“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
John Augustus Shedd
People often get stuck in mostly discussing or reading about making positive changes. Instead of spending that time and effort on actually making the changes they want in life.
One big reason in my experience is simply that it is uncomfortable to step outside of your own comfort zone.
So what can you do about it?
In this article I’d like to share three habits that have helped me to make it easier to step outside of my own comfort zone and to make real changes in my life.
1. Mix the small things up. Often.
This is an easy to do habit you can use every day if you like.
You can for example:
- Try new music. Listen to music that you wouldn't usually listen to or have never heard before on Spotify or a similar service.
- Eat something new. We try to cook from at least one new recipe each week. It often makes for an interesting experience, a tasty treat for the taste buds and has helped us to find many, many new favorites in the past few years.
- Read something your friends wouldn't guess you would read. It can give you many new ideas and open your mind up to new perspectives.
- Take another path home. Instead of taking the usual route home from work, school or a friend’s house take another path and see something new even if you are in transport mode.
Mixing things up in these small ways every day or several times a week will help you to change you perception of yourself from someone who likes to stick to the good old comfortable to someone who is curious and likes to try new things out and to step outside the comfort zone quite often.
And the very nice thing about that change is that it make it easier and makes it feel more natural to mix things up in other areas of life and to take steps outside of your comfort zone when it comes to bigger things than what to eat for dinner too.
2. Take small steps forward.
Making big changes can feel so scary that you start to procrastinate and so no action is taken towards what you want.
So instead, take just one small step forward. And if you come up with a small step but it still leads to procrastination then find an even smaller step and take action on that one.
If you want to get into better shape then focus on going out running or lifting weights for just 5 or 10 minutes a week at first.
If you want to improve your social skills then focus on just smiling and being kind towards one or a few people a day. Or simply have one small conversation a day where you are fully listening and focusing on the other person for a few minutes.
If you want to write and start selling your own e-book or course online but it seems daunting then do what I did. Take a smaller step and just create a very short e-book to give a way for free to new subscribers.
Take one small step after another to make the uncomfortable feelings manageable so you can keep moving forward and towards what you want out of life.
3. Bring a friend along.
A friend to keep you accountable to stick with it and to keep going outside of your comfort zone is a great way to make it more likely that the change you want to make will last.
So if you are going to a party where you know few people then it may be easier to bring a friend. Otherwise it may feel so uncomfortable to go that you skip it and spend your evening doing something else.
If you have decided to start going to the gym it is often easier to actually get going and to keep going there every week if you have a gym-partner that will give you a nudge forward on the days when you feel like just staying on the couch and watching TV.
And in my experience, having a friend that also wants to start eating healthier can make it a lot easier to stick with it until the new habit becomes the new normal for you.