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4 Ways to Leave your Comfort Zone and Achieve the Impossible

4 Ways to Leave your Comfort Zone and Achieve the Impossible

Have you ever wondered how some people achieve the greatest heights of success while others remain trapped in mediocrity through their entire lives? Why is it that only some get to taste the highest levels of success while the others, despite their consistent efforts do not? All these people, whom you call as achievers have one thing in common, they never settled for anything less than best, whether it meant for them to leave the comforts and the good life. If you want to achieve the impossible, it is essential first to lose the love for comfort.

Why the comfort zone is bad for you

For most of the people, their ultimate goal is to lead a comfortable life. All their hard work and efforts are directed towards achieving a comfortable and easy lifestyle. Their goal is to earn enough money so as not to have to worry about the different needs of life and rightly so. Until you have the bare necessities of life there will be less focus on fulfilling bigger things. However, if you view your life in the hindsight it would be easy to realize that the biggest accomplishments came when you were completely out of your comfort zone. The parts of the life when you decided that enough is enough, and decided to leave all the comforts behind were the parts where you actually grew, either in your career or personal life.

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Comfort is the enemy of growth. As soon as you start sliding in the comfort zone, you become averse to risks and get satisfied with the status quo. This makes you blind to many outstanding opportunities which then go to some other person who makes the most of them. Sure, you might be doing well for yourself right now, but if you get comfortable with ‘good enough’, chances are you will never rise beyond and become great.

People who become comfortable with their surroundings let go of opportunities to explore the unknown. For instance, an employee who has adapted to a particular company’s work culture, made some good friends there and is satisfied with what he is paid will rarely think twice before letting go of a chance to sit for an interview with another company. The reasons are simple enough, he or she will find it uncomfortable to adjust in a new environment, make new friends and work under a new boss. All these things will make him anxious, and anxiety is not a pleasant feeling. That employee will always crib about how slow his career growth is but won’t accept that it’s his love for the comfort zone, which is preventing him from taking things to the next level. Sure, there is risk involved, but how often in your life have you accomplished something substantial without taking any real risk? Chances are; not very often.

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Failure is a discomforting thought but that’s actually the trigger of success. Until you do not risk failing, you will not put the efforts to face the unexpected. Although no one wants to remain anxious perennially, but we often need a little bit of anxiety to push us and improve our performance.

How to get out of the comfort zone?

The only thing that holds you back from achieving the impossible is your own affinity towards comfort. You need to step out and break the convention. There are a number of ways you can step outside your comfort zone and grow beyond the self-created boundaries.

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1. Review and revise your daily routine

The first thing that you need to change is your daily routine which was made to suit your current lifestyle. Until or unless you make changes to this routine, it will not be easy to push yourself to step out of the realm of comfort. Initially, it need not be a very big change, as even subtle differences can be enough to initiate a shift in your perspective. When these small changes become a habit, you can easily push for the bigger goals.

2. Take baby steps towards your goal

Maybe you are tired of your bully boss and want to get a new job somewhere else but are too lazy to try. Maybe the thought of a new environment, new colleagues and a new boss makes you anxious. However, if you really want to achieve your goal you need to start with small steps towards achieving it. It could be either reaching out to people in your professional networks, getting acquainted with them on various public forums, upgrading your work related skills or enhancing your ability to communicate effectively. All these are small steps towards achieving the required confidence to face any situation, any boss or any colleague at your new workplace.

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3. Do not be afraid of failures

Whatever be the outcome, look forward to it. Our biggest enemy is the fear of failure which keeps us from crossing the self-created boundaries. However, if you want to achieve something you should go for it regardless of the result. Getting out of the comfort zone was never about succeeding the very first time, it was more about getting rid of your fear of failure, and allowing yourself to grow, no matter what the initial outcome may be.

4. Try new things, Meet new people

Doing new things opens up mind to new perspectives and ways of thinking which we might not have considered earlier. Similarly, meeting new people it broadens our horizon and introduces us to new methods of achieving the same thing. Sometimes, it’s not what we do, but how we do it that makes the whole difference. Listening to stories of other people will certainly reduce the anxiety associated with exploring the unknown and provide the required inspiration.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Saurabh Tyagi

Career Author and Technology Evangelist

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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 –

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  • (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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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