Comfort zones are cozy, sweet things that keep you safe and content and snug... and forever in the same rut. While it's nice sticking to what's safe, getting out of your comfort zone is absolutely mandatory if you ever want to grow as a person and learn something new and surprising about yourself. If you stick to your regular routine day in and day out, you'll always know what to expect. You know how people will treat you, how you'll react to situations, how to handle routine actions, blah, blah, blah. Did you get bored just reading that? Because if you did, that's what your comfort zone is.
It's sameness. What you need to do is take a step outside of those familiar comforts and see how you do when things are new and strange. You'll learn so much about yourself then: That you're capable, you're brave, you're fast on your feet, and a little failure can't tear you down. See? All amazing revelations. But getting outside of your comfort zone sounds scary, and I'm here to tell you it doesn't have to be. You can take baby steps to get where you need to be, but it does require you to start and take that first step out. So let's get started: Here are seven tips on how to get outside of your comfort zone.
1. Keep The Very Best Version Of Yourself In Your Mind's Eye
Are you nervous to approach a group of people, or to walk into your boss's office and ask for something? These things might be out of your comfort zone, but to get the courage to leap, imagine the best version of yourself in your mind's eye and make her a reality. Chances are she's brave, forward, friendly — whoever she is, you totally have the power to become her. All you have to do is move.
Lifestyle writer Nic Velasquez from self-development site Pick the Brain said, "We all have a grand vision of who we want to be and what we want to achieve. It is this vision that pushes us forward, gives us courage to take risks, and makes us strong during difficult times." Next time you freeze up because you hit the wall of your comfort zone, think of that version of yourself. She'll inspire you to make a move.
2. Remember That You Created Those Strings Holding You Back
You don't go say hello to someone you find interesting at a bar because you think that'd be too random. You don't go on the dance floor even though this is your jam because no one else is dancing yet and they'll think you weird. You really want to wear a certain dress, but you're worried strangers will silently mock you for it. Remember: All these things are rules you created in your own head. They're not real.
Marla Tabaka, a small business adviser and entrepreneur writer for Inc. said, "Usually the 'rules' we create around how to behave so others will accept us are nothing but self-imposed, ridiculously high standards. Get a little crazy. Do something fun, like dance in the department store (my kids were mortified) or sing at karaoke. Break the illusion of perfection and join the rest of us in the human race." Let go of your preconceived standards and do what you want to do. Don't be the only person holding yourself back.
3. Hang Out With Braver People Than You're Used To
When we hang out with like-minded or close-to-the-safe-zone people, it'll be near impossible to break free out of our comfort zones. All you'll have surrounding you will be people that approve of your decision of holding back and playing it safe. What you need to find is someone open to adventures and new experiences.
Tabaka suggested, "Often we choose our friends and peers based on what we have in common. Instead, try to find someone who's crazier than you. Choosing the company of people who go farther out on the limb will bring out your adventurous side." Be open minded and hang out with friends who want to be more daring. They'll rub off on you.
4. Don't Knock Baby Steps
Remember: You don't have to take a flying jump out of your comfort zone. Rather, you can inch out of there. Velasquez observed, "The best way to get in the habit of taking action is to do a little every day instead of a lot in one day." Not comfortable approaching new people? Instead of infiltrating a whole group at a restaurant, try saying hello to someone at a bus stop. baby steps will eventually add up!
5. Push Yourself To Stick With It
OK, say you did push yourself out of your comfort zone, and you're freaking out. You're uncomfortable and don't know what to do with your hands and want to abort the mission. That's perfectly fine but do yourself a favor and stick with it three more minutes than you'd like. It'll help you build your tolerance
Lifestyle writer Clyon George from Lifehack agreed, "If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort." Little by little, that discomfort will turn comfortable.
6. Do Everyday Things Differently To Get You Comfortable
Still not completely convinced you should toe outside your comfort zone? Instead of tackling your big discomforts first, just get cozy with the idea of doing things different. And a great way to do that is by mixing up how you do everyday things.
Lifestyle writer Alan Henry from Lifehacker suggested, "Whether the change you make is large or small, make a change in the way you do things on a day-to-day basis. Look for the perspective that comes from any change, even if it's negative. Don't be put off if things don't work out the way you planned." This will help you get comfortable not only trying new things, but also dealing with the outcome of that change, which will make stepping outside of your comfort zone less scary!
7. Bring The Fun Of It All Into Center Focus
Doing new things doesn't have to be labeled as terrifying or uncomfortable — rather see it as a wonderful experience that teaches you something new about yourself every time. It's actually a lot of fun, if only you wipe the anxiety away from it!
George offered, "Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously."