BLOG: What happens when you step out of your comfort zone?
We all have our routines, our cosy little comforts that we like, and we feel comfortable in. We have created these safe routines to protect ourselves. Through routine we know what to expect. An example of this can be as simple as always shopping at the same supermarket or bigger when we avoid trying something new. We all do this, but why?
Often it is linked to fear, fear of the unknown, fear of failure. We sometimes tell ourselves stories that we can’t do something, so putting limitations on ourselves. We might have been telling ourselves these stories for such a long time that it’s hard to rewrite them. Mine for example was being sensitive as a child. This made me think I couldn’t possibly push myself out of my comfort zone because I told myself I was still that scared kid! This is of course not true. I am just as capable as anyone else. And through developing my own self belief and resilience I am learning how to do this.
Through pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone we can take up new opportunities, learn and develop and explore more of lives’ rich and colourful experiences. When we take chances, we might discover a new skill, a new confidence in ourselves, broaden our knowledge and understanding. We also prove to ourselves that we can be brave and even if it doesn’t work out, we have developed that all-important resilience.
It’s scary though right? It feels safer sometimes to follow the crowd, stay inside our box, not step out. We’ve all had thoughts such as ‘What if I get my fingers burnt? what if I fall flat on my face? What if they don’t like what I do?’ But what if nothing bad happens and actually through taking a leap of faith what actually happens is great! Magical! Life-changing even.
But how do we do it? How do we muster the courage if we are feeling nervous and scared? How do we push ourselves out of our comfort zone?
1. Take the first small step – This is always the hardest, but once you’ve started you can quickly gain more confidence. "In theory, all you need to do is to take the first step. It will be difficult. The first day at the gym is the worst. The opening line of your story takes the longest time. But as you gain momentum, it is easier to keep moving." Deepak Mehta
2. Change your routine – even small changes here can have an impact. It might be more challenging during the current lock-down, but you could try when you go for a walk going somewhere new. Or you could try a new podcast or switch your bootcamp video for yoga. Any change can make a difference
3. Try something new – this doesn’t have to be a big step. This could be as small as trying a new drink or food, or bigger with learning a new skill through training or giving running a go. Remember, if you push through that fear of failure, something magical could happen!
4. Persevere – When you learn something new it’s hard. You might struggle at first but the more you do it, the more experience you will have and the more confident you will become.
5. Volunteer – This is a great way to try something new, push yourself, help others and enrich your life experience. To find out what you can get involved in at SHU you can contact the SU volunteering team
6. Face your fears - Nobody likes this one! This is when it is more challenging. This could be something you’re not just uncomfortable with but actually scared of. This might be public speaking, being on video, difficult conversations. But if you can find the courage to do these things, it can really help to lessen that fear and you realise your strength in overcoming it. 7. Dream Big – Identify your values, discover your aspirations and set clear SMART goals. To succeed in pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone you need to challenge yourself and by setting clear goals and how to achieve them you can make them happen. “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” Muhammed Ali
8. Say yes! – It’s a simple word but sometimes it’s hard to say. When someone asks us to do something new, we might fear the unknown. Try not to think too much about it, don’t let the fear creep in. Surprise yourself and possibly the other person and just say yes!
9. Record your success – This will help to motivate you and keep you pushing on despite setbacks. So every time you succeed or have a small win make a mental note, record it on your phone or even (old school I know!) write it down and keep it to remind yourself of what you are capable of
10. Each day is a new opportunity – This mindset can work 2 ways: firstly, if you didn’t try anything new today, don’t worry, tomorrow is another opportunity to try again. Secondly, if you did try something and it didn’t work out, try not to dwell, because tomorrow is a fresh start to try something else
I hope this inspires you to think about trying something new. Remember, it doesn’t have to be mountain climbing or jumping out of an airplane! Just a tiptoe out of your comfort zone to start with is enough. I truly believe that you won’t regret it.
We are here to help you! So, keep an eye on our future blogs!