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Practice These 10 Little Things If You Want To Step Out From Your Comfort Zone

Practice These 10 Little Things If You Want To Step Out From Your Comfort Zone

Stay in your comfort zone and nothing will ever happen! There will be no changes at all in your life, no self-improvement, no gaining new skills and experiences. You have reduced stress to a minimum and routine is king. Just go back to sleep and enjoy the warmth and security.

Now, when you wake up again, think about this. If you were to move out of your comfort zone, how would you feel? Well, a bit scared, hungry, tired and downright uncomfortable. And what would you gain from all that? You could be happier, more successful and much more confident for a start. Then you would be able to get your fears into perspective, boredom would deflate like a burst balloon, and excitement would become your new power drug.

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”- Brian Tracy

Now, let’s get started. Here are 10 small steps to help you get out of that stuffy comfort zone.

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1. Convert your anxiety into action

Too much anxiety can paralyze you. Too little can make you lethargic. Psychologists have identified the sweet spot which is somewhere in between. Practice identifying your fears and take action. The Nike slogan “Just do it” is a really great one.

2. Change your diet

Nothing drastic to start with. Maybe you need more energy and maybe you need to slim down. Get an app like My Fitness Pal which will tell you where you are going wrong. You can find a full list of apps here. Then eliminate the bad food gradually and start trying a new one every day or every week.

3. Try volunteering

Move out of your comfort zone and help others. Yes, it will be a bit strange and uncomfortable but the rewards are great. Watch the TED talk here by Mark Bezos who works in his spare time as a volunteer firefighter.

“If you have something to give, give it now.” – Mark Bezos

4. Break out of your routine

Look at how you do things and how you waste time. Is there a better way? Is the time you get up and what you do before breakfast set in stone by some merciless and fearful god? No! Start reading before you leave the house. That may mean getting up earlier but you will be amazed at the benefits.

5. Count the pennies

If you are on a tight budget, it may be time to keep a watchful eye on everything you spend. Leave your credit card at home and decide to pay for everything with cash. Try this for a few months and you will soon realize what you really need and what you can do without. You will be surprised at the savings you can make. These can go towards your next holiday.

6. Try not to be so shy

If you are like me, you will keep new social encounters to a minimum. It is the usual fear of venturing into new social territory. The next time, stay a little longer and you will discover that as you practice this regularly, the discomfort and unease will gradually disappear.

7. Set a new goal

If you want to get fit again, the enormity of the task will convince you it is just not worth it. Wrong again! Putting things off means they never get started, let alone completed. The secret is to write down some baby steps which will get you to that goal. Step one might be walking to the supermarket instead of taking the car. When you achieve that, move on to the next step. Celebrate each minor victory.

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8. Find a partner

No, not the usual soulmate till death us do part! This one is a bit more banal and you do not have to spend the rest of your life with them so it is a much more attractive proposition. Find a buddy to accompany you on those walks or visits to the gym. Find a friend to take along to a party when the socializing gets you down. If you do this, you have someone to share your goals with and also you have to be accountable. You will have to justify or explain why you did not achieve your goals. Your friend’s advice and support will help you to try again.

9. Do something scary

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”- Eleanor Roosevelt

Fear is locking you up and preventing you from discovering new opportunities and friendships. Make a list of your fears and then try to do at least one a week so that you are experiencing a little discomfort and anxiety. This can be anything from forcing yourself to speak up at a meeting (I hated that!) or offering to help someone with their errands. You will be glad you did and one of the rewards is greater confidence in yourself.

10. Time to get real

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”- Tim Ferris

Did you know that the more tough conversations you have, the more successful you are likely to be? I mean having frank conversations with a partner, friend or boss. This is the toughest one of all because we often build a wall of convenience around all our relationships. Deep down, there may be something that is making us unhappy or holding us back. Time to get real and talk this through with the person involved. This requires courage and when you do this, you are really moving out of your comfort zone.

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”- John Augustus Shedd

Featured photo credit: Bungee Jump, Interlaken- Switzerland/Alan Light via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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