It’s easy to get into a rut. We feel comfortable, but not engaged. Things that used to excite us seem ordinary. The problem is that, we’ve let life become ordinary.
We need to find ways – even small ones – to make life exciting again. It takes courage to leave your comfort zone, but you will reap the reward of your efforts in spades.
Discover why it’s important to take chances. Use these eight tips to make your life extraordinary.
Why It’s Important To Leave Your Comfort Zone
We’ve got ONE life to work with, and only so much time to live it. The secret to making life extraordinary is spending your time wisely. If everything in your life feels perfect right now, kudos to you. You’re doing something right.
If, on the other hand, you feel like something’s missing, it’s time to change that. You’re going to need to do something differently. This typically requires you to step (or leap!) out of your comfort zone.
Once you make up your mind to live an extraordinary life, you can make it happen.
1. Set a goal and write it down.
The first step in order to leave your comfort zone is to figure out your goal. Define it and write it down. You are more likely to achieve them if they’re written.
If you’re Charlie Brown and your dream is to talk to the Little Red-Haired Girl, write, “I will introduce myself to the Little Red-Haired Girl and ask for her name. I’ll get her number and we’ll get ice cream after school next week.”
Don’t sell yourself short by stopping at the introduction. Dream big and take it even further.
2. Imagine you have NO other option.
Now that you’ve defined your goal, imagine that you have NO other option but to go for it. Take away the choice element and convince yourself that it’s something that must be done.
After living in seven different states, I didn’t have much choice but to jump right into new situations. At first, I felt nervous about approaching strangers and making small talk. I soon learned I needed to make the first move if I ever wanted to make a friend.
If you’re not forced into a situation that makes you want to leave your comfort zone, pretend you do.
3. Smile – fake it ‘til you feel it.
A smile is a magical thing. Even if you’re faking it, research shows that you can make yourself feel better just by smiling. Our bodies work in amazing ways.
A smile will make you feel more confident as you tell yourself, “I can do this.” Your smile also attracts others and they will smile back, providing that little extra confidence you may need. It’s such a simple solution, yet one we often overlook.
4. Take it one step at a time.
If you’re feeling especially timid about trying something new, you don’t need to push yourself to the extreme. Set smaller and shorter term goals for yourself. For example: I’m scared of heights, but I wanted to face my fears. So, I decided to try rock wall climbing. I broke down my goals into:
- Signing up for a class at the gym.
- Doing the training session.
- Picking three spots on the wall I wanted to reach.
- Reaching the top.
I never made it all the way to the top, but I did make it through the third step and I was proud of what I accomplished. By breaking down your goal into smaller steps, you can measure your progress AND success can be reached in multiple levels.
5. Jump into the deep end.
Maybe you’re not built to wade into the pool one step at a time. It may feel like torture to take it slowly. Rip off the band-aid or jump in the deep end and simply go for it. Psyche yourself up before you jump by telling yourself you have the courage to do this.
If necessary, get someone to push you from behind. Imagine how good it will feel when you get to that new job or once you move to an exotic place. To get that rush, your only choice is to grab the opportunity while it’s available.
6. Consider life without chocolate.
Think about your favorite foods, activities, places, and people. Now imagine your life without them. One of the main reasons to leave your comfort zone is that you don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve tried it.
Imagine never eating ice cream or never visiting the ocean because you felt afraid to travel, or try new things. What if you never felt confident enough to talk to the Little Red-Haired Girl.
The path not taken may be the one leading you to greater happiness, health, and success. However, you won’t know where the path leads unless you start walking down that road.
7. Envision your better future self.
Give yourself the courage you need by imagining how your life will be enhanced by trying new things. Writing down your goal is an important step in achieving success, but so is envisioning the end product. Picture your future self a month from now or a year from now.
Imagine what that improved life looks like. If you imagine the worst case scenario as well, you’ll probably realize that it’s not that bad. Focus your attention on your better future self. Not only will this exercise help you achieve your goal, it will also give you the confidence you need to step out of your comfort zone.
8. Remind yourself that new possibilities keep us growing.
Trying new things energizes us and keeps us out of a rut. New possibilities are the spice of life. You may take up a guitar class or join a sports club. You may go after that dream job. Even small changes, like taking a different route to work, can make us feel happier.
Whatever step you can take towards making your goal a reality, you should take that step. While this quote has been incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain, it’s still sound advice:
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did.”
You’ve got NOTHING to lose by trying. Go ahead; leave your comfort zone and see what happens.