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How to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone: 3 Helpful Habits

Step 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

“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.

Why?

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.

Image by Graham (license).

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • suzan

    hi dear henrik .trying new things help us to feel alive .making new experiences is a wonderfull tip .
    i wish the best for you.
    thanks

  • KARAN NAIDU

    JUST WOW BRO FROM THE PROPLE OF JABALPUR,MADHYA PRADESH,INDIA.

  • Bruno Conti

    Thank you!

  • Ugh, I HATE stepping outside of my comfort zone … and in that way I’m unique among humans, I know. I read these tips a few days ago and tried some of them, and just had to come back to say how helpful they were. I started listening to music I don’t normally listen to, and it definitely gave me a jolt to do something I don’t often do. I also went a different way on my walk and picked up a book that’s not like me. It really is making a difference, and allowing me to do other, scarier things in life. Weird how effective baby steps can be! Thank you. :)

  • Great article! Stepping out of my comfort zone has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, but I have. In the last year I started my own blog http://dreamsthatinspire.blogspot.ca as a source of inspiration for others as well as myself. The challenge is remaining committed and consistent. It’s one thing to step out of your comfort zone, it’s another thing to stay outside your comfort zone!

  • Just like any thing else, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable takes practice. Doing small things everyday to get out of your comfort zone is the best way to do this. A simple way to put this into practice is to try taking cold showers, for example, instead of hot ones. If you’re feeling really adventurous, try taking the 30-day cold shower challenge. It’s a great way to get into the habit of doing things that scare you.

  • Great article…….you can only make magic being outside your comfort zone! All Leaders in Education and Educators themselves need to take small steps out of their comfort zones.Steps to make magic in the lives of children,our future.

  • Henrik,

    Thanks for what you do with the PB!

    I think it is important to step out of your comfort zone often, and your article is an excellent reminder of that.

    I especially like your point about mixing the small things up often because I feel that a lot of times people feel as if they have to go big to experience something unique. This is simply not true. By tweaking the ways that we do the little things, we can learn new things about ourselves.

    I am believer that you can have a new, fresh experience in your own backyard, and you don’t have to travel around the world. It’s simply about being creative and experimenting!

    Have a great day and thanks again!

    Jeremy

  • Henrik, you nailed this one :). Maybe it isn’t that important to fix yourself on “making positive changes” – I think it’s just “changes” you have to keep on making. Whether or not they are positive will show up itself with some time. Everything may not always be in our hands, but I’m trying to remember what a classmate told me in our high school senior year: “Real life, with its ups and downs, begins at the end of your comfort zone” :)

  • Trace

    Trying new things also helps with confidence building: http://www.behappyzone.com/increase-self-confidence-building.html
    The more you do, the more you feel you can do, and then stepping out of your comfort zone will seem more natural. I completely agree with taking small steps. It sounds silly at first that just by starting to smile more at people will begin to make you feel more positive but I think it works. And leads you to take more and more steps toward feeling better about yourself and the world. Love your articles. Thank you.

  • Hello Henrik
    I just signed up for your letter a few weeks ago and really enjoy it. I must say at times I have a P.H.D. in procrastination and I am introverted, so its very hard for me to step out of my comfort zone. I have been trying to overcome this and will using your ideas, thanks for the info.

  • Susan

    like it is,”a journey of a thousand steps is began with the first step”.It is therefore important to change our lives stepwise and not drastically.

    Thanks Henrik.

  • Thank you everyone for your kind comments and for sharing your own insights on moving out of the comfort zone! :)

  • Getting out of our comfort zones is the only way to properly experience life, but it’s a scary step to take. I say go for it but at your own pace. Every person is completely different to the next so what works for one may not necessarily work for someone else. It IS the only way to live life fully though;)

  • comfort zone is a trap
    it’s feel good, but is a trap