Do you want to get out of your comfort zone? Congratulations! That’s awesome. Stepping out of your comfort zone is where growth occurs. According to Neale Donald Walsch, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
Staying in your comfort zone feels safe and secure. Getting out of it requires admitting we’re not satisfied, pushing past procrastination, setting goals, and learning new things. It requires us to break out of the invisible barrier that holds us back from reaching our full potential and living the life of our dreams.
Getting out of your comfort zone can feel risky, but I believe it’s a much bigger risk to do nothing. When you think ahead and picture your life years from now, and picture yourself at the same job, doing roughly the same weekly routine, year after year, are you happy? Does that make you super excited? Or does it fill you with dread? Is it exciting, or is it boring? If picturing your life ahead makes you feel stuck and frustrated, it’s time to shake things up.
Here are 5 steps to take when you want to break free from your comfort zone.
1. Surround yourself with inspiring people
Who you hang out with greatly influences you. The people you surround yourself with can affect your habits, your attitude, and your willingness to step out of your comfort zone. One of my absolute most favorite quotes is by Jim Rohn, who says: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Want to skyrocket your progress toward your huge goals? Surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do. Get out of your house and go connect with these people.
If you don’t know anyone in your personal life who is doing what you aspire to do, you’re still in luck. There are millions of online forums for people working toward achieving certain goals. There are thousands of books in your local bookstore you can read about inspiring people. The first step is learning and setting your goals!
2. Challenge your body
Challenging yourself physically is one of the best ways to start getting out of your comfort zone. The confidence you gain by setting goals for yourself physically and then achieving them is amazing and can transfer into many other areas of your life. When you prove to yourself you really can lose the 30 extra pounds you’ve lugged around for years, or run that race, you’ll start realizing you truly can do awesome things.
Setting physical goals for yourself teaches you self-discipline, proves to yourself you can kick that procrastination habit, and helps you feel better about yourself. When you feel your best, you can be your best, and you’ll be more likely to step out of your comfort zone in other areas of your life. Not only that, but exercise has other benefits: it causes the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones. Who doesn’t need some of those? (As always, have your physician give you the okay before starting an exercise program).
3. Take tiny steps
Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be something totally dramatic. The key is to practice taking small steps out of your comfort zone every day. Here’s a one-week action plan of small steps to help you break out of your comfort zone. When you start regularly taking tiny steps out of your comfort zone, you’ll build the confidence and momentum to take more steps out of your comfort zone.
Just keep taking one small step per day to stretch yourself out of your invisible barrier.
4. Focus on others
With every conversation you have, focus on what the other person is saying. When you’re constantly worrying about how you look, what the other person thinks of you, and what you want to say, you’re really not listening at all. Focusing on learning about the other person in every conversation will make you a better communicator and take some pressure off of you.
Focusing on others can help you take steps forward with your big dreams, too. When you have an ambitious goal, it’s easy to get trapped in many fears: What if I fail? What will they think of me? What if I’m not smart enough? When you find yourself stuck in your comfort zone due to fear, work on changing your thoughts. Instead of feeding into the “What if this doesn’t work out and everything in my entire life falls apart….” mindset, try saying, “I have a great idea. As scary as it is to start a new business, the world could greatly benefit from my product, and I can help many people if I work toward the goal of launching my new business.”
5. Fake it until you become it
As Amy Cuddy says, “Fake it until you become it.” If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to watch Amy Cuddy’s TedTalk on Body Language. Her research found that doing very simple “power poses” for just 2 minutes significantly changes our hormone levels, leading to increased confidence. Check out the Ted Talk to see how to do these poses. They are very simple, but as weird as it sounds, they can literally change your life. Faking it until you become it can help give you the confidence you need to break out of your comfort zone.
When you act small, and hide in the “security” of your comfort zone, you aren’t impacting the world like you could be. It’s time to get out of your comfort zone and start playing big.
Featured photo credit: should i?/EladeManu via flickr.com