“A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.”
– Denis Waitley
By definition, making changes means getting out of your comfort zone. I wrote about the benefits of leaving your comfort zone, and the impact it can have on your life a few weeks ago.
Today, I came across a comfort zone calculator that identifies and measures what you believe you can and can’t do. The test measures 3 aspects of an individual’s behavior patterns – lifestyle, professional, and adrenaline.
I know am guilty of living in my comfort zone these days – I don’t deviate from my routine all that much anymore, but according to this comfort zone calculator, there’s not much I don’t believe I can do. I scored pretty high in lifestyle and professional comfort zones, meaning that I do live outside my comfort zone, or I am comfortable doing so, but mediocre in the adrenaline zone. That sounds about right. I have always taken big lifestyle and career risks, but I’m not really an adrenaline junky.
I have to wonder, why does the idea of getting out of the comfort zone automatically conjure up images of jumping out of a plane, or doing something that is inherently dangerous or life threatening?
I think that the big things like jumping out of a plane, or moving to another country are definitely examples of leaving the comfort zone, but I think sometimes those things are easier to do than the small things. Once you jump out a plane, you might do it again without fear, and once you move to another country, you’ll get used to it too. But then what? Do you repeat the same behaviors in the new country as you did before the move, and slip into your familiar patterns?
Real change happens with the small stuff – small changes, big results. Here are some ideas on how to get out of your everyday routine, and expand your level of comfort, a little bit at a time.
- Be comfortable in your own skin – go out for dinner, or to a movie alone, with no props.
- Challenge your image of yourself – drastically change your hairstyle or clothing style.
- Flex your muscles – give the car a break, and ride your bike to work.
- Put your money where your mouth is – try different cuisines, buy exotic fruits & vegetables at the supermarket.
- Embrace the artist in you – take a class to learn a skill that you’ve always dreamed of, but never thought you could.
- Follow your passion – quit the job that pays the bills and opt for doing what you love.
Ok, so the last one isn’t a small change, maybe it’s the ultimate change. In any case, these are just a few ideas to get the wheels turning. It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s subjective to your own level of comfort, but if you want to improve your life, you need to change it up, step out of your comfort zone, and embrace the unknown.
The real risk is letting life pass you by while you’re in a comfortable state of complacency. Take the risk, it can change your life. The more you practice expanding your routine in small ways, the easier it gets…and before you know it, you’ll be comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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