Many of us are creatures of habit who don’t like change, often sticking to the repeated routines and feeling comfortable in the same environments.
Our comfort zone is a place where we feel safe – we don’t need to challenge ourselves because we are in control of what we are doing. For those of us that are introverts, this can be particularly difficult.
But change is good. Stepping out of our comfort zone prevents us from stagnating and becoming too repetitive and boring, opens our world up to lots of exciting new adventures and allows us to develop further as people.
Whether it is trying new things, meeting new people or visiting a new place that has been on your travel bucket list, there are lots of great ways to step out of your comfort zone.
Here are ways to step out of your comfort zone
Learn a new skill
Have you ever wanted to learn another language, master a musical instrument or develop your cooking skills? Taking up a new skill is a great way to push yourself and try something new, can be done at your own pace and will fit around your routines and schedules without making too many changes.
Mastering a new skill or starting a new hobby can be fun, opens you up to new experiences and will give you a great sense of achievement as you progress. If you really want to push yourself, you could try setting yourself a challenge to reach certain goals along the way eg. having a short conversation with someone in six months to test your vocabulary, or being able to play a simple tune.
Meet new people
It’s easy to get comfortable in our friendship groups, communicating with friends that we have known for a long time. For many of us our social circle has decreased over the years as we have drifted away from school, college and work friends and we move away or take different directions in our lives.
When you’re in a bubble meeting new people can be difficult, but there are plenty of places where you can connect with new people and form friendships. Joining an exercise class or hobby group, dog parks, volunteering, book clubs, evening classes, celebrations and events are all fantastic places to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people, both in person and online.
Have open, honest conversations
We all have certain conversation topics that we avoid in our relationships and friendships, but often these awkward or difficult conversations are the most important. Perhaps you’re having problems in your relationship, or want to stop being a people pleaser and need to start setting clear boundaries with people who are taking advantage.
Step out of your comfort zone by approaching these conversations in a rational way, be clear about what you want to achieve at the end of it, and listen to what the other person has to say. It may not go the way that you would like, but you can be proud of yourself for taking the first step.
Be more spontaneous
The more time you spend thinking about if you want to do something that takes you out of your comfort zone, the less likely you are to do it. Spontaneity involves acting on impulse with little planning, and this can be difficult and even terrifying for those who feel the need to be in control.
When an opportunity comes your way, avoid overthinking and instead go with your gut instinct and commit to it. You may well find that it was the best decision you could have made and it may result in some unexpected and fantastic new opportunities. Even if it isn’t, you can be proud of yourself for taking the leap.
Let go of control
We all like to have control over our lives, but sometimes we can have too tight a grip on every aspect of our lives, which often prevents us from exploring new things. This can even extend into other areas, with expectations and outcomes placed on other people and situations. Letting go of some of this control can be a necessary and liberating thing to do, allowing us to be open to new things.
Here are some more great ways to step out of your comfort zone and start letting go of control:
- accepting the fact that we can’t control the reactions and behaviours of others
- being present in the moment and embracing the emotions that go with it
- using positive affirmations during periods of negativity
- allowing others to take charge of things
- making conscious decisions about past events that you want to get rid of
- identifying triggers that may cause you to spiral
As poet Herman Hesse once said, “Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.”
While it is never easy, life can indeed be much more simple that you’re making it. Take small actions to make changes, meet new people, learn new things and let go of control to help you to step out of your comfort zone this year. You never know where it will lead!