You have a comfort zone and it’s probably your favorite place in the world. Because when you are in your comfort zone; life kind of feels right. It feels so right, you might wonder why getting out of your comfort zone is good for you.
Why Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone is Good for You
What is your comfort zone? It’s when you have life somewhat on autopilot. You’ve got things in place: friends, job, kids, hobbies, and activities. You aren’t particularly searching for new things and life seems pretty good for the most part.
Why in the world would anyone want to get out of their comfort zone? Isn’t comfort a good thing?
To some extent yes—your comfort zone can feel like a good place. It’s where you have less stress and anxiety.
However, it’s not always where you are living optimally and having your best life. You see, you need a little of the anxiety that getting out of your comfort zone produces to truly live a life you love.
Consciously getting out of your comfort zone can elevate your life in ways that are unexpected and truly pleasurable. By getting out of your comfort zone, you discover things about yourself and what you enjoy that you just wouldn’t otherwise. These things don’t live in your comfort zone.
Yet, as you probably are aware; it can be difficult to push yourself to do things that feel less than comfortable. It’s hard to step outside the place where you feel safe.
The Two BIG Excuses We Use to Stay in Our Comfort Zone
We often use excuses to not do things that might actually be good for us. Two of the biggest are “I can’t” and “I don’t want to.”
These two tiny phrases can keep us majorly stuck in life. And keep us stuck in a life that doesn’t feel quite right. Yet, each of these at times does have some validity.
We are allowed to say we can’t and we can certainly avoid things we don’t want to do.
This keeps us safe quite a bit. This keeps us comfortable.
But it can also be so easy to use these two excuses to the extent that we stay stuck, stuck, stuck! We feel stuck and we can’t quite figure out why.
The truth is that many things we say we can’t do or that we don’t want to do are perfectly safe and okay to do. But they might feel uncomfortable and so we say we can’t or we don’t want to instead of dealing with the discomfort.
I’ll give a recent example from my life.
Out of Comfort Zone = Exciting
I started dating a man eight months ago that was an avid cyclist. I am not. Fortunately, it wasn’t a deal breaker and we’ve had many happy times doing so many other things together. Occasionally he would ask if I would consider riding a bike. My standard answer was, “I don’t want to.”
This was mostly true. Also true was I didn’t see a way to afford this hobby and I sure wasn’t confident in my abilities.
However, for my birthday, he gave me a bike and some accessories. He was a little nervous because it just might have been possible that I really didn’t want to ride a bike.
But he gave me the bike anyway and we went for our first little ride.
I rode the bike. and I felt happy and I felt happy in a way that went beyond riding a bike. For the first time in decades I was riding a bike and I felt the excitement and freedom of flying along.
Yes, it took some assertive action on the part of someone else…but I was still the one that had to get over my “I don’t want to” and “I can’t.”
But I did it and it opened up my world in a way that I wasn’t expecting.
Now I have a new hobby that is FUN. Even cooler, I have a new way of getting around that I can use instead of a car. Being out of my comfort zone feels great.
Riding a bike, I can see parts of parks and town that I haven’t been able to up until now.
My world became bigger.
My life became bigger.
This is exciting.
In the past half year, I’ve done things that I wasn’t sure I could or even that I wanted to. But if I had the time and money and it was relatively safe, I’ve tried to say yes, even when I wanted to say “I can’t” or “I don’t want to.” Especially when I want to say those things! (Learn fun and safe ways to say YES here)
Out of Comfort Zone = Happy
Let me explain something here. I can be happy in a lot of different ways.: sitting on the floor playing with my granddaughters, reading a good book, or sitting with friends chatting over coffee or wine. I never thought I needed more excitement in my life.
Yet, it came a knocking and I decided to answer the door. In the past few months, I’ve done the following.
- I went sailing.
- I’ve ridden on a motorcycle.
- I’ve gone to two music festivals in other states. Big crowded ones.
- I went to an opera.
- I’ve met new people.
- I took a new job.
- I’ve rented an apartment in a part of town that I thought was beyond my means.
- I biked 15 miles.
Some things I liked and some I didn’t like as much.
Yet, each and everything I did that was out of my comfort zone changed me. By getting out of my comfort zone, I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin.
I don’t feel like life is passing me by. I feel like I am living it more fully than I ever have. Being scared or slightly uncomfortable at times is good for me.
A few years ago, life kicked me out of my comfort zone. Consequently, I chose to not only stay there but to embrace it. For a while it seemed like it was just going to be…you know…uncomfortable. In those three years I moved four times, went out with 36 different guys (yes, I kept count), learned to live on my own, and started this blog.
Finally, I also lost 30 pounds and embraced that I was a fit, healthy woman who loved to look and feel good. Believe it or not, I hadn’t worn shorts or dresses for over 20 years! But I’ve learned to love them now. In addition, I found new hobbies, vocations, and friends. I also deepened connections to old friends.
All of these things created a happier life.
Out of Comfort Zone = Loving Life
Last night, a friend told me that my love of life shows on my face. I believe that—since I am usually smiling and feel a kind of happy anticipation about what’s to come. I’m not exactly sure when I crossed over from having to get out of my comfort zone to choosing to get out of my comfort zone but I do know it’s happened.
And that, as they say, has made all the difference.
Keep showing up my friends!
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I'm a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now I coach and write at My Think Big Life promoting health and personal growth.
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