“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
Beyond your comfort zone lies what you really want: to grow, change, and live your life with passion. The problem? Getting there requires you to break out of your comfort zone, and going outside your comfort zone is intimidating. As scary as it is, however, pushing through your fear and getting out of your comfort zone is essential for growth. “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” – Brian Tracy
The below guide is a one-week action plan that you can use to break out of your comfort zone. Starting with these small steps will give you the confidence booster you need to eventually take bigger steps out of your comfort zone. By experiencing success with these small action steps, you will rapidly develop the momentum needed to make a breakthrough.
Follow this action plan for the next 7 days and you will be excited to continue stepping out of your comfort zone!Advertising
1. Do a random act of kindness
Is there a better way to start your week by pushing out of your comfort zone to do something kind for a stranger? I think not! Random acts of kindness are awesome. They make another person’s day start off great (and honestly, who doesn’t need a mood booster on Monday morning?). There’s also a benefit to your life. By doing kind hearted things for others and expecting nothing in return (no thanks, no praise, just you quietly doing amazing stuff), you feel great. It’s Monday, grab your caffeine and get out of your bubble… it’s time to break out of your comfort zone and do something thoughtful for a stranger.
Monday’s Breakthrough Tip: Pay for a coffee for the person behind you in line at Starbucks.
2. Startle your taste buds
Coming out of your comfort zone can start in your very own kitchen! You can begin by experimenting with a new spice. Gradually you can progress to trying entirely new foods and perhaps some totally exotic foods. Some you might love, and others not so much, and that’s okay. How will you ever know if you don’t try them? The key is to start playing with different flavors and expand your palate. Instead of mindlessly creating the same boring meals from recipes you’ve used repetitively for years, start experimenting. Try arugula instead of spinach in your salad, mix a new refreshing drink, or buy some cheese you’ve never heard of (black bomber, anyone?).
Tuesday’s Breakthrough Tip: Use a new spice while cooking dinner.Advertising
3. Strike up a conversation
Strike up a conversation with someone you never talk to – either a stranger or an acquaintance. As always, be safe (avoid late-night conversations with strangers in dark alleys). Feeling awkward and not sure what to talk about? Pay them a compliment. Better yet, tell them their kids are super cute. Everyone likes that. You never know who you’ll meet; there are likely a lot of amazing people around you every day. Who knows, maybe the person who sits next to you on the subway every day will become your new friend.
Wednesday’s Breakthrough Tip: Compliment a stranger.
4. Say I love you
How often do we tell our friends and family members how much we love and appreciate them? I’ll give you the answer – not enough. Life is short, and too often it ends abruptly. Even if your family isn’t overly emotional and doesn’t talk about feelings, get out of your comfort zone and tell your loved ones how much you care about them. It doesn’t matter if your words are written in a letter, spoken over the phone, or shared in person. Just get your thoughts out of your head and share them with those who are dearest to you.Tell them how their influence in your life has made you who you are today.
Thursday’s Breakthrough Tip: Send a card to a relative stating why you’re thankful for them.Advertising
5. Take one baby step
According to author Joseph Epstein, “81 percent of Americans feel that they have a book in them.” There are hundreds of millions of people who apparently aspire to write. If you’re one of them, start today by setting tiny goals. If you dream to write a book, write 2 sentences today. If you have different aspirations, take a baby step in a different direction. If you want to go back to school, sign up for one class this semester. If you want to eventually run a marathon, set an initial goal of walking 5 minutes. You just need to start putting one foot in front of the other. Looking ahead at your overall big dream may be overwhelming and far out of your comfort zone; breaking it down into small chunks will significantly decrease the intimidation factor.
Friday’s Breakthrough Tip: Consider a big dream you have that is out of your comfort zone. Break it down. Set a tiny starting goal you know you can accomplish and do it today. Repeat this daily.
6. Scan the ads
Look through the newspaper and your local community education flyer. Are there any upcoming events or classes that picque your interest? Taking a class, even if it’s just a couple hours, can be out of your comfort zone if it’s something completely new to you. By learning a new skill, you just might stumble upon your passion. A friend of mine stepped out of her comfort zone and signed up for a random glass-blowing class a couple years ago, thinking it would be a fun way to kill a few hours. She absolutely loved it. So much, in fact, that she’s considering decreasing her hours in the healthcare field (she has a doctorate degree and an excellent career) to spend more time glass-blowing. She started by returning to the studio to take more classes, then began selling items she created to family and friends, and now her work is being featured in a store front.
Saturday’s Breakthrough Tip: Sign up for a local workshop to learn something new.Advertising
In today’s always “on” society, where we have instant access to all kinds of information, and we’re constantly connected to social media, it can be uncomfortable to turn it off. Yet disconnecting from your phone and internet can spark true connection with others, and give you time to reflect. Many people have a continual “fear of missing out,” and are attached nonstop to electronic devices…but does it really matter if you turn off your social media for a day? Is it seriously important for you to know what your friend from 20 years ago had for breakfast? No, it’s not, but nevertheless, unplugging in today’s world can feel uncomfortable and out of your comfort zone. Developing a habit of unplugging one day per week, as difficult as it can be, can promote mindfulness and true connection with the people who matter most in your life – those that you actually spend time with in real life, not just online.
Sunday’s Breakthrough Tip: Have everyone in your family place his or her phone in a basket on the kitchen counter, where it will stay all day, turned off. Then go out and spend the day doing something fun as a family. Actually talk to each other in the car, and spend time having fun for the sake of having fun. Don’t take pictures with the intent of posting them on social media. Just be.
You’ve done it! You’ve officially survived a full week of spending time out of your comfort zone every day. Way to go!
You will do great things if you continue to have the courage to take bigger and bigger steps out of your comfort zone!
Featured photo credit: Peeking Out/Simon Turkas via flickr.com
Last Updated on September 17, 2018
7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck
Relationships are complicated and when you’re unhappy, it can be difficult to tell what’s causing it and what needs to change.
Sometimes it’s as easy as opening up to your partner about your problems, while other times it may be necessary to switch partners or roll solo to get your mind straight.
When you’re in the thick of things, it can be difficult to tell if you’re unhappy in your relationship or just unhappy in general (in which case, a relationship may be just the cure you need).
Here’re signs of an unhappy relationship that is possibly making you feel stuck:
1. You’re depressed about your home life.
No matter what you do in life, you’re going to have good and bad days. Your relationship is no different.
However, no matter what you’re going through at home, you have to feel comfortable in your own home.
If you constantly dread going home because your significant other is there, there’s a problem. Maybe it’s something you already know about, everyone has an argument or just needs some alone time.
When that yearning to be alone becomes an insatiable obsession over the course of months and years, it’s time to realize you’re not the exception to the rule.
You’re unhappy in your relationship, and you need to take a look in the mirror and do whatever it takes to make yourself smile.
2. You aren’t comfortable being yourself.
Remember all those things you discovered about yourself when you first got together? The way your partner made you feel when you met that made you fall in love with him or her in the first place.
If they don’t make you feel that way anymore, it’s not the end of the world. If your partner makes you uncomfortable about being you, then her or she is only dragging you down. It’s up to you to decide how to handle that.
You need to be comfortable with who you are. This means being comfortable in your skin and with the way you walk, talk, look, breath, move, and all the other things that make you uniquely you.
If the person who supposedly loves you doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, know that you can do better. They’re not even one in a billion.
3. You can’t stop snooping.
Mutual trust is necessary in any relationship. The only way to get that trust is with respect.
I can find you anywhere online, no matter how private and secure you think you are. The odds of you having a password I can’t crack are slim. If we’ve met in person, I could install a remote key logger on your device without even touching it.
Finding your information online hardly takes a clandestine organization. Any idiot with a Wi-Fi-enabled device can cyberstalk you. I’m just the only idiot in the village admitting it.
So now that we know everyone snoops, it’s time to address your personal habits. Governments snoop because they don’t trust us. If you’re snooping on your partner, it’s because you don’t trust them.
It’s ok to have doubts, and it’s perfectly normal to look into anything that looks weird, but keep in mind that data collection is only half of an investigation.
If you find yourself constantly snooping and questioning everything, clearly there’s a trust issue and the relationship likely needs to end.
4. You’re afraid of commitment.
If you’ve been dating longer than a year and you aren’t engaged, it’s never going to happen.
Commitment is important. People will come up with a million ways to describe why they can’t be committed.
No matter who you are if you like it, you need to put a ring on it. Find an engagement ring, stick a gemstone in it and marry the person. If you’re not legally able to get married or you don’t believe in it for one reason or another, have a child (or adopt one, however you’re able to) or treat your partner’s family like your own. It’s a huge financial and mental commitment.
If you’re not ready for one or the other after some time, don’t waste anymore of your precious life on the relationship.
Your relationship should be something that propels you forward. If it’s not going anywhere, make it an open relationship and call it what it is—dating multiple people.
5. You imagine a happier life without your partner.
If all you’re doing is imagining a happier life without your partner, it’s a sign that you’re in the wrong relationship. You’re unhappy and you need to get out.
Your partner should be included in your dreams. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a future with someone.
Try to remember what you dreamed of before you got your heart broken by the realities of life, love and the pursuit of human success.
Remember when you would crush on that cute kid in class? You would secretly imagine marrying him or her and going on an adventure—that’s the way life should be.
If you’re not at least imagining adventures together, then why are you in that relationship?
6. You resent, rather than love your partner.
When a relationship starts to crumble, you begin to resent your partner for all the things you once loved about him or her.
When you’ve reached this point, your partner has reached at least No. 2 on this list. From your partner’s perspective, your unhappiness with them is picked up as bashing them for being who they are.
If you’re both unhappy in the relationship, it’s better if it ends as quickly and painlessly as possible.
7. You chase past feelings.
It’s okay to reminisce about the past, but if all you do is wish things were like they used to be, it’s a sign you’re not on the right path.
You’re unhappy and, at the very least, you need to have an open dialogue about it. This isn’t necessarily a sign that the relationship should end, but it definitely needs a spark.
When you talk to your partner candidly about what it is you’re looking for, you never know how they’ll react. The risk alone is worth it, good or bad.
If you’re feeling stuck in your current relationship, it’s time to reflect about it with your partner. Don’t ignore these signs of an unhappy relationship as they will slowly go worse and harm both you and your partner in long-term.
Featured photo credit: josh peterson via unsplash.com