Life can feel that extra bit familiar and safe in the warmth of our comfort zone. The security blanket it provides can make it challenging to put ourselves out there in a new situation.
Things like attending the same supermarket, visiting the same restaurant and opting for the same takeaway item reliably satiate our expectations, as those expectations have been met repeatedly over time. The reliability of these tried and tested routines won’t upset the status quo, and so we may find ourselves sitting here quite often.
However, the more we find ourselves in our comfort zone, the more chances there are of missing out on the opportunities that make up a rich life. Expanding into unfamiliar territories is a challenge and should be approached with an open and curious mind. With this in mind, what are the steps that can help shatter our bubbles?
Firstly, it would be useful to make a distinction between within and outside of your comfort zone. Consider what it feels like to be within and list the positive and negative aspects of this situation.
Now give thought to your goals and things you’d like to experience. How would you feel if you actively pursued these aspirations?
When you look to leave your comfort zone, start slow and small. Looking to the most far-out desire may cause feelings of overwhelm and make the goal seem very out of reach. This may lead to procrastination and set you firmly back where you initially began. Rather, beginning with small steps will ultimately make getting to the goal seem less difficult. Remember, each step outside your comfort zone is progress.
If you experience some feelings of unease or intimidation, be mindful of how you can make the adjustment easier. A positive mindset will be your shining light here. Instead of imagining a poor outcome, believe that you can successfully achieve your goal. If you are prone to overthinking, try to make a real effort to not let it interfere. Don’t give worst-case scenarios any oxygen, and don’t focus your attention on perfection.
At each point, make time to acknowledge your progress and celebrate your successes. This will help build your confidence and keep you focused on pushing out of your comfort zone.
Most importantly, have fun and find the joy of experiencing new things. That’s the essence of life after all.
Your comfort zone has the benefits of feeling safe, secure and less stressful, but ultimately it lacks challenge. Whilst comfort is the easier route, it can sometimes lead to unfulfilment. New tasks and experiences energise you and help to support your growing confidence and self-esteem.
Bear in mind that the size of your comfort zone is a reflection of the confidence you have in your abilities. Leaping beyond your bubble can lead to greater resilience, and this is a skill that is required when obstacles undoubtedly arise.
The best part of leaving your protective shell is that the more you step out, the easier it will become. It is more likely you’d look back and regret not taking a chance than you would taking a chance that perhaps may not have panned out as you expected. Taking the step to pursue your desires and work to reach your potential will never be fruitless, just watch as your personal and professional development thrives. Why not give that other takeaway a try this weekend, you never know, you might like it even more!
Sadhbh Dunne is a qualified life coach based in Westport. She is the founder of Ember Coaching (embercoaching.ie) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on www.mayonews.ie