How to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
There’s not a lot of room for adventure and excitement in your comfort zone. To add a little zest to your life, it’s important to try new and sometimes scary things. Stretch your limits! Getting outside of your comfortable box may be tough at first, but facing unfamiliar challenges can make you happier and more fulfilled in the long run. To become a pro at taking these chances, learn to think positively about stepping out of your comfort zone. Then you can work to make your new attitude stick with you for the long haul.
EditTrying New Things
- Pick activities that challenge you. Think about a few things that scare you or make you nervous. Write them down on a list, and put a star next to the one you want to start with. You can tackle the others later.
- Your list may include things like: “Go skydiving, read Moby Dick, write a short story, go on a blind date.”
- Write a mission statement about your challenge. Come up with a reason (or a few) that you want to tackle this obstacle. Ask yourself what you’re going to get out this new experience. Once you have your answer, write it down on a piece of paper and keep it with you. This can be a little phrase you repeat to yourself every time you’re thinking about backing down.
- If you’re going on a blind date, for example, you might tell yourself: “I’ve gone on lots of dates I set up myself, and I haven’t met someone I can picture myself with long term. This could be my chance!”
- Bring a buddy for some added support. Doing something new on your own can make it even more challenging. There’s no reason you can’t rely on friends or family to help you get out of your comfort zone! Pick someone who’s naturally adventurous to be your partner in trying new experiences.
- Do some research to get more information. You might be shying away from trying this new activity because you feel like you’re facing a big question mark. To answer all your lingering questions, go online and read about it. Look for reputable information that can help you feel more knowledgeable and prepared.
- Try for .gov, .org, or .edu websites when you can. Otherwise, be sure to avoid sites with misspellings or formatting problems.
- The internet can sometimes be overwhelming. While it’s a great idea to be more informed, don’t dig so deep that you start scaring yourself with scenarios that are unlikely to happen to you.
- For example, perhaps you’re thinking about moving to a New York City for a promotion, but you’ve never lived in a city before. Read everything you can about New York to learn how to live there safely and happily. You can find the best neighborhoods for your personality and needs, and get excited about all the fun things in your future!
- Break the activity down into small steps. If you’re feeling intimidated or overwhelmed by the challenge you’ve picked for yourself, don’t do it all at once. You can make it a multi-step process that will let you slowly climb that mountain.
- Maybe you want to go skydiving, but you’re feeling terrified about jumping out of that plane. Go to the top of a really tall building and take a peek over. Then, try a smaller-scale activity that involves heights, like parasailing or bungee jumping at a theme park.
- Give yourself an ultimatum. Don’t give yourself an out. Tell yourself that you’re trying this new thing, or you’ll “take away” some other daily activity you enjoy. If you don’t like the new thing, you never have to try it again.
- The punishment for your ultimatum should be primarily mental, but if you’re really struggling, make it concrete. Say to yourself: “No coffee for a month if I don’t try this.”
EditThinking Positively to Overcome Fear
- Visualize challenges as chances to grow. The biggest obstacle keeping you from stepping out of your comfort zone is fear, especially fear of failure. Instead of focusing on the possibility of failure, think of steps outside your comfort zone as opportunities. You may be right around the corner from changing your life for the better!
- Stepping out of your comfort zone can make you happier and more fulfilled. Keep those positive possibilities at the front of your mind to push out the fears.
- For example, you want to throw your name in the ring for a promotion that just came up at work, but you’re terrified of not getting the job. Instead of focusing on that outcome, imagine what could happen if you get it!
- Coach yourself through scary situations. Some good self-talk can really help you step outside your comfortable box. Repeat encouraging, positive phrases to yourself. Use your name and the first person to make it more effective.
- You can say something like: “Jenna, I know you’re scared, but you’re going to try this anyway. Just think about how much fun you could have! You’re strong and brave.”
- You can even find a quiet spot or a private bathroom and talk to yourself out loud in the mirror.
- This can be especially helpful for helping you with that final push. You’re in the plane, ready to jump out for your very first skydiving experience. Don’t stop now!
- Practice deep breathing to release stress. Take deep breaths and focus on filling your belly with nice, clean air. As you breathe in, picture yourself also taking in confidence. Once this confidence has filled you up, it’s there to stay. Release your breath and your insecurities along with it.
- This can be a great daily exercise, or something you do right before you need an extra boost of confidence. For example, be sure to take a few deep breaths before you meet your blind date.
- Picture the worst-case scenario to put your fear in perspective. Ask yourself, “what’s the worst that could possibly happen?” Think about ways you could deal with those circumstances if they happened. Once you’re prepared for the worst, you can only be happily surprised by something better!
- Avoid answering your question with crazy possibilities like: “I could die.” If you do this, then follow it up by thinking through how unlikely that is.
- For example, you’ve been wanting to take a cross-country road trip, but all you can think about is getting stranded if you break down or run out of gas. You can make plans for this! Bring along an extra gas tank. You can even invest in a radio that can allow you to get in touch with emergency services if you’re out of cell phone range.
EditMaking Long-Term Changes
- Do small daily activities to challenge yourself. Look for ways to step outside of your comfort zone by taking tiny actions. Once you’ve made stepping out of your comfort zone into a daily routine, it’ll be much easier to handle bigger challenges.
- For example, you could start up a conversation with a stranger at the grocery store, listen to a new genre of music on your drive to work, or try a different flavored coffee in the morning.
- Change your usual habits to mix it up. If you’re stuck in a rut, break the pattern! Look for spots in your life that feel repetitive or monotonous. Target these as opportunities to step outside your comfort zone.
- For example, if you always order vanilla ice cream, go for caramel next time.
- Turn every day into a learning experience. Change the way you view your day-to-day life. Look at each day at a chance for you to learn something new. Remember that this can only happen if you’re stepping outside your comfort zone.
- You can do this by always making an effort to find ways to grow. Start a book you’ve been meaning to read. Buy a different newspaper than the one you always read. Take a different route to get to work. You never know what you’ll learn about the world when you explore different sides of it!
- Sometimes getting out of your comfort zone can require lot of time. Don’t panic, be patient and always believe that nothing is impossible.
- Don’t confuse stepping out of your comfort zone with being reckless.
- It’s good to not know what will happen, to ignore dangers a little bit less, and to take risks a little bit more. Just don’t ignore dangers too much — always keep yourself safe and do not take risks you will end up regretting in the future!
EditSources and Citations
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