Why is it hard to leave your comfort zone?
You know you are destined for greater things. You know you have unlimited potential within you. You want more out of life and you believe you can achieve it. You’ve been working on improving your mindset and for the most part, you’ve been able to cultivate a positive mindset.
So why then is it still so difficult for you to step outside of your comfort zone? Why do you still tend to avoid things that make you feel even slightly uncomfortable? Why do you only approach the things you are super comfortable with?
If this is something you’ve been thinking about or wrestling with, you’re not alone. I’ll attempt to shed a bit of light on why is it hard to leave your comfort zone and offer a few tips on how you can start nudging yourself beyond the safe space you’ve created for yourself.
It’s cliché, but it’s true. Fear keeps us in our comfort zones. Whether it’s fear of failure or fear of what others might think. Fear of the unknown or fear of success (yes! Believe it or not, that’s a real thing), the fact is that fear keeps us doing what we are already comfortable with.
What to do about it:
Self-reflect often. Identify exactly what your fear or fears are and tackle each of them one by one. Remember that fear serves a purpose. So please don’t get sucked into that toxic positivity and toxic fearlessness crap.
Fear is a necessary emotion and it tells us something. Identify what your fears are trying to tell you. Maybe it’s something you need to improve. Maybe it’s something you need to pay closer attention to.
Realize that fear serves a valid purpose and you can wield that fear into power.
Think of your fear as a rabid dog you’re training. You’ll be nervous as hell each time you try to approach it, right? So instead of ignoring the dog and pretending it’s not there, what do you do? Accept its presence then gently approach it. You tame it by identifying why it’s so angry and then you gently show it that it’s okay. That it can trust you.
You must do the same with your fears. Find out what they’re telling you. Find out if it’s valid or not. Then gently reassure yourself that it’s okay to not be okay sometimes. Just don’t be crazy about it and dismiss danger in an effort to “be fearless”. Because that’s just ridiculous!
Yes. You stay in your comfort zone because you are familiar with your comfort zone. Our brains are designed to make us comfortable. It’s designed to take us out of an uncomfortable situation and get us to a comfortable one and if that doesn’t work, because we are familiar with our discomfort, it starts looking for ways to make our uncomfortable situation seem more comfortable.
Have you ever asked yourself “why does she stay in that toxic relationship?” or “why doesn’t she just leave that bulls**t job?” before? If you think about it, you know that answer: it’s familiar.
Yes, it’s not always simple and it’s not always black and white but at the core of why we stay static is simply this: we are familiar with it.
What to do about it:
Ask yourself this question: the way I’m currently living – the life I currently lead – do I want to remain this way for the rest of my life? If your answer is no, then you need to follow up with this question: what would I prefer instead. And please for the love of God be realistic in your response to this question. None of the fluffy idealistic crap that you and I both know you’re not gonna actually do.
Now once you have your answer, ask yourself, what can I do every day to get closer to that reality? Because your comfort zone is familiar, you must train your mind to accept the unfamiliar by making the unfamiliar become familiar. Small daily habits add up over time.
Someone once said, “show me your daily habits and I’ll tell you what your life will look like in six months”.
If you’re trying to lose weight, for example, it’s not the fad diets that make you lose 15 pounds in one week that will make the most lasting impact. It’s the choice to develop healthy habits like drinking water instead of juice, eating an apple instead of a bag of chips, eating less instead of stuffing your face because the food is delicious (we’ve all been guilty of it). There’s no judgment or shame here but I’m sure you get the point.
Make your unfamiliar familiar by taking small steps every day. And when you fall off the wagon, just get back on and keep going.
3. You’ve been hurt before
Yep! Believe it or not. Being hurt before can cause you to stay in your comfort zone – whether consciously or subconsciously – to avoid being hurt again. Failure can also trigger this choice as well.
Here’s the deal, remaining in our comfort zone isn’t always a conscious choice. Sometimes we just do without even realizing that’s what we’re doing. If you’re a content creator, for example, you find yourself only touching on safe non-controversial topics.
Not because you don’t have any opinions about those topics. And not because your opinions wouldn’t be valid and even helpful to the people who interact with your content. But because it just comes naturally to you to avoid those topics because somewhere in your subconscious, you remember a time when you did and the results were unfavorable.
Remember when I said the brain protects us from what is uncomfortable? Well, the possibility of getting burnt again, failing again, or getting hurt again is an uncomfortable thought. So you subconsciously avoid it.
What to do about it
Change your mindset. First of all, stop trying to avoid pain. Realize that pain is a natural part of life. Many of the most beautiful stories in life grew out of pain. Most – if not all – successful people in life are only that way because they learned how to wield their pain into power.
This is not to say that you should remain in a painful situation and not try to change it. That’s dumb. And this is not to say that you should actively walk right into fire knowing full well that you are most likely not going to survive. That’s – as we say in Jamaica – dunce.
What I am saying is that to actively try to avoid every situation that might be even slightly painful is to avoid living. And what’s the point of life if you’re not living?
What I am saying is that hiccups, road bumps, bad days, sadness, hurt, disappointment, unpleasant experiences are all natural parts of life. To try to avoid them is to avoid life.
So instead, try to view failure, not as a final resting place. It’s not a grave for crying out loud! View failure as a lesson. It is only a failure if you never learn from the experience. If you learned and grew from the experience, then how can you say it’s a failure? It’s all a matter of perspective
If you live in your comfort zone, chances are you’ve been frolicking in a field of What-Ifs. Because that’s what your comfort zone is. The perfect place for you to farm What-ifs.
-What if it doesn’t work out?
-What if he doesn’t like me?
-What if he cheats on me?
-What if he leaves?
-What if I fail?
-What if the business idea gets rejected?
-What if everyone laughs at me?
-What if they like me and want more and I can’t deliver?
-What if I never make money from this?
-What if I’m just kidding myself?
-What if I don’t like the results?
-What if blah blah blah?
Don’t get me wrong. Your “what-if” fear might be perfectly justified. But here’s the problem with living your life like that: you’ll never know unless you try.
Here’s what to do about it
Ask yourself this question: if you were to find out that you only have 3 months left to live, what would you do with that time? There’s your answer. THAT is what you should be doing now.
Here’s another question: if you were to find out that you have 24 hours left to live, would you prefer to say “I wonder what would have happened if__?” or would you prefer to be saying “well at least I___” or “I’m glad I___”.
I know it might be a bit dark but the thing is, it really does put life into perspective when you think about it that way. When we think our time is infinite, we procrastinate. We drag our feet. Like that assignment you have that’s due in three weeks but you don’t actually start it until three days before it’s due.
When we realize our time is limited, it makes it a lot easier to prioritize.
This is not to say you should go around living your life “like each day is the last” and all that nonsense. Because for most people, assuming life runs its natural course, this is most likely not your last day.
Use this as a tool to help you put things into perspective. Not as an excuse to throw responsibility and accountability out the window. Don’t be a nincompoop.
This is probably one of the worst reasons to stay in our comfort zone. You see, with one through four, it’s a matter of mindset and willpower. But this one is a little more complicated because this one is where you justify why you are not doing more with your life. You justify why you are not achieving your goals. You justify why you aren’t living your dreams.
Even worse, you justify why you will never, and that right there is the most dangerous of all. Because as a man thinketh so is he.
It gets even worse. Have you ever seen those poor people who just hate rich people? People they’ve never even met? Have you ever seen those single people who just hate couples? Have you ever seen those women who just hate men? Do you know what they all have in common? They have accepted their current reality as a permanent reality, they justify it with every fiber of their being and anything that exists and challenges that reality is a threat. So they reject it as hard as they possibly can.
What to do about it
Self-reflection will be your key. This is how you will be able to identify if you are in fact using the justification crutch. Once you have identified that you are, it’s time to reject the justification.
Let’s say you want to start a business so you can leave a job that you’re just not fulfilled in anymore. But you can’t exactly just quit since that’s not a luxury you can afford just yet. That’s fine.
Don’t justify not having the business by saying “at least I have a job”. Work on the business in your free time as much as possible and allow it to take its sweet little time to grow. Nurture it and be patient with it, knowing that one day it’s going to bear enough fruit for you to leave that job.
INTERESTING READ: THIS IS HOW YOU HAVE A SUCCESSFUL LIFE
Why you need to get out of your comfort zone
Your comfort zone isn’t inherently a bad place to be. It’s only dangerous when that’s the entirety of your world and you never explore beyond it. The aim is to expand your comfort zone. Take the uncomfortable and make it a part of the comfortable. Because the truth is, growth is uncomfortable.
In order to get what you never had, you’ll have to do what you’ve never done. In order to reach where you’ve never been, you have to go where you’ve never gone. You get the idea right?
Your comfort zone is where all the things you’ve experienced before live. It is not where growth happens. Growth happens beyond your comfort zone. Growth happens when you take a chance on life, on love, on yourself.
That doesn’t happen in your comfort zone. It happens when you reach outside of your comfort zone and expand the parameters of said comfort zone.
Only living in your comfort zone affects different aspects of your life.
It affects your:
- Romantic relationships
- Ability to form new friendships and build a network
- Financial decisions
- Ability to grow
- Ability to be successful in your endeavors.
- Ability to be at peace
- Mental health
- Ability to be truly, genuinely happy
Just to name a few.
A life that’s truly worth living, does not exist solely within your comfort zone. It’s the overcoming of challenges that allows you to truly appreciate the life you lead. You self actualize when you step beyond the borders of your comfort zone.
Over to you
How can you step outside your comfort zone today?
Until next time, stay feminine, classy and unapologetically woman!
-Love, Lis xoxo