Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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?”

Advertising

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!

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

Nick Bastion

Love Expert, Relationship Coach, Author

These Are The Best Things To Do When He’s Not Treating You Like A Priority 5 Fundamentals of Body Language to Increase Your Success in Life 4 Excuses That Keep You From Breaking Out Of Your Comfort Zone 5 Behaviors That Could Be Killing Your Confidence and How to Avoid Them The 5 Best Scientifically Proven Ways to Lose Belly Fat

Trending in Lifestyle

1 How to Get the Best Deep Sleep (And Why It’s Important) 2 How to Practice Meditation for Anxiety and Stress Relief 3 How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 4 12 Sad Things That You Should Learn to Be Grateful For Instead 5 7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

Advertising

  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

Advertising

Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

Advertising

As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

Advertising

9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

Read Next