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4 Excuses That Keep You From Breaking Out Of Your Comfort Zone

4 Excuses That Keep You From Breaking Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Ever feel as if you are hopelessly stuck in a rut? As if you can’t get what you want in life so you just settle for what you can get easily.

Or maybe you’ve just allowed yourself to become a creature of habit and you’ve settled into what’s familiar.

It may feel comfy for a while, but the sad fact is that most of our regrets in life come from making fear-based decisions instead of courageous ones. And if you’re stuck in your comfort zone, you’re probably doing just that.

Do you think that fear may be getting in the way of the life you really want? You’re certainly not alone.

Here are 4 of the most common excuses people make that keep them stuck in their comfort (actually merely “familiar”) zones that may be trapping you now.

Top Excuse #1: “I have fears that other people don’t.”

Okay, this is always going to be partially true.

For example, if you’re Justin Timberlake, you probably aren’t afraid of singing karaoke on Tuesday night at the Drunken Monkey. If you’re someone who isn’t used to singing? Well, sure you probably are scared.

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The thing is that JT has been performing professionally since he was a kid. But what if you asked him to play quarterback for the Patriots? He’d probably be nervous, and rightfully so. Why? It’s new to him! It’s out of his comfort zone. But imagine the thrill of dropping back into the pocket those first few times and completing some passes.

When you stretch yourself, you’re going to have some fears pop up – but you’ll also have that magic of novelty. Of testing your edges. Of breaking into something new.

Most people think confidence is some magical thing that some people just “have.” That may seem true, but it’s usually simply that those who seem confident merely have more experience and have gathered more internal and external positive feedback in what they’ve been doing. You can only achieve that if you stick a foot out of your familiar zone and start that cycle.

Everyone has fear when they do that, but every time you notch a small win, that fear starts to dissipate.

Top Excuse #2: “If I didn’t have fear, I could do what I wanted.”

Well sure, that sentiment seems to makes sense on the surface. On the other hand, it’s absurd.

You imagine that the only way to move forward into the life you want is to already have the confidence of having achieved your goals in the first place!

Have you ever seen a guy do a couple of shots before he walks up and talk to a girl? What they call “liquid courage?”

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Does alcohol help? Yeah, it might for a bit, but it’s cheating him out of real growth, of facing his fear on his own and stepping into the fire. Using a drug to mask your fear doesn’t help your develop the resilience to move through it.

The next time that guy wants to talk to a lovely young women, he’ll have grown not a jot. He’ll be exactly where he was before — and back to the shots. He won’t have developed his confidence or have handled his fear on his own.

Fear should never stop you from taking bold action in your life. There is only way through — and it’s direct.

Step into the fire of your fear. Or, as one book title says, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” You don’t need to be free of fear to make a bold move out of your comfort zone. You just need to step right though it.

And if you want to be authentic about it, feel free to say it out loud: “Hi, I saw you from across the room and you look so sweet and beautiful. I wanted to come and introduce myself — and I’m actually kind of nervous about it.”

She may be impressed with your honesty. The next time you do it, you’ll notice that your old nervousness isn’t coming up like it used to.

Top Excuse #3: “I need more self-esteem before I do what I want.”

Again, the only way to develop self-esteem is to prove to yourself that you can act in the face of your fear!

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Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’re at karaoke, terrified to sing, and you decide to go up there anyway. What’s the worst that can happen? Say you are terrible, then Lady Gaga rolls in and kills it! Does that suddenly make you a worse person? No! It means you’ve just sung on the same stage as Lady Gaga.

It’s all how you decide to frame it. You can always frame things to highlight your faults or your attributes.

You didn’t get dumped by your ex, you got out of a dead-end relationship and are free to find the right person for you.

Self-esteem develops when you do your best and you see that you come out alive on the other side. Even if you didn’t bring down the house, you get to have the accomplishment of having done your best, which is all you can ever do.

Self-esteem means that you say to yourself “I am worthy” because of you who you are, not because of the quality of your accomplishments.

Top Excuse #4: “I’ll just do it next time.”

So often, you are close to making the leap out of your comfort zone. There you stand, so close, on the edge, one foot out, and then you pull back saying, “I’m just not quite ready.” Maybe you think you need to study a little more. Or practice a little more. Or follow the no-contact rule for a couple more weeks. Or double-check your notes. Or say your affirmations first.

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And you start justifying, “It’s no big difference if I wait a few days or weeks or years longer.”

But it is a big difference. Again, the big benefit of acting now rather than making excuses is that (1) you get the experience of taking a risk, (2) you get to learn from your risk-taking and get wiser, and (3) you get to feel higher self-esteem because you’ve leapt where others may have faltered.

You want send signals to your brain that though the world is a dangerous place, you have the courage and decisiveness to act in the face of your fear.

The alternative is to send an emotionally abusive signal to your brain that you are weak and scared and that the world is a more powerful force than your own will.

This mindset will keep you cowering in your comfort zone forever. Nothing great ever happens without courage.

When you do take that jump out of the tight constrictions of your comfort zone, you will not only build your resilience, self-esteem, courage, and confidence, but you are also likely to feel the thrill of adventure, of being alive.

And you get to love your courage, and yourself, regardless of the results.

Featured photo credit: Dan Cooper via stokpic.com

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Nick Bastion

Love Expert, Relationship Coach, Author

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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