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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
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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.

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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 July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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