One of the most defining differences among successful people and those who are average is the willingness to venture outside one’s comfort zone. Being willing to put ourselves in situations that make us uncomfortable, even though they’re safe is something we all naturally avoid. Our brains love predictability because same=safe to our ancient, predator-avoiding brains.
Yet, venturing out into the unknown outside of our comfort zone is essential for growing and improving throughout our lives. So how do we overcome the resistance and get out there? Here are six tips for pushing past your comfort zone.
Sometimes we get so caught on the big picture we’re hoping to paint for ourselves that we forget we must start with the small but integral steps first. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to jump ahead too far. Pick something doable, but that puts on the path towards your larger goal, such as visiting a karaoke bar before actually singing karaoke.
It might sound impossible, but learning to enjoy failure at least in some small aspect will make a significant difference in your ability to break out of your comfort zone. Part of the reason we get stuck within a comfort zone is the feeling of safety that predictability gives. By viewing failure as a less scary and painful experience, you’ll be more open to breaking out of your comfort zone.
Get a Break Out Buddy
It can be less daunting to do something that makes you uncomfortable if you share the experience. Recruit a friend to join you in your effort to break out of your comfort zone. Sometimes having a friend support you in doing something that makes you uncomfortable makes it just slightly less daunting and more doable.
Along with taking small steps comes taking notes. Recording your progress — even with a journal of just a few sentences — will help you see how far you’ve come later on and also help you with each subsequent new effort by giving you more context. Checking your notes will help you see what’s worked for breaking out of your comfort zone and what didn’t work, allowing your next efforts to be even more successful.
Learn to Sit with Discomfort
Training yourself not to run at the moment you feel discomfort is necessary for helping you break out of your comfort zone. Embracing discomfort is a valuable practice for life and can be strengthened through meditation and mindfulness.
Remind Yourself Why
In the face of the anxiety that can arise when we push ourselves past our comfort zones, remember your motivation for bearing that discomfort. By dealing with some unpleasantness in the present, you’ll be able to achieve better growth and personal development as you break out of your comfort zone.