Just like a warm, cozy bed on a winter morning, a comfort zone can be a relaxing and peaceful place to be. However, you can’t stay confined in bed all day! Even though comfort zones feel safe, they can also inhibit growth. Sometimes our friends and family push us to leave our comfort zone when we aren’t ready.
So, what is a comfort zone? This is a place where you feel little to no anxiety or stress. We may feel stable, certain, and confident. Our comfort zone is not always static. It can change as we grow and develop into different people.
If you are a shy introvert, you may find it especially difficult to step out of your comfort zone. Some people find it challenging to shake up their routines. They may prefer to eat at the same restaurants, or perform the same tasks daily. There is nothing wrong with stability, routine, and certainty. Especially if you need it to function.
When should you stay in your comfort zone? If you are not ready. There is a difference between not being ready to do something and not wanting to. It is important to differentiate between the two. Do you want to step out of your comfort zone? If you do, are ready?
Disadvantages of staying in your comfort zone:
1. You may inhibit personal growth
When you leave your comfort zone, you are facing your fear. Often, it is the sense of doubt that stops us from moving forward.
2. You may miss out on great opportunities
Variety is the spice of life. How do you know you won’t love that new restaurant if you don’t try it? Stepping outside of your routine can help you discover great new things.
3. You miss out on learning new skills
It’s okay to foster your current strengths, but it is equally important to develop new ones. The thought of attending a new dance class may make you uncomfortable. On the flip side, you may enjoy it and find a hidden talent you never knew you had!
6 Tips For Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone
1. Take baby steps
If you are ready to expand your comfort zone, start by taking baby steps. This could be anything from trying a new supermarket to calling a friend on the phone when you normally only use text messaging. Starting with small, manageable tasks gives us the confidence to make the changes.
2. Be specific about where you want to be
It’s never a bad idea to write down our goals. Having a clear plan of where we want to be can help us put our thoughts into motion. Think about how you would like to step out of our comfort zone. Examine the reasons why, and the steps you need to take. Get yourself excited!
3. Research thoroughly
There are small things we can research to make stepping out of our comfort zone easier. For instance, if you are interested in trying a new restaurant or cuisine, look at the menu beforehand. Decide what entrée you would like and possibly eliminate some of the anxiety you may feel. If you are traveling to a new place, research the environment so you have a clearer understanding of what to expect. Eventually, you may try new things without researching beforehand.
4. Ask yourself why you are afraid
If you are afraid of leaving your comfort zone, perhaps you should ask yourself why. Spending some time to reflect on our fears can be eye opening. It may turn out you find the reasons quite silly. Sometimes, laying our fears out in front of us can help us face them.
5. Take a friend
Bringing a friend along can comfort us in an unfamiliar environment. A friend or family member may even help excite us about stepping out of our comfort zone. If you know someone who is also trying to expand their comfort zone, you can try a fun activity together.
6. Practice, practice, practice
The more we step out of our comfort zone, the easier it will be. You can even make it a practice as part of your routine. Maybe on the first Saturday of the month you do something that makes you uncomfortable. The idea is not to “dread” the activity, rather to encourage us to keep trying. Keeping a journal can also be helpful. It can be very motivating to look back and see how much progress we have made.
Remember, we don’t have to leave our comfort zone forever. We can stretch it. Small goals and new habits will help us expand. If things become too difficult, you can return to your comfort zone and take a break. Have you been working on expanding you comfort zone? What kind of progress have you made?