You ever feel like your in a rut and there are times where you can’t get out and are just stuck. I have been there before myself quite a few times in my life. Then I decided to try something I haven’t done before which was a bit scary. Found out that one new thing was very fulfilling and just what I needed. Trying that one new thing was helpful even though it was scary.
As we grow up, we learn things that help shape us into who we want to be. Not all things however, we encounter are helpful to us. Some of those things help us figure out what isn’t good for us. In time we develop our comfort zone which gives us stability. Our comfort zone is where we turn to during rough times and for fun times. That sounds good right? Well our comfort zone can stop us from spreading our wings and our growth. By staying in our comfort zone, we don’t learn new things, develop new skills, meet new people, and we can miss out on great things that can enrich our lives.
‘Get out of your comfort zone’ is something we have heard at some point in our life or a version of it. Easier said that done for some people. I have been working on this for quite some time in my life. Some people when they hear this may think that they need to stop being quiet and shy and talk to everyone they meet, go to places that everyone is going to even if they don’t have interest in them, like a new club that just opened up. When some says to get out or move out of your comfort zone, it means to try something new. That means one new thing, not a dozen of them. Some people don’t have the time to try a lot of new things in one day for example.
Branching out and trying something new is a step to move out of your comfort zone. That new thing doesn’t have to be something extreme, it can be simple. I like to think of the concept in the form of a tree. The tree and the leaves at the top is who we are (our morals, values, personality). You could also say that the tree is also our comfort zone. The branches are our skills, abilities, knowledge, and what we like. The number of branches on the tree varies from each individual. One person can have 15 branches, someone else could have 10, another one could have 30. The number of branches increases whenever we try new things. Getting out of our comfort zone allows us to grow and expand and that is what a tree does when it grows new branches.
Tree talk aside, getting out of our comfort zone and trying new things can be scary because you don’t what what is going to happen. We all have a fear of the unknown. Pushing past it is where the growth begins. Here are some ways to help push past that fear and grow:
1. One Day- One New Thing
If your trying to move out of your comfort zone, don’t over do it on the first attempt. During the day, try one new simple thing. Try a new food, go to a store or restaurant that you haven’t been to before, walk or drive somewhere you haven’t been to before, or try a new sport. These are a handful of things that you can start off with. Also remember to be patient with yourself; find and stay at your own pace. Say you try one new thing a day, or one thing a week, or a month. Be realistic and find what works for you.
2. Remember the Feeling
When trying something new, the fear can be present, (may not be there for everyone). When pushing past that fear, one can get caught up in the transition of passing through it as well as the feeling of the new thing itself that they forget how they handled it. When going through that transition, remember how your handling it and what your feeling. Are you tightening your muscles, are you talking to yourself, are you holding your head up high, are you taking deep breaths? People use different techniques to push past that fear and what’s important is remembering what worked and what didn’t. You can use that technique or techniques the next time you try something new which in time will decrease the fear.
3. Try Something New with Someone
Getting out of your comfort zone can be scary to do alone. Ask someone to try the new thing with you or have them there for support. A good friend, family member, or a co-worker are some options. The experience can be less scary with one person or a group of people with you.
4. Figure Yourself Out
I mentioned you have to figure out your own pace and what works for you. In a previous post, I talked about how what works for some people may not work for you and to not compare yourself to others. Getting out of your comfort zone is a process, not something achieved overnight especially for people who have stayed in their comfort zones for a long period of time. If you try something new, give it an honest effort, and find out that it isn’t for you don’t get discouraged and think well ‘I’m not growing or expanding and I’m back to square one’. Actually your realizing what isn’t for you and that’s all right. Your not in the dark about that thing anymore and you have clarity which is a sense of relief. You tried something new, it didn’t work out, yet you still stepped out of your comfort zone which is still a step up. Just try something else.
5. Satisfaction Comes Out of it
Getting out of your comfort zone comes with satisfaction and adds another branch to your tree. The satisfaction helps you realize that you are capable of trying new things and are capable of doing more than what you thought you can or doing what you thought you couldn’t do. For example, you try skydiving and you love it, but may not want to do it again. That’s fine, you can say you tried it and/or you did it. Maybe in the future, you try it again, but that’s up to you. In the end, the satisfaction increases your confidence, your self-esteem, decreases and eliminates the fear.
When things become stagnant, trying something new helps you break that routine and shakes things up in your life. You can set a goal on how many new things you want to try in whatever period of time you want. Don’t let someone else’s life hinder, stop you, or get you discouraged. Be happy with the progress you have made even if it’s small. Remember you get out of your comfort zone when you try something new even if it’s small every time. You grow and expand your horizon of skills, knowledge, abilities, get rid of boredom, you may meet new people who become friends, you may even gain a new perspective in your life. New experiences are scary, but they can be enriching.