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10 Thoughts Preventing You From Leaving Your Comfort Zone

10 Thoughts Preventing You From Leaving Your Comfort Zone

Whether you believe it or not, the ability to intentionally leave your comfort zone to achieve long-term goals is what separates the outstanding people from the average crowd.

Imagine two circles that aren’t connected with each other in any way. The one is small and normal, and the second one significantly bigger and superior. The first circle represents the comfortable life full of relaxing, browsing the Internet, lying all day in bed on the weekends and consuming countless amounts of your favorite chocolate. It’s the symbol of a life spent in the comfort zone. On the first glance, it may seem rainbows and unicorns, but in reality, it’s a circle which guarantees you nothing but regrets.

Then there’s the second circle: filled with unknown territory that waits to be discovered, big dreams which need you to make them become a reality and rewards so fulfilling that you’d never trade them for sweets and television. This is what life spent out of your comfort zone looks like. Such a lifestyle tests your willpower and discipline on a regular basis. Every new day is a new challenge. However, the prize for being brave and committed is huge and worth the effort.

To take a quantum leap forward, you need to determine and eradicate the negative thoughts which discourage you from leaving the comfort zone for good. Here’s a list of 10 that are most common and dangerous.

1. “I don’t really have to do this.”

If there’s no one else who’d push you to do something, it’s very tough to stay motivated when you want to give up. Suddenly, your mind begins bombarding you with reasons to abandon your goal and do something pleasurable, as “you don’t have to struggle anyway”. This thought is typical and I experienced it way too many times. I even believed in it and gave up on my commitments as well. However, the more I felt the bitter taste of failure, the more I realized how fictional and made up this urge is.

In reality, you have to do this and there’s no doubt about it. Whatever your goal is, you can’t give up on it based on the emotions that arrive during the hard times. Once this dangerous reflection comes to your mind, remind yourself about this article and my advice. When your brain spares no effort to convince you to give up so you can feel better instantly, you know that you’ll feel even worse afterward.

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2. “I’ll start tomorrow.”

Sometimes, it’s the best thing you can do. However, it only works if you actually start tomorrow. The real problem is, most people don’t and tomorrow never comes.Tomorrow becomes some unknown date in the future, the magic time when you feel ready and prepared.

Let’s say you want to start running regularly and you decide to begin tomorrow. If you determine exactly when you’ll have your workout session, tell yourself why you’ll do this and even put your running clothes somewhere visible, then you are very likely to stick to your words.

However, if you just fool yourself that you’ll begin tomorrow only because right now you feel like watching funny Youtube videos, then that’s a straight way to a never-ending procrastination.

3. “Right now is not the perfect moment.”

I wanted to start a self-improvement blog for a very long time, but I didn’t feel like starting now was a good idea. Instead, I’d keep convincing myself that in a few months I’ll be ready to start like a pro. Once a few months went by, I’d come up with another excuse why waiting one more month is better than starting today.

As you can probably imagine, it’s a vicious circle. If you adopt such a mindset, you’ll never get started. Once my frustration reached the boiling point, I just immediately did what I couldn’t do for months and within a few hours my site was live. I finally decided to ignore the excuses and step out the comfort zone. To tell the truth, it’s the only decision you won’t regret. Everything else brings regrets and makes you wonder: “what would happen if I tried…”

4. “I’ll begin once I have more _____.“

Personally, “more time” seems to be my brain’s favorite excuse. When it comes to doing something uncomfortable that we’ve been thinking about forever, there’s always something to keep us busy and distracted. In reality, however, that very thing won’t make any significant difference in your life, but you keep using it as an easy excuse. It’s just comfortable.

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Whenever you realize that you use this excuse, be aware that in most cases, we already have all we need to get started. If you don’t work hard toward creating a better environment to start, I promise you it won’t happen by itself or accident.

5. “If I only had _____, I would surely succeed.”

Another stupid thought that prevents countless people from succeeding in life is thinking something will eventually come along that leads to sure success. What really works is relying on internal factors to better yourself.

Sure, some people are better off than others, but the most crucial elements are taking action and staying persistent even when you don’t see the results right off the bat.It’s the internal factors that matter the most. All the external ones are just the nice additions but aren’t required.

6. “I’m not good enough to even get started.”

Nowadays we are bombarded with the highlights of other people lives. Whether it’s advertising and highly photoshopped banners, Instagram or Facebook profiles or video blogs, most of the information shared is just the tip of the iceberg. Usually, the ugly truth is hidden, so you feel like the only one experiencing the downs of life.

As a result, you end up feeling inadequate. If you don’t feel good enough, it’s tough to release that inner willpower and strength which embrace leaving your comfort zone. So now, let me tell you the harsh truth. Most of the people feel insecure, have self-doubts and experience the moments when they think giving up is the only solution. It is highly likely that their social media does not tell the whole story.

It just the way your brain tries to fool you. Ignore it, because you are already good enough. And if you’re not, fake it until you make it!

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7. “This is the last time I procrastinate!”

Each time you make an exception, you automatically make the next attempt more challenging. Over time, your mind will make a bad habit of procrastinating at all cost and it will become a real struggle to stick to any of your commitments. You need to realize it’s the hardest moments and how you react once they happen that will either make or break you. If you can bite the bullet and just take action, this fact alone will make future attempts much easier.

One study showed that the people who were confronted with continued mental challenge improved the most. The group that faced the most uncomfortable tasks was the one with greatest results. The psychological scientist Denise Park gets to the point of the research and its clear message: “When you are inside your comfort zone you may be outside of the enhancement zone.”

8. “Today I’ll have fun, but tomorrow I’ll focus on my goals!”

This can actually work, but only if you modify the sentence: right now I’ll work toward my goals so that at the end of the day I can feel satisfied and fulfilled. If you make pleasure the first priority, it’s insanely hard to stop and get to the uncomfortable activities.

Getting pleasant things without working for them in the first place is the essence of staying in the comfort zone. If you go this route, over time another bad habit will take roots. Fortunately, you can make it work in your favor and do it in reverse order.

Let’s take dieting as an example. If you keep a healthy diet during the week, don’t overeat and make sure to consume only high-quality foods in reasonable amounts, then there’s nothing wrong allowing yourself a cheat meal or even a cheat day (if you don’t tend to go overboard). Basically, you get out of your comfort zone to keep track of your meals. Doing this, you simply earn yourself a cheat meal. Believe me, when it’s earned, it tastes much better!

9. “I don’t know how!”

If you don’t, that’s completely understandable. Most of the experts were newbies at first. Knowing something isn’t a result of talent or magic, it’s the consequence of work and constant improvement. In today’s world full of information available immediately and for free, you just can’t say you don’t know how to get started and then give up.

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As I’m writing this article, there are already more than 2 000 000 blog posts written today. Furthermore, almost 1 500 000 books were published in 2015 alone. Not to count countless hours of educational material published on Youtube and similar sites. Simply put, there are at least a few free ways to learn a solution to whatever problem you have.You can learn anything that you put your mind to.

10. “You only live once and life is meant to be enjoyed!”

If there’s one thing I’m sure of is that true contentment and pleasure can only be found within the discomfort zone. You don’t achieve true happiness and fulfillment right away. It’s too precious to happen to anyone at any time. What you need to do first is embrace the chaos so that eventually you come to the peace.

Staying within your comfort zone seems enjoyable on the surface and that’s why most of the people never leave that perilous area. However, once you step into the unknown and do something you never did before, you realize you’ve been off base with that assumption. It seems that staying within your comfort zone means not risking anything. In reality, however, you risk the invaluable resource which time is. You risk wasting your whole life and missing out on the incredible taste of outstanding achievement. Please, don’t do it to yourself.

Featured photo credit: Helmuts Guigo via flickr.com

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Oskar Nowik

Oskar is a blogger and the author of "Brightening: The Positive Attitude That Will Change Your Life"

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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