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How and Why To Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

How and Why To Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Getting out of your comfort zone may sound like something that isn't particularly appealing. After all, why would you want to abandon anything that has the word comfort in it? But leaving your comfort zone has many advantages. While it can be a pleasant place, it is also a place where you won't experience any new ideas or growth. Taking steps to move out of it can mean living a more engaged and authentic life.

Start Small

You don't have to go out there tomorrow and do something that terrifies you. Start by just doing things a little different, things that feel mildly uncomfortable. That could be starting a conversation with someone when you normally keep to yourself, eating something you've never tried before, or watching a type of movie or TV show that you normally avoid. Any small actions that shake you out of your usual routines and patterns can be a good first step toward embracing some discomfort and finding out more about yourself. The aim is not to live in a state where you are perpetually unsettled but to learn what things you enjoy that you wouldn't have otherwise tried.

Knowing What You Want

Although almost any kind of small action can begin breaking you out of your malaise and giving you the courage to try new things, the goal is not to continue randomly looking for novel experiences. Starting to overcome the fear of the unknown in small ways provides you with some of the tools you'll need to pursue the things that you really want in life. Sometimes, knowing what you want isn't entirely obvious. 

You may need to spend some time thinking about what you envision for yourself. This is a nice opportunity to use social media for good because these platforms can be great search engines for this type of discovery. That might include such things as what kind of relationships you want to have, where you'd like to live, what kind of a job you want and how you want to spend your free time. Talking with loved ones or with a counselor or coach can also help you explore these questions and find meaningful answers.

Set Goals and Problem Solve

Your next step is to set well-defined goals and figure out how to address any obstacles between you and the goals. If you want a new career as an engineer, your first step might be getting an engineering degree. For many, the biggest obstacle they might see here is cost. Scholarships can be a great way to pay for your college education. They can supplement loans and your own savings, or they can even cover the entire cost of your degree in some cases. You can search online and apply for scholarships and other opportunities.

Set smaller goals that build to your larger one. Just as getting an engineering degree is a step on the road to becoming an engineer, you can create smaller goals under that. As you're setting your goals, make sure that they are concrete and measurable. That means that they give you something specific to strive for. Instead of saying "I want to do well in my classes," which is vague because it's not clear what "do well" means, a better wording is "Next semester, I want to achieve a 4.0 grade point average."

Why Do It?

If you're still on the fence, the above may not be enough to convince you to leave your comfort zone, especially if you aren't feeling particularly restless. The problem is that when you're in that zone, you don't know what you are missing out there beyond its boundaries. You can never reach your full potential if you don't challenge yourself, and that means never experiencing the relationships, career highs and life experiences that are out there waiting for you. 

Pushing yourself also gives you more resilience in general, making you better able to deal with the stresses you'll encounter throughout your life, and that's one other good reason to take this step. Your comfort zone is rarely a place where you end up lingering, regardless of how you feel about it. Life has a way of pushing you out of the comfort zone eventually anyway, whether it's through job loss, the end of a relationship or something else. Doing it yourself gives you more control and confidence. Ultimately, it can provide you with a far more fulfilling life.


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