Doesn’t hurt to be reminded to step out of your comfort zone every now and then and now is time for a reminder…
We are creatures of habit. We also like to feel safe and secure. This is why many people stay in their comfort zones. This is also why many people never truly experience their full potential, and success and excitement eludes them.
If sticking in your comfort zone interferes with your growth and development and if it hinders reaching your goals, and if very little has changed for you in the past 5 to 10 years, it’s time for a change! Imagine if you chose to crawl all your life because the risk of standing on your own two feet was too scary… some people live their whole lives this way. But not us, right? So here we go with 8 tips to help you out:
1. Repeat after me: “Different is good!” Change your daily and weekly routines. Take a different route to work. Shop at a different mall. Change your hair style. Change what you “usually” eat for breakfast. Listen to a different radio station. Don’t let old habits determine how you live your life today – mix it up and have some fun! Be adventurous. Try new clothes. Change your style. Change the order you usually do things around the house every now and then. Get the idea? Find new ways of doing things.
2. Get a Hobby. Don’t let life be only work and sleep. Find time to resurrect a favorite activity – karaoke? Bootscooting? Amateur theatre? Wining/dining? Book Club? Sporting club? Stamp collecting? Cooking? Fishing? Golf? Coaching kids sport? Do volunteer work. Join a committee. Get out there and participate in something. If you are breathing, this message is for you: Life! Be in it!
3. Freshen Up Your Relationships. I’m not saying get rid of your old friends, but how about meeting some new ones? Anyone in your building or street or even your company that you think you might have something in common with? Find a way to engage them in conversation. Get to know new people who you see regularly but may not personally know who can introduce you to new activities. Maybe they’d like to join you for a quick, healthy lunch time or after dinner “walk” for exercise… maybe you both have dogs and can walk them together… maybe you have common interests in movies and can catch a movie together. Be creative.
4. Be spontaneous! Imagine… It’s a Saturday afternoon. You and your significant other may find yourselves with nothing to do – assuming your children are grown or maybe you don’t have any – grab a few essentials, toss them in the back of the car and head for the country… or the city… stay overnight somewhere. It will feel like you’ve had a holiday and you’ll go home refreshed. Decide not to cook one night and go out for dinner. Do something on the spur of the moment. Don’t feel you have to plan everything in life.
5. Expand Yourself at Work. Let your Boss know you’re ready, willing and able to take on some new responsibilities. Ask him how you can enrich your position by either changing some of the things you do or adding something new and interesting. Maybe there is something he does that you can help him with. You’ll score points for initiative (useful when the payrises and bonuses are handed out!), and make your daily work more interesting for yourself. I’m very big on working yourself happy… I even wrote a bestselling book about it!
6. Be a “new dog”! Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Prove ‘em wrong. Be a new dog and learn new skills. This might be something that can help you with point (5) in expanding your work, or it might be something more in the recreation field, like learning to play chess…. or Mahjong… or grabbing a Soduku book… or going to night school to learn a new language or arts and crafts… the list is endless… learn something new and interesting to stimulate your brain cells.
7. Look After Yourself. If you are what you eat, what are you eating and when you look in the mirror what does it say about your diet? Do you need to eat more healthily? Look online for healthy meal suggestions. Add healthy vegetables and fruits to your daily eating pattern. Replace cakes and biscuits with fresh fruit. Limit take-out to once a month instead of once a day or once a week. Drink more water. Instead of reaching for that mid morning chocolate bar, try a healthy muesli snack or some almonds. I’m all for eating healthy but I don’t believe in “diets”… I even wrote a book about that!
8. Still Looking After Yourself. Even if you are slim, trim and terrific, your body needs exercise to stay that way and to keep fit and healthy. You don’t have to go to a gym or take up jogging… a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day will do it for many people, especially if they work long hours or have other commitments that prevent regular exercise or sport. If it’s not possible or wise to go walking after hours where you live, look on ebay for a second hand walking machine and you can walk for miles while you watch TV. You can do that on an exercise bike, too. You can buy exercise videos and do them in the comfort of your own home at a time that suits you.
So there you have it. Eight tips to get you started and you may find ways to expand these and think of more fun things to do that will get you out of your rut and out of your comfort zone. Don’t let any one particular idea consume you or take over your life. It should be about balance. You don’t have to change everything… start small… start with a new way of wearing your hair… let your goal be than in 12 months time you will look back and can trace your development and growth and know you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone and really lived!