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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 October 20, 2020

10 Principles for Success to Start Living Your Dream Life

10 Principles for Success to Start Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career? If you’re ready to take responsibility for your life, then you need to tap into some principles for success.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their passion and purpose way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you reach your goals and live a rich life on your terms.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand[1].

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work[2].

Give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life and help you focus on goal setting.

2. Focus on Your Strengths

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

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Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

To use this principle for success, take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it. Is it what you really want? If it’s what you really want to be doing, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP, the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life, it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut[3].

Silencing your inner critic is one of the best principles for success.

    To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

    This is one of the principles for success that will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

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    5. Embrace Your Inner Self

    Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid people will find out how odd or strange we are. However, our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths.

    Odds are that you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

    • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
    • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
    • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

    The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward. Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

    Here’s How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment.

    6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

    I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you, but you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

    To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

    Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

    A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

    Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

    Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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    7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

    Pretend I’m your fairy godmother, and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

    What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

    8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

    Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time[4].

    Furthermore, a Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere[5].

    What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

    These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

    9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

    Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

    This is one of the most powerful principles for success for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

    Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

    “You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

    To learn more about how to get off autopilot and take specific actions towards your goals, check out this video:

    10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

    Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

    Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

    You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, and you can succeed again.

    Final Thoughts

    Eleanor Roosevelt said,

    “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

    Following these principles for success will help you find the time and energy to achieve your goals and live with clear intention.

    Stand still, get quiet, and listen. Your life is constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rock star potential in life and business. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

    More About Success in Life

    Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

    Reference

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