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5 Steps You Should Take If You No Longer Want To Stay In Your Comfort Zone

5 Steps You Should Take If You No Longer Want To Stay In Your Comfort Zone

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.”

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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

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Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on July 15, 2020

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

“Entitlement is an expression of conditional love. Nobody is ever entitled to your love. You always have a right to protect your mental, emotional, and physical well-being by removing yourself from toxic people and circumstances.” -Dr. Janice Anderson & Kiersten Anderson

It’s not always obvious if you have someone toxic in your life. A toxic relationship is one that is harmful to you. A toxic person can create distress to the degree you feel inadequate and isolated. So, what makes a toxic person?

A toxic person has toxic behavior, meaning it’s not that the whole person is toxic[1]. It’s what they do that counts. Most toxic people run from accountability and misrepresent reality to you. They misrepresent your worth and your ability to heal from them can be stifled the longer you keep them in your life. You have a role to play with it as well; if your values are dismissed by them and you don’t act on it, you have allowed room for toxicity to grow.

When you are in a toxic relationship, you feel less than. You feel as though you are not worth anyone’s time or effort. You feel unheard, and sometimes you feel unsafe. You don’t feel good about yourself in a toxic relationship, whether it be with a partner, friend, or family member.

You may stay in a toxic relationship for a number of reasons. You may believe yourself to be a burden, have a lack of boundaries, resist change, fear conflict, try to be a people pleaser, find yourself codependent, or are partially stuck in a pattern or unhealthy cycle of abuse.

Letting go of toxic people may not be easy. In order to do so, you have to know why or how they are toxic to you and read between the lines that they do not have your best interests in mind.

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Letting go of toxic people is hard because you are good and want to see the good in others. You think their apologies are authentic. You have trouble believing they are being dishonest. You don’t spend time healing from it. You get pulled back into the pain because you don’t want it to end. However, if you feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t right.

You should walk away from a toxic person because you need to preserve your peace. You need to feel like yourself again. And you need better support.

Letting go of toxic people can involve four major steps.

1. Recognize the Red Flags

Red flags are signs a person is being toxic. It’s when someone shows characteristics that you should feel caution about. It’s when you feel any level of dissatisfaction and distrust. Trust your gut. When you recognize red flags, you can evaluate whether a person is trying to manipulate you or not. This gives you some level of control over what you allow in your life. The earlier you detect these behaviors, the better off you will be.

Red flags can include:

  • They always put themselves first.
  • They point out imperfections and sabotage your self-esteem.
  • You may feel drained or used when you’re around them.
  • What you give isn’t reciprocated. They don’t return the goodness you provide as a friend.
  • They ignore your boundaries and get angry when you tell them “no.”
  • You catch them in half truths or outright lies when you confront them about anything.
  • You are the villain; they are the victim.
  • Second chances always lead to repeated patterns of behavior.
  • They may engage in abuse.

2. Set Boundaries

There are emotional boundaries that one can set, but there are also physical ones[2]. You can leave any time. Setting boundaries is also an important part of self-care.

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You shouldn’t walk on eggshells. Tell them how you feel. Are they respecting you, fulfilling your needs, and listening to you? If not, it’s time to set up a healthy emotional distance and start letting go of toxic people around you.

There are levels to this. You have your inner circle, which could include family, and then you have acquaintances and strangers. If a toxic person is in your inner circle, it’s time to pull back and put up some boundaries for them to follow. If they can’t hear you out, you can cut off the connection completely.

You can give second chances, but you have to be careful. If someone knows they can get away with something, they will do it again. If there’s any chance for the relationship, they have to know not to cross certain lines.

3. Invest in Yourself

You deserve to know you are worthwhile. Try to remember that things will get better and that anything is possible. How do you do so? Invest in yourself.

This means self care, goal setting, surrounding yourself with positive support, and feeling a sense of peace. Your greatest ambition should be to love yourself. Without self-love, letting go of toxic people will be difficult.

Every relationship is a risk, but if you know yourself and what you will allow, toxic people will have less of a hold over you. If you are a giver or people pleaser, you are most at risk to being in a one-sided relationship. You shouldn’t be punished for caring, but sometimes trust needs to be earned. If you have self-love, you are treating yourself the best way possible. You know that others need to meet your standards; otherwise, they don’t get to be a part of your life.

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It’s possible that you can love yourself and still not see the signs. It can be difficult for some to be aware that toxic people exist. However,, if you know how much you mean to others in your life and what you are worth, you will be less likely to take on a relationship that is harmful to you or repeat negative patterns. Self-love is how we get out of toxic relationships, but it’s also how they never begin.

4. Know When Forgiveness Is Possible

There are times a person will prove their worth to you. They may make a mistake that makes them seem like a horrible person. They may forget to be good to you because of their own issues. They may just have no example of what a healthy relationship looks like. They may have an inflated ego that really comes from insecurity. The list goes on.

If they apologize, that’s a start. Look at their actions. Are they changing for the better because they really want to change or just seeming to in order to manipulate you? A person may control others with their image or perceived personality, but if you see through them, you may be able to discern the degree to which they are willing to be there for you.

If they start to do the right thing, you may begin to trust them again. Don’t start forgiving them until time has passed and you are sure there is growth, even if they show vulnerability or remorse. You can give a second chance if they truly have an awakening. Otherwise, it’s best to get out. Don’t let them walk all over you; let them walk out the door.

If you do give a second change and they still refuse to change, you have every right to remove them and continue the process of letting go of toxic people. The moment you even want to leave may also be a good time to get out. You don’t have to compromise yourself in order to care for them.

Forgiveness is the release of resentment or anger[3]. Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation. You have to go back to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from someone. You don’t have to let them back in. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

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Remember, forgiveness is ultimately for you, not them. You don’t need that person in your life in order to forgive them, and if you give them a second chance, proceed with caution.

Final Thoughts

Recognize the red flags, set boundaries, invest in yourself, and know when forgiveness is possible. This is how you cope with a toxic person impacting your life. You have power in the direction of your life and the people who accompany you as you move forward. Use it.

If a person is worthwhile, they will prove themselves through their actions, not their words. If they cross certain lines that really harm you, you owe them nothing. You have every right to feel what you feel and to be upset. Honor your feelings and communicate them because it’ll only continue to keep happening if you don’t.

If this is happening to you, it’s time to put a stop to it. It’s time to take control. It’s time to live for yourself, not for what others say about you. It’s time to set your standards higher than they’ve ever been before. And most of all, it’s time to let go.

Resource reminder: A physically abusive relationship is ALWAYS toxic. There are resources for you. Always speak up.

If you are in such a cycle or domestic violence or abuse reach out for help. For example, there is The National Domestic Violence Hotline (https://www.thehotline.org/) which can be reached at 1−800−799−7233. There are other ways to get help if you simply ask for it. 

More Tips on Letting Go of Toxic People

Featured photo credit: Hannah Busing via unsplash.com

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