Comfort is overrated! Benefits of stepping outside your comfort-zone

Though you may not recognise it, you could be sitting in a small box of your own making. It’s comfortable, calm and peaceful… much less scary than the unknown depths beyond the box. But it can be cramped and limiting, with barely any room for expansion or growth.

This is the comfort zone. It’s good to have a safe space in life, a place where you can sit physically or metaphorically and not be concerned about outside pressures. But without much resistance from life comes little to no progress. By stepping out of the box, little by little, that box can grow. The more experienced you are leaving the box, the less scary it is!

What are the benefits of stepping outside of your comfort zone?

Whatever stage of life you are in, whether a student unsure which course to take or an adult not too happy with their current situation, stepping outside your comfort zone is the first step to a new direction in life! Particularly if you are younger, training to push yourself will have a much greater effect on your mental health and build you up to be tough and resilient.

Of course, we want to expand our comfort zone, but there will be challenges you face that will try to push you back. Exams, for example, involve sitting in a room amongst a hundred other students while the clocks tick, the invigilators wander, pause behind you, peak over your work, and cough. Did that cough mean something? Now their shoes are squeaking away. What was wrong with my answer? Did they see something?

It’s the most uncomfortable and stressful experience you will have to face, and it happens multiple times in the span of a month! We can’t always deal with these challenges inside our comfort zone, but we can train ourselves to manage these obstacles when they arise. By having a positive, resilient mindset that can take on anything!

So, how can we start pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone?

1. Take Things Step-by-step

The first step is exactly that, taking that step. For some, throwing yourself out there and being spontaneous is an effective method but it can leave you vulnerable to pushback. Like throwing yourself in the deep end of a revision book, leaving you more confused.  The trick is to mentally prepare yourself by making small, gradual changes each day. Try incorporating a new habit or making a simple change to your normal routine.

2. Face Your Fears

Recognising what is holding you back is crucial in learning how to overcome it. For many, a lot is riding on that perfect score. Maybe your university of choice requires certain grades, or you want to go into an industry, but it requires doing a course you are not fond of. Setting a desirable goal will help you face the obstacle standing in your way!

3. Comfort Zone vs Boundaries

This is an important distinction and involves being self-aware of what you can and cannot do. Yes, we want to push ourselves outside our comfort zone, but we don’t want to break through a boundary that doesn’t need to be crossed. For example, you may want to be more social and outgoing but that does not mean you need to handshake or hug everyone you meet! Find where the lines in yourself are drawn and respect that. 

4. Have Someone To Talk To

Who said leaving your comfort zone had to be done alone? We can all work together to achieve shared goals and encourage each other out of our shells. Having someone help you stay accountable for your tasks and to unwind any concerns can be a great help to your mental health. As well as the motivational boost you need!

5. Just go for it!

Not tomorrow. Not when convenient. Just go for it NOW! When you feel inspired, or you’re craving a change, the best time to use that energy is in the moment. Often we lose motivation over time, overthink our worries and discourage ourselves by starting to make up excuses. Just doing it will give you the push you need and encourage you to keep on going.

How do I get out of my comfort zone?

It can be tough to know where to start. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone is a long journey with great rewards along the way. It requires learning new life skills and making them a part of you, keeping you mentally fit and ready for any challenge! 

If you need guidance, check out our book Don’t Get Your Neck Tattooed! Join Milo as he journeys through the Z to As of life. You’ll learn valuable skills along the way to help you stay positive and live life on your own terms.

Listen to our podcast!

Z to A of Life Skills Podcast with Mark and Jules Kennedy.

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