You’ve been told countless times to go beyond your comfort zone if you want to accomplish your big dreams. You may have noticed it can seem scary to push your limits. But there are ways to expand your comfort zone gently.
If you want to reach your big dreams here is how to expand your comfort zone and create the life you love:
It’s the more prominent changes that tend to stimulate feelings of discomfort. The thought of doing 50 pushups for the first time in five years is daunting. The idea of doing one isn’t a problem. I learned this from Denise Duffield Thomas, who talks about the Law of Incremental Upgrades. When you pick small things to change or little things to upgrade and continue this regularly over a period eventually you end up with massive (and quite impressive) change. And because you are starting small, slow and safe, it makes it easy! You will be well out of your comfort zone in no time.
Create small changes and then increase those changes over time.
Now that you are good at starting small and seeing progress you can increase these changes and see a snowball effect. Going back to the pushup example, if you did one push up a day for a week, then added one pushup the next week you could continue this for 50 weeks when you would reach 50 pushups a day.
The thing is, you don’t have to wait 50 weeks, in fact, once you get momentum (and anything), you can start to increase those changes, in this case, pushups. So by week three instead of doing three a day, you can push yourself to do five a day. And the next week 8… do you see how this can start compounding?
You will find it is not the 2nd, 3rd or 10th week that you feel too far out of your comfort zone, it is only the first week. And since you are starting small (and doable), you are going to blast out of that comfort zone like it was nothing!
Eat something new
Are you a little hesitant to try a new food? It’s a great way to stretch your comfort zone and possibly find some new favorites. Try a new restaurant or a new fruit from the grocery store and see what you think. You may find a few things you don’t like, and that is fine. You may also find some things you like, and that expands your comfort zone, and this is where you grow.
I went back home to California to visit family and was introduced to Indian food. I had never eaten it before, not that I wouldn’t I just never really thought about it. Now I love spicy food, so Mexican food has always been a go-to for me, but that was before I tried Indian food. I was amazed at how wonderful it was, and couldn’t wait to go back home and have my husband try it too. We were both bummed that we hadn’t been eating this before and now we have a fun time cooking Indian food at home and scouting out new restaurants. It opened up something new.
Read something completely different
With technology being so “smart” and offering us up to things we already like it is easy to keep with the same movies, news, and books (think Amazon’s suggestions). Branch out from the usual and read something completely different to expand your comfort zone. If you’re a meat eater, read a book on veganism, if you’re a Christian read a book on Muslims or if you are a Democrat read a Republican biography. It is important to not box ourselves into what is comfortable and safe. By widening our perspective, we not only can reach our goals easier but we also become more empathetic, generous and grateful.
Take a new route
Try a new way to get somewhere you go often, and better yet, don’t look at a map beforehand. Follow your instincts and see where you end up. This will help you break the habit of moving through life on autopilot; you know what I mean when you drive somewhere and don’t remember the trip or worse you hit the weekend and realize the week was a blur. If you find this happening find a way to break the monotony of your days like traveling a new route.
Unplug for an entire day
Turn off your phone, the internet, and the television. This will be more uncomfortable than you think and the rewards will be better than you could imagine. It gets back to what we just talked about with being on autopilot rather than present. When I was a kid, my mom would get up to make coffee and watch the morning news. She said it was for the weather but still watched it until she went to work well past seeing what the weather was going to be. She was on autopilot every morning. You can say you are just popping into social media, or a news site to see what’s going on, but often you click into autopilot and zone out for a while (or longer). And while zoning out here and there can be a way for you to relax, doing it day-in and day-out is not the way to create a life you love. It’s easy to get sucked into your email, your work or Pinterest and stop living. Create a day that you unplug and enjoy life.
Sit in a different place
Sit on the couch instead of your favorite chair. Choose a different seat at the dining table. Move your desk to face a different angle. Have everyone switch their normal seats at the dinner table. This will break up the norm, the monotony of things you do every day and break you free from autopilot. At first, it may seem uncomfortable to be sitting in a different place, and that is a good thing. We are breaking you past your comfort zone.
Strike up a conversation with a stranger
It doesn’t have to be a twenty-minute affair. If you can maintain a conversation for 30 seconds, consider yourself successful. There are plenty of people in the world available for practice. Go beyond just saying hi at the grocery store or coffee shop and see where it takes you. It’s not like you have to try to make best friends with everyone you meet, but just expanding your sphere of people, even slightly, will expand your zone of comfort.
Call someone you haven’t spoken to for at least six months
And note I said call like actually pick up the phone and contact them by voice; not email, not text. If you’re like most people, you get wrapped up in life and realize it’s been ages since you spoke by warm voice with friends, relatives or clients. Take time each month to reach out and see how you feel.
Travel out of the country
If you’ve never traveled outside your home country, you might be in for quite a surprise. The food, people, and culture can all be different. Apply for a passport and consider where you’d like to visit.
We went to Australia recently and loved how different the culture was to what we were used to. There were a different vibe, different lingo and different food. It’s fun to experience a culture outside of what you’re used to. This is true for different parts of your country, too. I have lived on both sides of the U.S. and the Midwest, and have visited every corner; it is quite different. If you can’t travel out of the country just yet, don’t let this be an excuse to stop you from getting out of your neck of the woods.
Tackle something that makes you a little fearful. Go skydiving or ride a roller coaster. Give a speech. Take a dance class. Get yourself out of your normal routine and do something that pushes you just a little, or even a lot. Try to schedule something each month that is new and exciting for you.
Sit by yourself in silence
This can be tougher than you think but will expand your consciousness and give you a new view on life, new ways of solving your problems and new creative ideas. To do this turn off all your devices and just sit alone with yourself. Avoid allowing yourself to daydream, instead focus on your breathing and push your thought away. Just stay with yourself for at least 10 minutes. Try to fit this in (schedule it) every day.
Expanding your comfort zone opens up numerous possibilities. Think about how your life would change if your comfort zone were larger. It’s possible to accomplish this without the discomfort you might imagine and will make your life more fulfilling. Stretch your comfort zone a little each day and you’ll be on your way to creating a life you love.
You’re an amazing person. Allow yourself to be that person each and every day. Be yourself!
Here’s to creating the life you LOVE!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: TORIE MATHIS
Torie Mathis helps entrepreneurs get from where they are to where they want to be by working smarter. She is a best-selling author, Army veteran, speaker + trainer, and your mentor to creating the business+ life you love. She has cracked the code for creating a lucrative, independent business + an amazing lifestyle. She can help you with your marketing and business growth, your clarity and purpose and help you reach your vision of success. 🙂
Hi! I'm Torie!
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