3 Small Habits That Will Help You to Move Out of Your Comfort Zone

“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

I believe that one of the biggest reasons why people get stuck in reading and discussing things instead of taking action to change their lives for the better is simply that it is uncomfortable.

But to make real changes in your life you have to step outside your comfort zone. At least for a little while. And regularly.

In this article I’ll share three habits that have helped me to make it easier to step out the comfort zone.

Develop a habit of mixing things up.

This is an easy and simple way to expand your comfort zone and to keep your curiousness up.

  • Try new music. I mix things up by trying new music every month. I have a look at the best music on sites like Pitchfork and Metacritic. Then I load a few of those albums on Spotify and listen.
  • Try new food. Each week we try cooking a new recipe from our cook books. It is most often a tasty experiment and helps us to find, sometimes unexpected, new favorites.

Such small habits allow you to keep from getting stuck in the same old rut. It allows you to discover a ton of new exciting things. And it’s just plain fun.

And by changing your perception of yourself from someone who sticks to the old and comfortable all the time to someone who likes to mix small and big things up it feels more natural to mix things up in any other area of life too. You break out of your comfort zone regularly and so the inner resistance and fear that things will not go well becomes a lot smaller in everyday life.

Develop a habit of doing something in small steps.

What holds us back in our zone of comfort is often a fear that facing that fear head on all at once might be overwhelming. Taking small steps is a solution to that problem. It allows you to stretch your comfort zone and slowly making it less uncomfortable and frightening.

  • Become more social. Let’s say you want to be less nervous and awkward in social situations. To solve that you can take small steps. Steps like first just saying hi to people. And being more involved in conversations at work or in school to exercise your conversation muscles. After a while those things will feel more comfortable. And so you can expand your comfort zone a little bit more.
  • Become more effective. You can start with just working 1 hour a day fully focused on your most important tasks in cone of silence (this means to shut out and shut off all distractions like the internet, the phone, the door to your office etc. as best you can). And then go back to your normal routine. The next week you can add an hour and work two fully focused hours a day. Step by step you build a more powerful habit that may feel uncomfortable at first.
  • Create something new. When I was going to start making my own products I was hesitant. I was just used to writing blog posts and putting together a whole book seemed like fun but was definitely outside of my comfort zone. So I took a small step and put together a smaller e-book at first that I give away for free to new newsletter subscribers.

By doing things this way you gradually desensitize yourself to social situations, to a new way of working or whatever you are uncomfortable with. You make it the new “normal” for you.

So, identify where you want to go or how you want to improve your life. Then make a plan with some smaller steps you can take to gradually lessen your discomfort.

Develop a habit of letting other people help you by keeping you accountable.

Being accountable to someone else is one of the most effective ways to push yourself out of comfort zones and stick with what you are doing until it becomes a new habit.

So find someone else who wants to improve in the same area as you. Or just someone who wants to improve something in his or her life and wants an accountability buddy. Then keep an eye on each other and support each other. Nudge each other in the right direction and let a bit of positive social pressure work in your favor.

If you cannot find an accountability buddy simply make the accountability public in some way. Post about your new goal or the habit you want to develop on Facebook, on your blog or tell family and friends. Or start a thread about your progress with getting into better shape on a fitness forum or on a forum related to what you want to achieve.

A few examples:

  • At the gym. If you have decided to start going to the gym it might be easier to actually get going and keeping going there every week – even after the initial enthusiasm have dissipated – if you have a gym-partner.
  • At the party. If you want to meet new people at a party then you and friend can nudge each other in the right direction. Keep each other’s mood up and go in with an open frame of mind and just have new conversations with people. Assuming rapport can be helpful if you want to do that.
  • When you want to lose weight. The diet is, in my experience, the most important thing and often the most difficult thing to not cheat too much on when you are losing weight. It becomes easier to stick with the program and not go off the rails when you have a weights loss partner – someone with similar goals – or someone you can be accountable to. Someone who nudges you back on track when you are having a bad day and want to devour a lot junk food. Someone who will tell you that it is not your weekly cheat day quite yet.

Start with one of these habits. Use that one habit as much as you can for 30 days or more until it really becomes a ingrained habit in your life.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • great article!
    Definitely, the major reason that people are not making progress and not achieving the success they deserve is that the comfort zone is so comfortable.
    It’s a great idea to break getting out of it by chunking it down and even feeling comfortable outside of your comfort zone

  • Hey Henrik,

    I too believe that being held accountable is very important. Aside from knowing that other people also know your intentions, they can also be of help during those times when you feel like giving up.


    • Absolutely, that accountability is so helpful on days when you feel like not taking action or just feel like giving up.

  • Great article. As with all of these types of things, the small steps all add up.

    I’ve been doing a lot of this stuff myself recently (fitness schedule, new foods, little social habits) so it’s nice to know that I am going in the right direction.


    • Thanks! Yes, those small steps might not look like much if you look at them separately but if you add them up you get a lot of progress. Sounds like you have a good thing going there.

  • Life begins outside of our comfort zone.

    • Yes, life can really expand a whole lot if you just step outside of your comfort zone.

  • Henrik: I thought this was a great post and message. It really is important to get out of your comfort zone. I thought your advice was really great to take small steps and to break the process of staying in your comfort zone simply by doing things you wouldn’t ordinarily do. All really great stuff. Thanks for the advice.

  • Avoiding getting uncomfortable is just a lot easier but won’t get us anywhere much or allow us to experience more exciting things. Starting with the “small steps” has helped a lot. Thanks for this reminder Henrik. Just discovered your blog :)

  • Great article. I especially agree with the point about creating something new. This really gets us out of our comfort zones. And do it in small steps so you don’t overwhelm yourself too quickly.


  • Briana

    I firmly believe we become more open-minded and less judging of other people if we regularly step out of our comfort zone and expand our general mindset.

    Thanks for great tips!

  • Some habits are good (regular exercise) other less so (eating chips in front of the TV most nights) and others are less clear to many (is not believing in yourself a bad habit or personality flaw?). The key is to aim for what’s our own best which will only activate our highest talents and finest habits. Another excellently crafted ‘straight-to-the-point-positivity’ post Henrik.

    • Thank you very much for the input, John. I always enjoy reading your comments, they are insightful and make me think.

  • Getting out of the comfort zone may feel like resistance at first, but the great thing is that once you get passed that stage, you find that the results were all worth it, and you become a new person filled with much success!

    • Yep. You just have to get through that resistance and you’ll find new aspects of yourself and life.

  • Hi,
    If you keep doing the same things you will get the same results. Yes, if you want to start changing your results/outcomes, make a step outside your zone…..you might start to like it.
    Be good to yourself

    • Very true, it may seem scary but it is also exciting and often a lot of fun.

  • Hi Henrik,

    Yes – Comfort Zones are just SO comforting that most people stay in them. A bit like staying in bed! – Out of your comfort zone is a touch scarey but allows for growth and learning. Like you said that needs to be exercised regularly. I believ that too, a bit like a muscle being developed. Thanks for an inspiring read. best wishes Monica

  • Punita

    Hi Henrik,

    A short and simple post with loads of inspiration to step out of one’s cosy shell.


  • This reminds me of Einstein’s defintion of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Because although it’s so hard to implement, you’re so right about making a change basically… being the catalyst for change. Enjoyed this post.

  • Henrik, this is a great post. I know that I am certainly out of my comfort zone when I jog/run, but I’ve been doing that for over a year now. I recently celebrated my “one year anniversary” running 5K races, and now I have my sights set on a half marathon. Thanks for the encouraging post!

    • Thank you for the kind words and well done with the running! Best of luck with your half marathon!