The best things life has to offer tend to be outside of your comfort zone, but leaving your comfort zone isn't easy. If you can get used to taking little steps outside it, though, you'll get more comfortable with the big steps. When you're facing your fears, no victory is a small one.
"We've all heard the phrase 'get comfortable with being uncomfortable,' and often the first place our mind goes to is totally overwhelming," bravery coach Christiana Hill tells Bustle. "We think we have to quit our job, go skydiving, or take that big, scary action, and that fear actually stops us from taking any action. When it comes to stepping outside of your comfort zone, getting 'comfortable being uncomfortable' can start as small as changing the part in your hair. Letting one brave action lead to another is the key to actually getting going and making progress."
Hill recommends looking out for signs like butterflies in your stomach or tightness in your chest when you think about an action. If you notice these sensations, that's often a sign you should do it! Here are some ways to get out of your comfort zone without completely freaking yourself out.
Switch Up Your Routine
If you feel like you're stuck in a rut, try switching up silly little things. If you're right-handed, brush your teeth with your left hand, or eat dinner food for breakfast. "What this does is to set up our brains to expand to new possibilities in other parts of our lives," says Burk.
Go Out Alone
Going to a bar, cafe, or meetup alone gives you the chance to think and potentially make friends. "It's a great way to talk to new people and not hide behind your companions," clinical psychologist and psychology professor Ramani Durvasula, author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving A Relationship with a Narcissist, tells Bustle. If that sounds too intimidating, try a movie theater. The dark lighting will prevent anyone from judging you.
To take the benefits of going out alone up a notch, go on a solo trip. This will not only let you discover new places and meet new people but also help you become more self-reliant, says Durvasula.
Give A Compliment
Getting out of your comfort zone could be as simple as telling someone you like their shoes, says Hill. On top of helping you meet people, giving a compliment can make you feel good about yourself.
Take A Class
Whether it's yoga, cooking, or writing, taking a class serves a dual function. "It pushes you to acquire new skills in a domain you don't professionally or even 'hobby' identify with and also pushes you to meet new people," says Durvasula.
Perform A Random Act Of Kindness
The payoff of leaving your comfort zone is high when it helps someone else out. You can do something nice on a small scale, like holding a door open for someone, or volunteer for a food bank or homeless shelter. "This experience may be emotionally uncomfortable but will help you be around people who can teach you some things about life you do not know," licensed counselor Monte Drenner tells Bustle.
"As your bravery muscles grow, you'll find that you will put yourself out there more and more," says Hill. "And pretty soon, you'll be well on your way to tackling bigger goals in life."