Learning how to transcend your comfort zone is one of the most powerful lessons in life. Learn a few tips to get un-stuck!
by Avery Elizabeth
What is life like in the comfort zone? Simply put, a comfort zone is like a plateau. It’s a place where we feel stuck, like we’re not progressing. Life may feel heavy, slow, boring, tedious. It’s possible that you’ve entered the comfort zone and stayed there because you established patterns that minimize stress and risk. Having a comfort zone is part of being human. As humans, we tend to look for stability and crave routine in our daily lives. In some way, we’re all creatures of habit who thrive on the predictable and comfortable to reduce the pressures of life.
You may notice yourself or someone else stuck in a comfort zone for varying lengths of time. This will depend on what the level of comfort is and how it affects life each day. For example, a comfort zone may be a job that has become disinteresting and holds no joy but pays the bills. It can come in the form of an addiction such as shopping too much and over spending. It could also be staying in an unhealthy relationship too long. People get stuck in a comfort zone of bad eating habits or patterns of procrastination that lead to poor growth and stagnation. Depending on the severity of the feelings that evolve from any type of comfort zone and the length of time spent trapped in a pattern of behavior or way of thinking, it can be very difficult to break free. Somehow, somewhere, deep inside of ourselves, we know that there is more to life, more to experience and learn on our unique journey. But what is it? How do we figure it out, and what is the first step? How do we transcend our comfort zone?
Moving on from Stagnancy
First, what does “Transcend” actually mean? To transcend means “to become independent of.” It is actually defined as “be or go beyond the range or limits of, surpass.” In other words, surpass or go beyond what you’re comfortable with, free yourself! Transcending anything sounds scary so start small and acknowledge that if you know you’re stuck in your comfort zone you’ve taken a big step in recognizing the problem.
Begin by asking yourself what it is that you are too comfortable with. Is there a particular area of your life that you feel is stale and you would like to change? Have you felt something nagging at you, an internal voice softly saying “it’s time to move on” or perhaps a loud voice yelling “go for it!” However it happens for you, pay attention and jot down the thoughts that initially enter your mind. You can sort them out later if they don’t appear to make sense but often the first feelings that you can identify will lead to discovering what needs to change to move you forward.
Make a Plan
Once you’ve figured out the area of your life that you’d like to shake up a bit, spend some time plotting your next steps. Moving out of your comfort zone can seem daunting, so take small actions that allow you to stretch yourself slowly. Begin with a list of new things you want to do, and then choose one to start with. Develop a plan, then take one step in a new direction toward achieving your goal. Write down some steps that you can think of to facilitate your uncomfortable journey forward towards the unknown but necessary destination of change. Ask advice from the people who are closest to you and know you the best. We usually are not able to see ourselves objectively and it’s helpful to seek the assistance of others who can give honest opinions about areas of our lives that we may want to think about changing. Brace yourself as you may hear some things that may challenge you. Be prepared to recognize that the truth will set you free if you’re willing to listen and act accordingly.
Rise Above Fear
Fear of failure is the most common reason people share when they avoid moving outside their comfort zone. Why move into a new situation where we risk criticism and external judgment? Although sticking to the status quo may be tempting and comfortable, it is not where growth occurs. Failure is part of the growth experience, don’t resist it, feel the fear and do it anyway. We’ve all heard the saying “actions speak louder than words.” This saying implies that one’s actions show their real attitudes, rather than what they say. This expression is sometimes used to advise a person to do something positive. It reminds us that change is good even if it’s scary. Most of us wish that we didn’t have to go through the unsettling turmoil of change but reaching outside of your comfort zone gives us experiences that lead to a greater sense of maturity and responsibility.
Embrace the Challenge and Reap the Rewards
Nothing is perfect
Let the idea of perfection go as you embark on your life changing journey. A need to be perfect can hold you back. When you step outside your comfort zone, you may enter an area that you’re not experienced in and you’ll inevitably make mistakes. With any risk comes the chance of failure, but also the possibility of greatness.
Move full steam ahead without regrets! Regrets are life’s lessons and most people who have experienced significant change only regret that they didn’t do it sooner.
Gain Confidence and Control of Your Destiny
Taking control of our decisions gives us greater control over our lives. When you force yourself to take the risks, you gain increased confidence in your abilities.
Life is by Design
It is important to realize that a major benefit of extending yourself outside of your comfort zone is that you get to design the life you want. Often our behavior is driven by conforming to the social ‘norms’ or ideas others have about our lives. But by pushing yourself into new areas, you’ll be able to shape the career and life you want for yourself.
Live Life to the Fullest
When you venture out of your comfort zone, you learn what you’re truly capable of doing and achieving. As you’re exposed to new experiences, new people, new places and new ideas, your world naturally expands.
When you learn, teach. When other people see you take risks and move in new directions, they will view you as a role model and may be inspired to take action to change their own lives, branching out in ways that they never dreamed they would.
The Universe wants us to grow and evolve into the people we were born to be. I invite you to conjure up the brave part of yourself and just do it, the universe will conspire to make things happen in your favor. We all have at least one major purpose to fulfill and everyone benefits if we get down to the business of uncovering our desires, making our dreams a reality and living our best life. If this all sounds too daunting for you, start small but consistent. Every day do one little thing that you don’t feel comfortable doing. Test the waters, get your feet wet and one day you’ll take the plunge. Good Luck!
Share an affirmation that you use to get out of your comfort zone with the Till Community!
Photo: Jonathan Klok