Creating a life that uses systems and processes to increase productivity and achieve goals is quite comfortable. This is considered the comfort zone, where work, school, appointments, activities, meals - most things run the same day after day without giving much thought to it.
While living in your comfort zone is, well, comfortable, it oftentimes offers few challenges that help you grow and live life to the fullest. This isn’t to say you aren’t successful. It just means you may not accomplish all you are capable of. The comfort zone may block your mind from seeing new ideas, information, and action-taking possibilities.
If your income is not consistently increasing and your network is not becoming more powerful, your confidence may not be growing either, even as you become more successful. As a result, you can get stuck in reaction mode – where the bulk of your actions are reactions to things that happen within your job or business.
If you want to build a life filled with positive accomplishments, you must step out of your comfort zone. To do this, you first need to know what you want to accomplish and take the time to study all the ways to get there, even if some of these ways make you nervous. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary but the rewards will be even better than you imagine.
These ten tips will help you get out of your comfort zone and create a pathway to change your life.
#1. Let Go of Control
If you tend to run the show in your family and at work, this could be a great way to start pushing your comfort zone.
Be proactive by letting others take the lead sometimes. Giving your spouse, children, family, and colleagues, a chance to learn something new and do more to help the family, business, or community not only frees up your time, but it also gives them opportunities to shine.
For example, you can let your teenager take over the weekly menu planningwith a shopping list that is based on your budgeting guidelines. If you have a business, you can outsource something small like uploading and posting blog posts and social media posts. Once you give the person the parameters of what you need, step back and let them do it in their own way without micromanaging them.
#2. Keep Going Until You Feel Comfortable
When you start anything new and unfamiliar, you're always going to feel uncomfortable. This is normal. It happens to everyone each time they try something new. Don’t stop when you feel uncomfortable, instead, keep at it until it gets easier – and it will.
Plan for it. If you know that taking specific actions will lead to your targeted result, you can plan for those steps and find ways to stay motivated while working through the unease. The more often you face these fears, the quicker you will overcome them.
If something is very uncomfortable, try using the two-minute rule where you start the uncomfortable task and continue to do it for two minutes. If at that time, you are still feeling too much anxiety, stop for a few minutes then try it again for another two minutes. Eventually you will push through that feeling of discomfort.
#3. Do Something You Normally Would Not Consider
One thing about humans is that you don't know what you don't know. You’ll never know these things unless you give them a try. So, if you habitually say no to things that scare or challenge you, it'll be hard to make the big changes that you need to make.
Facing fears, even benign ones will help your mind and body prepare for future feelings of uncomfortableness. Try new foods and different types of movies or books. Take a class, sign up for a book club, join toastmasters, plan, and perform a comedy sketch at a local open mic night.
It doesn’t really matter what you choose as long as you start saying yes to things that stretch your comfort zone. As you dip your toes into new experiences, you'll learn more about what brings you joy as well as what works and does not work for you.
#4. Start a Challenge with a Friend
An effective method of getting out of your comfort zone is to start a challenge with a friend. Regardless of the goal, friendly challenges help increase motivation and feelings of satisfaction when you achieve these goals and objectives.
Finding challenges to do together makes it easier to stick to it and it will help both you and your friend. If you have the same fears, you can do the same challenge, or you can help each other get through individual challenges.
For example, you can join a book club together, work on fitness together, or even other types of challenges such as writing a novel, starting a business, or whatever it is that you need to push through. You can produce the idea and then invite your friends or get your friends together to come up with the idea.
You can also run your challenge using specialized challenge software like GetSpar.com, social media like Facebook Groups, or keep it more private by using an app like Trello.com to organize and run the challenge with your friend.
#5. Take a Class
One way to push past your comfort zone is to learn from an expert by taking a class. You can take classes that are all business-focused, or you can take fun classes like cooking, dance or piano.
When you take a course in something new, it will immediately take you away from your comfort zone. This will light up new brain synapses and create more pathways for you to grow and learn, thus improving your knowledge and confidence at the same time.
#6. Each Day Make Eye Contact and Speak to Someone You Don't Know
There are surprising benefits to talking to strangers. It can be hard because you are taught from birth not to talk to strangers. In addition, most people go through life looking down at their devices or zoning out in their thoughts, never making eye contact with others. Talking with others will help you become a more open person and can vastly improve your social skills.
When you make eye contact with and speak to people you don't know, you will make new friends, establish awesome connections, learn new things, and more. Being connected to others in society is beneficial because whether we like it or not, we need human connections.
#7. Switch Up Your Routine
As much as systems and processes are essential to increasing productivity, getting stuck in a rut can reverse your gains if you're not careful. For this reason, find ways to switch up your daily routine without ruining your productivity.
Drive a new route to run your normal errands. If you normally go to spin class on Tuesday, try a new day or time, if available. If you normally go to a specific coffee shop, try a new one. If you normally take your annual vacation to the same place, try a new location.
When you see and do new things, it unleashes your creativity in ways you may not realize. Plus, you'll meet new people, and the more people you encounter, the more information, ideas, and connections you'll have.
#8. Take a Selfie Every Day for a Month
This may seem counterintuitive, but a study conducted at Lancaster University discovered that people who took daily photos of themselves and their life activities tended to take better care of themselves in every way. In addition, they showed more involvement with their communities and could better stick to and track their goals.
The daily selfie takers demonstrated a bigger sense of purpose, competence, and achievement over the social media participants who did not engage in daily selfies. But the main key among those who participated in the study is that the selfie they took and shared was simple, realistic, and not planned in advance and always included a neutral to positive caption or comment with it.
#9. Once a Week Tell Someone How Much You Appreciate Them
Psychologically, praising others will boost your self-esteem, which improves the rest of your life. You will perform better when you have a good self-image, and truthfully, you become much more likable.
The important thing is to be authentic, honest, and avoid hyperbole as you take the time to tell one person in your life how much you appreciate them. Then, not only will your community feel more optimistic about the rest of their lives, but they'll also feel good about you too.
Try to choose a new person each week. You can praise and appreciate them publicly, privately, or send a card in the mail. After that, it's up to you but consider how each person likes to be thought about and what they need when you do it. For example, some people don't like too much spotlight shined on them, but others do.
#10. Start a New Workout Class
It may sound crazy but taking care of yourself physically will benefit you when stepping out of your comfort zone. How? Because being fit boosts your confidence, clears your mind, reduces stress and anxiety, and allows you to better focus.
Pilates, kickboxing, HIIT and karate are all great choices. You might also consider trying something that isn't as popular or trendy to really push yourself into something new. Today you can find in-person and online classes for almost every type of exercise class you can imagine.
Modern research suggests working out at a moderate pace just 30 minutes a day is enough to improve your health. Before you think you don’t have time to work out, stop right there. Without good health, you will have no life, so schedule in time each day to work out. If this means adding three 10-minute workouts a day, that’s fine. If you can squeeze in one 30-minute span for exercise, that’s fine too. Whatever works for you, as long as you do it every day.
Embracing new experiences as you push through your comfort zone is the easiest way to build the amazing life of your dreams. You will feel uncomfortable at first but don’t let it stop you. Once you get the ball rolling, you’ll start feeling pride as you face your fears and meet each challenge with enthusiasm. Those feelings of fear will be replaced with feelings of excitement, energy, motivation, and positivity.
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