Pushing through your Comfort Zone
Ever heard the saying "Life starts outside your comfort zone?" Well, its true. Yet only few of us venture out of our comfort zone. This is completely natural as humans we do not like the unknown. Being in your comfort zone is safe, easy, its what you know and what you have been doing daily with little thought or effort. You have become acustomed to certain habits and ways, that you can almost predict the outcome as a result of your action. Yet however comforting this may be, it can be very harmful to live your whole life only within the confines of your 'comfort zone'. Its important to recognise that change is inevitable, and as such, we should be willing to adapt and change ourselves for the betterment of our future.
All of us have the ability to grow, that is the beauty of human nature. We are not born with a finite set of skills and knowledge. Instead, everything we experience - from the people we meet, the books we read, the classes and lessons we take, to the places we visit and the things we do, mould us into the person we are. Most of us are actually only at the very tip of our true potential - Imagine the possibilities if we actually unlocked our full potential??
We are meant to continuously learn; acquiring new skills and knowledge and exploring the bounds of our capabilities - this is how we achieve greatness, this is how you lead a life that is meaningful, exciting and fullfilling.
Ofcourse, genetic plays a role but even this can be enhanced over time. Ever heard the saying "Practice makes perfect"? This is based on a biological theory known as Hebbian Learning, whereby the more you 'learn' something (e.g. Practice a skill, perform an action, spend time reading/researching), there is repeated and persistent stimulation of your brain's neurons towards that activity which overtime makes your brain adapt itself to become more efficient and effective with that action. Therefore, no matter how hard or complicated something may be at the beginning, continuous effort and practice will make it easier over time.
Unfortunately most of us prefer to be comfortable. We do not want to experience doubt, failure, ridicule, or any of the perceived challenges and negatives that come with taking a risk. But as we all know, without risk there can be no reward. Before you can succeed, you must fail - and learn from these failures. Before you can exceed your own or others expectations of you - you must do things you have never done before. Before you can achieve greatness - you must be willing to do things others would never imagine. Everything is impossible until someone takes the leap, believing in themselves and their vision, and having the drive and motivation to make it happen.
So where do you start? Here are a few tips to help get you out of your comfort zone!
Don't take anything for granted
As mentioned above, every single experience in your life - good or bad has moulded you into the person you are today. Be grateful and take every moment as a learning opportunity. If you did not succeed, ask yourself - Why and make sure the same mistakes are not repeated! This is part of your journey - reflect on its impact, appreciate your growth and harness greater self awareness.
2. Move towards what you fear
Fear is the most common reason for staying inside your comfort zone. Embrace your fear, learn to fight through it towards what you really desire. Overtime, you will realise your anxiety will subside as most of your negative perceptions about it were not true. Some of the best memories and experiences can be created from this moment. This can expand the opportunities and experiences available to you. For example, ever wanted to travel the world but no one to go with you? Why not do it by yourself? Start off small perhaps by doing a day trip locally as you build confidence and skills - you can start to plan your solo world trip!
3. Change your routine
If you do the same thing everyday, how can you expect your life to be different ? Look at what things in your routine need to be revised, you can start with simple small things such as your exercise routine, what you eat, where you shop, who you socialise with. These small changes over time will expose you to new people and experiences. Meeting new people is also a great way to fuel new ideas and explore different perspectives.
4. Boost your self-efficacy
Self Efficacy refers to believing your own capabilities to succeed. If you feel you lack confidence in yourself, try the below steps to help boost your self-efficacy:
Use Positive Affirmations, Self Talk and Reassurance (e.g. " I am confident, I am brave" " I can do this" / "There is nothing to be anxious about, you have prepared for this moment and it will be a great opportunity")
Make sure you surround yourself with positive influences - people who will encourage and support you.
Remind yourself of other times you have stepped outside your comfort zone and succeed, it will give you the motivation and belief required.
5. Have a Plan & Set Goals
Make a list of all the things you want to achieve (your goals) and the steps required to get there. Remember to use SMARTS principle for your goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound and Stretched). Break them down into the smallest steps so each does not seem daunting or difficult on its own. For each step completed, recognise and reward yourself. Writing down your goals has been shown to make people more likely to work on it. If you can keep the list somewhere you frequently visit (e.g. Fridge, Office room, Bedside table) it will give you a daily reminder as well. Having a plan is important as it will give you direction and let you know if you are on track. It will also allow you to consider all aspects of a plan including What ifs and you can incorporate contigency plans in case things do not go entirely as planned.
Disclaimer: The following information is not a suitable replacement for therapy or professional help. Mental health is very complex and there are various individual differences due to circumstances, genetics and life experience. All information published has been generalised and done in good faith. However, we will not be liable for any actions taken as a result of this website/post. If you are facing mental health concerns, it is important you reach out to a professional. You may also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further support.