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These 10 Things Will Happen When You Start Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

These 10 Things Will Happen When You Start Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

The comfort zone. That safe place that makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside. It’s comforting, it’s familiar and it’s somewhere that the majority of human beings choose to place themselves. But in choosing to loiter within this zone for a large portion of our lives, we are effectively robbing ourselves of spontaneity, excitement, and–most importantly–we are denying ourselves the opportunity to follow our dreams. Here are ten reasons why placing a foothold outside of your comfort zone could be the singularly most important thing that you can do for yourself:

1. You’ll learn how routine can rob you of spontaneity

We all have a routine of some sort, whether it’s adapting your life to the demands and confines of a 9-5 lifestyle or molding your life around the daily demands of your family. The question we have to ask ourselves is are we slaves to our routines? Some level of routine is necessary in life and can keep us safe from the swirl of chaos. However, in allowing ourselves to be slaves to our routines, we effectively close the door on spontaneity and excitement. After all, if we do what we always did, we’ll get what we always got.

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2. You’ll open yourself up to new and exciting opportunities

By stepping outside of your comfort zone, you step into the unknown. This can be scary but it’s really where the magic happens. Think about the last fun and spontaneous adventure that happened to you. You didn’t see it coming, but when it arrived it’s likely that it thrilled you to some extent. When we simply let go and try new things we open ourselves up to new opportunities we had no idea even existed.

3. You’ll discover a reservoir of inner strength

Nobody likes feeling uncomfortable, but sometimes in life it is necessary. People often say after they experience something that they were afraid to try that they didn’t know they had it in them. When we push ourselves into unfamiliar territory we tend to learn the most about ourselves. We learn that we are stronger and infinitely more capable than we ever imagined and when we get this memo it can fill us with an unshakeable confidence.

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4. You’ll learn that dreams can become a reality

We all remember the dreams we had as children, but far too often these dreams fade into the background as we mature and the realities of life take over. Oftentimes these dreams can seem outlandish in the harsh light of day, but it’s important to know that these dreams are simply the kernels of our desire. A spark, an idea. Yet if we choose to step out of our own way and begin to take a footstep in the direction of these dreams, we begin to see that we can make them a reality.

5. You’ll learn to conquer your fears

Taking any type of risk in life is scary. Since the world outside your comfort zone is effectively an unknown quantity, stepping outside of it can feel a little jarring at first. Think about the last thing you did that scared you, whether public speaking, starting a new hobby or traveling the world. Then think about how this made you feel afterwards, perhaps the word euphoria comes to mind. When we do something that scares us, we learn that there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

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6. You’ll wonder why it took so long to make the leap

Stepping into new territory–whether starting a new business, quitting your job or ending a relationship–can feel strange initially. You might feel vulnerable or insecure. However once these jitters wear off and you begin to hit your stride you might start to question why on earth it took you so long. Much like riding a rollercoaster, the anticipation can oftentimes be worse than the actual ride.

7. You’ll no longer tolerate the status quo

Once you decide to step out of your comfort zone, there’s usually no stepping back. The fears and anxieties that seemed so debilitating bubbling around the confines of your brain don’t seem quite so scary when they are realized. You might even ask yourself what you were so afraid of in the first place. Your old way of life won’t seem quite so appealing once you’ve faced your fears and you may make a commitment to yourself never to play small again.

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8. You’ll learn to rock the boat, and like it

When you take chances in life and push yourself in a new direction, certain people in your life might not like it. In busting out of your zone, it can reflect back on others that they are unhappy with their lives yet unwilling to change it. Rather than take accountability for this, some people might become angry, hurt or confused by your actions. Misery loves company and if you decide you don’t want to be miserable anymore you might think twice about maintaining relationships with those that don’t support your dreams.

9. You’ll welcome new people and experiences into your life

In pushing out of your comfort zone, you open yourself up to new experiences and new people. When you stay stuck or actively control all aspects of your life to make yourself feel safe, you are effectively closing the door on new opportunities. Even by taking small steps, such as joining a book club or signing up to a new gym, you open yourself up to the path of possibility. That new gym buddy could turn into one of your best friends who brings a fresh perspective on life that gives you the courage to take even bigger steps in life.

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10. Your life will change

If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you’ve never done. Stepping into new possibilities requires trusting that things will work out for your highest good. However big or small the steps you choose to take, one thing is certain, your life will change. To quote Neale Donald Walsh, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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