I wrote yesterday that we’ve all heard that “life begins outside of your comfort zone” or some variation of the phrase. I then wrote about the benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone. As I wrote, our comfort zone is what we’re accustomed doing. It’s those comfortable, safe routines that we do without thinking, be it at home, or in the workplace.
It may be as simple as you drinking a particular brand of tea every morning, or always listening to the same radio station on the drive home. Our comfort zone, as the name suggests, makes us feel comfortable with our habits.
While there is nothing wrong with having healthy habits, it can sometimes be detrimental as I aimed to explain yesterday. Following the same routine day-in-day-out can dowse our enthusiasm for life. We can sometimes feel unfulfilled in our job, or that we’re missing out on the potential that we clearly have for more fulfillment. This is where stepping out of your comfort zone comes to the rescue.
Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be drastic or scary. It doesn’t mean going from one extreme to the next. If you’ve just learned to ride a bike, you don’t have to go to the top of the steepest mountain road and pedal down it with a GoPro strapped to your head.
Stepping out can be as simple as taking a different route home, taking a walk in the park or trying a new restaurant for lunch. Something to break the routine and create an opportunity to discover something new. As time progresses and you try new things, you may even discover new things about yourself.
How To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone:
Step One: Figure Out What You Do That Makes You Comfortable.
What is your security blanket? What things in life and your career do you cling to? Perhaps it is a mentor at work that you always lean on. Maybe it is the same job responsibilities you have held for the past five years or the same comfortable routines and patterns you have in your personal life. I’m not suggesting you have to abandon semblance of order in your life, but notice what it is that makes you feel slightly vulnerable if you had to let go of it.
Now do an audit of these things, write them all down, then draw up a hierarchy and plot each item in the order of what items would be tougher to interrupt or let go of, even temporarily.
Step Two: Figure Out What Makes You Uncomfortable.
What do you shy away from? What activities or events in life make you nervous? What scares you? What do you avoid doing? What parts of your life do you edit in side of your mind to fit in with your model of the world?
Just as with number one, make a list of everything that evokes discomfort or fear. Plot it on a hierarchy so that you can then……
Step Three: Make Your Uncomfortable Comfortable.
Equipped with your lists, having done an audit of your comfort zone, you now start to disrupt the existing patterns.
You may not like this at first, but you have to do this. You have to confront the fears and vulnerabilities. Head straight towards whatever it is that makes you sweat just thinking about.
Take the class. Speak to the crowd. Sing with others. Go for the new job. Speak directly to a stranger. Travel. Broaden your horizons. Whatever it is you have to go for it.
With both lists, start to work your way through them, jolting what is comfortable, engaging with what makes you uncomfortable and let the fun begin.
Step Four: Set Your Goals.
In order to improve yourself, you need to set goals. What are your long-term goals? What are the milestones you need to achieve in between to ensure you stay on track? If your goal doesn’t make you a little nervous and excited, go back to the drawing board. A good goal will make you step outside your comfort zone. It will force you to grow and develop into a better person or push you into a better situation. Think of what you ultimately want out of your life.
Here are some articles to inform you about the principles of goal setting and the best way to go about setting them. They are written with sports and running in mind, but they can be applied to any area of life at all:
Step Four: Accept It, You Are Not Perfect.
Mary Poppins may be practically perfect in every way, but the rest of us mere mortals cannot really make such claims.
Are you afraid of failure? Think you’ll let someone down? Afraid of what others may think of you? Most of the time, that type of fear is self-imposed. It is time to shake it up. Perhaps literally – dance in the supermarket. Sing loudly. Belly laugh. Love with passion. You aren’t perfect. No one expects you to be.
Step Five: You Don’t Have To Go Solo!
Do this stuff with a buddy or a group of friends, or with your family. You don’t have to do this alone. Ask a friend, join a mastermind group or reach out to someone going through the same thing. Having someone by your side helps you feel safe as you step outside your comfort zone. And accountability will make you 70% more likely to reach your goals if they are shared with those you trust and are close to.
Step Six: Imagine The Desired Outcome.
Spend a few minutes each day thinking about yourself living the life you want to live, doing the things that take you out of your comfort zone, but ultimately reward you wonderfully. Imagine what that would look like, what it would feel like and what you would act like. Keeping that vision in the forefront of your mind helps motivate you.
To push through your comfort zone, consistency is required. Each day, you need to practice learning little by little. Even if you are inching forward, you are going the right way. Making small gains each day is awesome progress.
Very soon, I will offer up a self-hypnosis technique to bring all of this together and give you a technique to help make all of this a reality.
Step Seven: Stand Up For Yourself!
You need to embrace confidence and believe in yourself. You are running the risk of living a life that does not satisfy or stimulate you otherwise. Your mind needs to be prepared to counter any obstacles that are bound to come your way. Relish those challenges. Treading through new paths of which you are unaware may well cause discomfort and nervousness. This may even lead to frustrations as you are unaware how things might take a turn. Facing these challenges bravely and overcoming those – these are the stepping-stones of your future accomplishments. You have just stepped out of your comfort zone – enjoy it here!
Every day, week, month and year is an opportunity for growing and learning, both professionally and personally. How did January go for you? Has New Year zest fizzled out? It can be so easy to fall into a routine that is comfortable and to settle for the familiar. As we take the time to reflect on our goals for this year, it’s important to consider the many ways in which we can step out of our comfort zone. Getting out of our comfort zone requires awareness (do your audit) and a mindset change, where we care less about our maintaining the overly safe homeostasis and more about expanding our horizon. When we take the time to appreciate challenges, to explore new perspectives and to face more fears head on, we’re able to become better versions of ourselves and realise our fullest potential.
Write down one small step you could take to step out of your comfort zone today. Regardless of how small it is, realise you have just widened your circle of comfort. Each time you have the courage to do this, that comfort zone will keep expanding. It’s up to you to decide how far you will grow.
Some self-hypnosis to help you with this coming up next time……
If you’d like to learn more or if this has resonated with you in some way, then visit these pages:
1. Has safety-seeking behaviour held you back and is it still doing so now? Do you need to believe in yourself more and step out of your comfort zone?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others step out of their comfort zone?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist for whom self-doubt is negatively effecting the success of your business? Do you need to step out of your comfort zone to grow your business?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar.