had a broader (bigger) comfort zone. You can easily manage this without all the pain you might imagine.
Like a gymnast getting fit, stretch your comfort zone little by little each and every day.
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