Breaking Out of your Comfort Zone
By EFG Hermes Media
Samuel Beckett once said: “Life is habit. Or rather, life is a succession of habits.” It’s easy to get stuck in a series of habits and then suddenly find ourselves running in a hamster wheel, either at work or at home. It’s understandable — habits give us structure and security. But sometimes a feeling of wanting to experience something new starts to come knocking. How does one even start to break out of routine when we are so wrapped up in it?
Don’t panic. We’ve all been there. Remember that your comfort zone once made you feel safe, and just because you crave new adventures, doesn’t mean you have to invite anxiety into your life.
- Understand why you have a comfort zone
Maybe your routine at work has gotten you used to a certain schedule or way of doing things. Maybe a fear has you shying away from change. Whatever the reason, clarity is important because it’ll help you understand why it is that you want to leave that comfort zone behind, even if just temporarily.
- Think baby steps
Realize that breaking out of your comfort zone will take time and that to productively change routine will require small changes at a time. A complete overnight change is unrealistic at best and a failure waiting to happen at worst. So, even if you start with changing what you eat, or the music you listen to, or even the clothes you’re used to wearing — start small and you’ll notice big changes later.
- Expect speed bumps
Practice makes perfect. It’s natural to get stumped or even face a dead end every once in a while. Getting to your comfort zone, be that a job you’ve been at for years or a routine you’ve perfected since college, wasn’t easy at the beginning either. Everything needs time to reach a groove.
- Embrace the unknown
No one really wants to dive head first into unknown territory. But the moment we start to educate ourselves about something different is the very moment it becomes familiar. So read about, research, or talk to people about what it is you’re thinking of trying for the first time. Sit down for coffee with someone in a vastly different career, go on vacation with that adventure seeking friend, or finally pick up that dive instruction manual and get a little taste of something different.
- Revisit your comfort zone
While on this endeavor to surround yourself with new experiences, it’s okay to occasionally revisit the very place you sought to escape. Not only will you appreciate where you were and how far you’ve come but you’ll feel encouraged not to find yourself in a rut again.
Sometimes we pigeon-hole ourselves in comfortable activities because our fears limit us. It’s okay to be afraid or cautious with something that may seem unnatural to you. When you’re ready to take the leap, after you’ve made those small steps and are ready to dive into something new, you may find yourself anxious still. Remember that every big journey starts with exactly one step. Set your mind to it, and eventually you’ll find a completely new comfort zone — and maybe a desire to break out of that one as well.