Your life may be full of opportunities to step outside of your comfort zone, but seizing them can be a real challenge.
What Is a Comfort Zone?
The comfort zone is a set of typical behaviors, routines, and actions that is familiar. It consists of your regular habits and routines where you experience low levels of stress and anxiety with little-to-no risk involved.
People who are said to “live in the comfort zone” usually take minimal risks and receive minimal rewards in return.
Here’s what you should know about the four stages of leaving your comfort zone towards your growth zone.
- Comfort zone
This is the state you’re in if you’re starting at ground zero. It feels secure and you feel in control because you’re familiar with this space and you know what to expect.
For instance, eating the same breakfast every morning and denying any other food because it’s not in your routine is a perfect example of staying within your comfort zone.
- Fear zone
This is the second stage that introduces fear and anxiety. Excuses, lack of self-confidence, and being persuaded by the opinions of your family and friends to stay in the comfort zone are all obstacles you may face when trying to leave the comfort zone.
For example, maybe you learn that oat milk would be a nutritious substitute for cow’s milk for your breakfast, but you’ve never tried it before and that scares you.
- Learning zone
The learning zone is the cure to the fear zone. As the zone title suggests, this is where you learn about the new endeavor you’re about to engage in and acquire new skills to overcome the challenge.
Perhaps you learn about how oat milk is full of nutrients, and you learn where to buy it and watch YouTube videos on how it’s made, making you feel comfortable about adding it to your breakfast menu.
- Growth zone
Here is where you take what you’ve learned and try it out.
The growth zone is where you learn to set new goals and live them out, regardless of how well you do. The goal is to realize your strengths and use them to obtain new outcomes.
Let’s say you replace cow’s milk with oat milk for your next breakfast. Whether you like it or not, you tried it and evolved your skills when it comes to picking and trying a new food. Great job!
51 Ideas to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you want to step out of your comfort zone, here are some amazing things you can do today!
1. Experiment with a new playlist
Listening to new genres or artists can shake up your routine and expose you to different perspectives. Music has a profound impact on our emotions, mindset, and even productivity. Exploring a new playlist might just give you a newfound sense of energy or a different way of looking at things.
Action Step: Open Spotify, Apple Music, or your preferred music platform. Search for a genre you’ve never explored. Commit to listening to it for at least one hour. Note any changes in your mood or perspective.
2. Surrender your meal choices
Allowing someone else to choose your meal is a small yet potent way to relinquish control and embrace unpredictability.
You might discover a new favorite dish or realize you have a palate more adventurous than you thought.
Action Step: Call up a friend and arrange a meal at a restaurant neither of you has been to. Ask them to order for you, embracing the surprise that comes with it (but taking care of any dietary requirements, of course!).
3. Offer an unsolicited compliment
Sometimes we hold back compliments or positive feedback, thinking it might come off as awkward or unwarranted. However, sincere compliments can brighten someone’s day and can also boost your mood.
In fact, research shows that we constantly underestimate how much happiness an act of kindness to a stranger can bring.
Action Step: Pick a friend or coworker and send them a genuine compliment right now. Or share an inspiring video with them and tell them why it reminded you of them.
And while you’re at it, try this extra challenge to level up your people skills:
Master Your People Skills
- Create a Memorable Presence
- Communicate with Confidence
- Achieve Your Goals
Have a question about the presentation or People School? Email Science of People support.
4. Take a leap into a new physical activity
Changing your physical activity routine forces you to adapt both mentally and physically. It could be a yoga class, a martial arts class, or even a different type of gym workout.
Action Step: Use Google Maps to find a new gym or yoga spot near you. Sign up for a class you’ve never tried before (some even offer free trials!) and commit to attending at least one session.
5. Find an online niche
Participating in new online forums can provide you with fresh perspectives and can expand your knowledge base. It might also help you build valuable connections in an area that interests you.
To really get out of your comfort zone, make sure to post something and take part in the community—don’t just be a lurker.
Action Step: Search for a Reddit forum that aligns with your interests but is something you’re not yet a part of. Make your first post something positive or interesting.
6. Seek out-of-zone advice on social media
Sometimes we need a push from our community to try something new. Publicly declaring your intent to step out of your comfort zone can be that push.
Action Step: Post a status on your social media profiles stating that you’re watching a video about stepping out of your comfort zone. Ask your friends to suggest one thing for you to try that’s out of your normal routine.
7. Make an “Uncomfortable” list
Cold showers, waking up early, going for a run, taking the bike instead of the subway, calling your mother on the phone—what things make you uncomfortable? Listing out the things that are out of your comfort zone is a great way to visualize things you can do.
Action Step: Create your own list! Write down 10-20 things you can do everyday that make you feel uncomfortable. Pick a few to do each day.
8. Film yourself
Getting in front of the camera can be an introvert’s nightmare, but it can help boost confidence and verbal proficiency as well. The trick is to do something that you enjoy so much that you forget the camera is there.
It might be a bit uncomfortable in the beginning, but stick with it and you’ll likely see your skills improve!
Action Step: Whether it’s your gym workout, your daily routine at work, or a random interesting hobby, record a video of yourself talking to step out of your comfort zone.
9. Ask deep questions
Having frequent and open conversations about various topics is a simple technique that can lead to interesting results. Knowing how to ask good questions1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3596240/ is also an important skill that can be used to learn about what you fear and push you further past what you already know.
Action Step: Dig deep. Ask a deep question from this question list the next time you want to get to know someone.
10. Start a conversation with a stranger
By striking a conversation with a stranger, you both enter the fear zone and engage in the learning zone. You might even come out of the conversation forming a personal connection or learning something new!
Action Step: Strike up a conversation with a random stranger! A great way to start is to notice and make a comment about a trinket or item that the other person has on them. People love to talk about their own interests!
11. Read poetry on stage
As Robert Frost said, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”
Writing a poem can be a deeply personal or emotional experience. It allows you to express your thoughts, fears, and desires in a unique way. Taking it a step further by reading it at an open mic can both challenge and liberate you.
Action Step: Write a short poem on a topic close to your heart. Search online for local poetry slams or open mic nights and make a commitment to attend and perform. Too much for a first reading? Invite your friends and acquaintances first.
12. Trust a librarian’s judgment
Ever read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers? It emphasizes the value of expertise. Librarians are experts in book knowledge, so why not tap into that? If you usually stick to thrillers or romance novels, a recommendation outside your genre can open up new worlds for you.
Action Step: Visit your local library and ask the librarian to recommend their favorite book in a genre you usually avoid. Commit to reading at least half of it before making a judgment.
13. Refresh your look
I remember the first time I let a barber take control of my hairstyle. The result? A renewed sense of confidence and a fresh perspective on how others see me. A new haircut from a professional can not only revamp your look but also give you a psychological lift.
Action Step: Schedule an appointment with a reputable hairdresser or barber. When you get there, ask them to give you the haircut they think would look best on you. Trust the process!
14. Start small
Switch up your routine just a little! For instance, if you regularly eat alone at your cubicle instead of with your colleagues, try moving to a public table and eating alone. If you’re comfortable enough, you might even want to try and invite your colleagues over for a lunch chat or scope out a new restaurant venue.
Action Step: Find that one tiny thing you can do to make a bigger difference and break out of your comfort zone!
15. Become a “Yes” Person
You may have a friend excitedly say, “Let’s try out this new restaurant!” or, “Let’s go on a road trip!” You may not like the idea of trying new food and you may be a bit fearful about leaving your hometown, but saying yes will help you leave your comfort zone.
Action Step: Aim to say 3 “Yeses” per day. If, at the end of the day, you still have some to say, say yes to quick things you want to do to improve yourself—like reading a few pages from your favorite book or doing ten minutes of meditation.
16. Try a new skill
By trying something new, you enter the learning zone! Try adding a new skill to your arsenal—something you’ve never made a methodical plan to
Action Step: Which activity will you try to build your confidence and personal growth? Try one of these skills in this skills list.
17. Release control
You may not hear this everyday, but giving up a bit of control can be a great way to break from your comfort zone.
In this state of not being able to control everything, you create opportunities for the element of surprise to occur and for you to adapt to. After accomplishing the scary feat, you’ll feel more capable to handle more random situations and expand your comfort zone in the future!
Action Step: Pick a random country to make your next vacation destination. Ask your friend for a random restaurant to go to. Pull up Google Maps and search for a new local gym or yoga spot. Get flexible!
18. Workout in a fun new way
This method is a technique that takes you out of your comfort zone mentally and physically.
By trying a different exercise than normal, your neuroplasticity grows2https://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2020/8856621/, giving you the ability to take on new challenges and learn how to maneuver through them.
Action Step: Haven’t started working out? Pick a fun workout from this list3https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/30-ways-to-get-active-exercise-fun. Already doing exercise? See what new methods you can introduce to increase your intensity.
19. Reframe your stress
Experiencing your anxiety and stress about stepping out of your comfort zone can be a real drag, so why not change it? The question is: what will you do with it?
Action Step: Try this. The next time you are feeling negative about doing something new, take away the label of “good” or “bad.” Just take hold of the feeling and use it as fuel to easily engage in your latest and greatest activity.
20. Rejection therapy
Many of us are afraid, which is why we don’t try anything new because of the villian that we call “rejection.” But failure can be a golden opportunity. Check out this TED talk on how Jia Jiang used rejection to his advantage:
Action Step: Try getting purposefully rejected. Start small, like asking someone for $100. For more rejections, check out this 100 days of rejection therapy challenge!
21. Get on stage
77% of the population4https://www.orai.com/blog/fear-of-public-speaking-statistics/ has some sort of fear when it comes to public speaking. To conquer your fears, why not try getting on stage? Over time, public speaking will train your fear to lesson and develop your neuroplasticity to extend you past your comfort zone in other aspects of life.
Action Step: Public speaking comes in many forms—try joining Toastmasters, speaking at your local open mic, or giving a speech in front of a close group of friends.
22. Start a creative endeavor
Creative acts can be one of the most fun and rewarding mental activities that you can engage in. Creativity is about stepping into the unknown and learning while in a fresh environment.
Action Step: Exercise your original thinking by having fun with some of the creative challenges5https://medium.com/constraint-drives-creativity/10-creativity-challenges-to-exercise-your-creative-confidence-ff6f19ba4241!
23. Find your voice through song
As the famous singer Adele once said, “I have insecurities, of course, but I don’t hang out with anyone who points them out to me.”
Taking vocal lessons can be both a vulnerable and empowering experience. Not only do you discover the range and timbre of your own voice, but you also learn to express emotions in a different form.
Action Step: Search for local vocal coaches or online courses, and book your first lesson. You don’t have to aim to become a professional singer; just aim to better understand your unique voice. For starters, learn your natural voice here: How to Speak with Confidence and Sound Better – Science of People.
24. Try a solo cinema experience
Ever read Eat, Pray, Love? Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the importance of enjoying your own company. Taking yourself out to a movie may seem simple, but it can be a rewarding experience of self-sufficiency and introspection.
Action Step: Pick a movie you’re interested in but haven’t been able to convince anyone else to see. Buy a ticket and go by yourself. Enjoy the film without worrying about anyone else’s opinions.
25. Become a “Yes” Person for a Day
Jim Carrey starred in a movie called Yes Man where he decides to say “Yes” to everything for a year. While that might be a bit extreme, there’s something liberating about saying “yes” more often than “no,” even if it’s just for one day.
Action Step: For the next 24 hours, say “yes” to any requests or invitations that come your way, as long as they aren’t dangerous or irresponsible. Note how it feels and what new experiences come from it.
Pro Tip: If you constantly say yes to everything and everyone, you might be a people pleaser. In that case, try being a “No” Person and reading our guide: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You.
26. The gift of giving
Oprah Winfrey often speaks about the joy of giving. It’s not about the monetary value but the thoughtfulness behind it. A gift can be a simple way to show appreciation and can strengthen your relationship with someone important to you.
Action Step: Think of someone who’s made a positive impact in your life recently. Buy or make a gift that you think they’ll appreciate. Give it to them without expecting anything in return.
27. Learn the Language of the World
Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
Learning a new language can be a long journey, but starting small can make it manageable and fun.
Action Step: Choose a language you’ve always been curious about. Use language learning apps or websites to learn five new words every day. Stick with it, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can accumulate knowledge.
28. Dive into the cold
Tony Robbins, the well-known life coach, swears by his daily plunge into cold water6https://www.tonyrobbins.com/health-vitality/the-power-of-cold-water/#:~:text=Every%20morning%2C%20Tony%20Robbins%20wakes,numerous%20proven%20cold%20shower%20benefits.. The shock of cold water not only wakes you up but is also said to improve circulation and boost your immune system. It’s a physical and mental challenge, a true leap out of most people’s comfort zones.
Action Step: Research safe ways to do a cold plunge, whether it’s in a specialized facility or a cold shower at home. Start with just a few seconds and work your way up. It’s not about enduring the cold; it’s about embracing it.
29. Reward thyself
One of the best ways to ensure that you follow through on your journey is to reward yourself for each task you do.
Action Step: After you accomplish an uncomfortable task, treat yourself to one of your favorite things to do. It can be a bike ride, a short TV show, a conversation with your bestie, or a well-deserved nap.
Either way, rewarding yourself is an excellent idea for creating motivation to try something new!
30. Watch an unfamiliar movie
Watching material that you’re unfamiliar with can help expand your mind and get you thinking in unorthodox ways.
Action Step: Go to Wikipedia’s list of movie genres and pick a topic you’re totally unfamiliar with! If you’re a history buff, try picking a comic fantasy. If you’re into anime, try political fiction. You can even start with language—if you like to watch Western movies, why not try looking into Eastern ones?
31. Be a positive force online
If you’re really introverted, the good thing about the internet is it can be anonymous. Letting your inner voice be heard online is a great way to build up a little confidence without worrying about real-world consequences.
32. Switch up your diet
How do you eat? One study shows that certain types of food that we put into our body like brown rice, vegetables, spices, and even salmon can positively enhance our way of thinking and boost our brain power.
Action Step: Try some new unique and/or healthy foods! Here are some hearty plant-based meals you can try to test this technique out!
33. Give a compliment to your family member
Compliments can be hard to give, especially when we’re close to someone. We already mentioned giving a compliment to a stranger, but this one might be tough for some people.
Try giving a compliment to someone close to you—a genuine, thoughtful one.
Action Step: Give a genuine compliment to a family member or relative.
34. The “side road” mentality
You may think that when attempting something new you must give it your all or not try at all, and this isn’t the case at all. Make the tasks as easy as possible on yourself.
For example, if you’re learning to drive, you don’t need to jump straight on the freeway. You can take a slower side road instead and get comfortable building up your tolerance.
Action Step: Take a look at your lists and replace them with the smallest things you can do to move towards your growth zone.
35. Find your community
Have you ever heard the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child”? Whether you want to kayak, eat better, exercise, quit something, or start something, there is a community in place to ensure that you are supported.
This process is ongoing so surrounding yourself with people who root for you and motivate you while taking on this new challenge is crucial!
Action Step: Find a group you feel welcomed in! Try places like Facebook groups or Meetup.com to find your community.
36. Discover your inner comedian with improv
“Life is an improvisation,” says actor Steve Carell, who actually started out in improv.
Improv classes can be a fun and often eye-opening way to explore different facets of your personality. They can also help you become a better public speaker and a more attentive listener.
Action Step: Look up local improv classes and sign up for an introductory session. Even if comedy isn’t your end goal, the skills you’ll learn are universally beneficial and great for getting better at conversation.
37. Strum new chords in life
Music has a way of moving people, of altering moods and thoughts. Ever been mesmerized by a musician and thought, “I wish I could do that”? Learning a musical instrument enriches your life in ways you can’t even foresee. It’s like learning a new language but with notes instead of words.
Action Step: Research musical instruments that have always intrigued you. Sign up for beginner classes either online or at a local music school. Commit to practicing at least 20 minutes a day as you start.
38. Networking in everyday places
Dale Carnegie, the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, emphasized the importance of taking an interest in others. The gym or the supermarket aren’t traditional networking places, but they’re full of opportunities for meaningful interaction.
Action Step: The next time you’re at the gym or supermarket, introduce yourself to someone. Ask about their workout routine or their favorite items in the store. You never know, you might just make a friend or learn something new.
39. The art of bargaining at garage sales
Bargaining is a skill that many of us aren’t comfortable with, but it’s common at garage sales. Don’t see it as confrontation but as a social interaction where both parties are looking to get value.
Action Step: Find a local garage sale this weekend. When you find something you like, muster the courage to ask for a discount. Remember, the worst they can say is no!
40. Dance the night away with tango
Jennifer Lopez, an accomplished dancer and actress, once said, “Dance is your pulse, your heartbeat, your breathing. It’s the rhythm of your life.”
Tango could be a way for you to connect with a partner or even with yourself on a whole new level.
Action Step: Search for a local dance school offering tango classes. Sign up for at least one class and give yourself permission to be a beginner. And if you’re not into tango, try any kind of dance—like salsa, Zumba, and more!
41. Craft your culinary skills
Cooking is as much about the journey as it is about the end product. A cooking class not only enhances your skill set but also offers a unique social setting.
Action Step: Find a cooking class that interests you—whether it’s baking, ethnic cuisines, or gourmet cooking. Sign up and immerse yourself in the experience.
42. Spread positivity when you walk
Do you ever make eye contact with strangers, and immediately look down in embarrassment? Your next walk can be more than just exercise; it can be an opportunity to brighten someone’s day.
Action Step: Commit to saying “good morning” with good eye contact and a genuine smile to every person you encounter on your next walk. Observe people’s reactions and how the simple act makes you feel.
43. Reevaluate your film tastes
We all have movies we didn’t enjoy the first time we watched them. But opinions change, and a second viewing might offer a fresh perspective.
Action Step: Pick a movie you didn’t enjoy the first time around. Watch it again and try to find at least one aspect or scene that you can appreciate.
44. Go on a social media detox
Cal Newport, who wrote Digital Minimalism, advocates for a more intentional use of digital tools. Quitting social media for a week can be liberating and can give you a fresh perspective on how you consume information.
Action Step: Deactivate or log out of your social media accounts for a full week. Use this time to engage in activities that you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. After the digital detox week, assess how you feel and what you’ve accomplished.
With these actionable tips, stepping out of your comfort zone becomes less of a leap and more of a planned, exciting excursion into the unknown.
45. Try a new latte
Oprah Winfrey often speaks about the joys of trying new things. What if the next surprise joy in your life is just a new coffee order away?
Action Step: The next time you walk into your favorite coffee place, resist the urge to order the usual. Ask the barista to suggest their favorite drink and go for it. You might discover your new go-to order.
46. Clean your closet, the KonMari Style
Marie Kondo, the tidying expert, says, “Discard anything that doesn’t spark joy.” If you haven’t worn it in a year, chances are it’s not sparking much joy.
Action Step: Dedicate an afternoon to purge your closet of clothes you haven’t worn in a year. Bag them up and donate them to a local charity.
47. Start a vision board
In his bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey emphasizes starting with the end in mind. A vision board can be a physical manifestation of this habit.
Action Step: Collect images, quotes, and objects that represent where you want to be in 5 years. Arrange them on a board and place it somewhere you’ll see daily.
48. Just ask
Do you often keep things to yourself, even if you want to venture out? Don’t hold yourself back—just ask for others’ opinions!
Action Step: The next time you’re out for dinner or shopping, ask someone for a recommendation. Whether it’s the best wine, book, or dish, be open to trying something new based on their suggestion.
49. Take the 5 AM Challenge
In her book The 5 Second Rule, Mel Robbins argues that waking up early can drastically improve your productivity and mood.
Action Step: Set your alarm for 5 AM for just one day. Use the extra time to do something you normally wouldn’t—read, meditate, or even go for a jog.
50. The Off-Menu Adventure
Anthony Bourdain, a man who lived for culinary adventures, often said that some of the best food experiences are unexpected.
Action Step: The next time you’re at a restaurant you like, take a culinary risk. Ask the server if the chef can prepare something not listed on the menu. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, try going to a cultural grocery store you’re not familiar with.
51. Start a book club
If you’re into books, why not open the circle to others? A book club is not just about reading; it’s also about building a community.
Action Step: Invite a few friends who enjoy reading and start a book club. Pick a book for the month, schedule a discussion date, and dive in.
Feeling Nervous? 6 Tips to Help You Leave Your Comfort Zone
Need a boost when tackling these comfort zone challenges? No worries—starting can be the hardest part of your whole journey. Use these expert tips to obliterate your fear and phase into the growth zone:
The “Fear Inventory” Technique
Imagine a horror movie, but instead of ghosts and ghouls, the scary characters are your own fears and insecurities.
Sounds horrifying, right? Now, what if I told you, you have the power to turn this movie into a motivational drama?
The first step towards mastering your fears is acknowledging them. The “Fear Inventory” technique is a great way to do that.
The act of writing down your fears forces you to confront them in a tangible form, rather than letting them fester in your subconscious. In psychology, this process is akin to the technique of “externalization,” where acknowledging a problem is the first step toward solving it.
Personal Example: A friend of mine dreaded public speaking. He rated it a 9 on his Fear Inventory. After practicing smaller tasks like speaking in a group chat or presenting in a team meeting, he found that his fear diminished considerably. He revisited his Inventory and adjusted the rating to a 4.
Action Step: Grab a notebook or open an app and create your “Fear Inventory.” List your fears and rank them on a scale of 1 to 10. Once a week, revisit your list and aim to confront one fear at the bottom end, working your way up as you become more comfortable with discomfort.
Focus on small wins
No one jumps from being a beginner to an expert in a single bound. James Clear’s philosophy of small, incremental changes serves as the cornerstone of sustainable growth. It’s not the quantum leaps but the small, consistent steps that form the stairway to success.
Now, applying this philosophy to break out of your comfort zone seems like a mammoth task, but remember, even a thousand-mile journey starts with a single step.
So why not take that step today? The key is to focus on the process, not the end result. This gradual approach not only helps you build your resilience but also allows you to fine-tune your strategy as you go along.
Action Step: Think about an ambitious task that is out of your comfort zone. Break it down into mini-tasks that you can accomplish each day.
Yes, do one uncomfortable thing today—don’t start tomorrow!
Find Your Discomfort Partner
Being supported in your endeavors is comforting, and a “Discomfort Buddy” could be just the ticket for making those leaps less daunting.
Two heads are often better than one, especially when it comes to facing challenges. Your buddy will offer a perspective you may not have considered, and their own steps out of the comfort zone can serve as inspiration. Think of your buddy like a wingman/wingwoman—except instead of picking up people, you’re picking up courage!
This system also adds a layer of accountability, making it less likely that you’ll stop.
Action Step: Reach out to a friend or family member who you know is equally committed to personal growth. Propose the idea of being each other’s “Discomfort Buddy.”
The Rule of 3
When evaluating something new, applying the “Rule of 3” can provide invaluable insights. A single try might be fraught with errors and anomalies.
Twice? Well, you might still be grappling with unfamiliarity.
But by the third attempt, you have a pattern, enough data to make an informed decision about whether this new endeavor is something you’d like to pursue long-term.
This method moves you past the discomfort of first impressions. It’s kind of like tasting a new dish—the first bite is confusing, the second bite is interesting, and by the third, you usually know if you’d order it again.
Action Step: Whenever you decide to try something new that takes you out of your comfort zone, commit to giving it at least three sincere attempts. This will give you a well-rounded perspective on whether it truly suits you or not.
Reframe Negative Emotions
Imagine standing backstage, moments before giving a speech. Your hands are sweaty, your heart is pounding.
This is where most people say, “I’m so nervous.”
What if, in that exact moment, you told yourself, “I’m excited”?
Studies7https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/xge-a0035325.pdf in psychology suggest that nervousness and excitement are both forms of arousal, but excitement is a positive form. Reframing the emotion can alter your performance and your experience.
Personal Example: There was a time when I used to dread public speaking. The night before, I would be a bundle of nerves. And before getting on stage, the butterflies in the stomach would hit. But when I started telling myself, “You’re not nervous, you’re excited,” something shifted. I began to look forward to these speaking engagements. The butterflies disappeared. I gained mental clarity. It’s amazing how a single word can change your mindset!
Action Step: The next time you feel fearful or hesitant about stepping out of your comfort zone, pause. Mentally reframe that nervousness as excitement or anticipation. Use this positively labeled emotion as the fuel you need to propel you forward.
Consult the “Pain-Gain” Matrix
Robert Frost once said that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference. But how do you decide which road to take?
Enter the Pain-Gain Matrix, a simple yet highly effective decision-making tool. Sometimes our brains amplify the risks and downsides because they’re geared to avoid discomfort. Using this matrix helps you evaluate tasks rationally.
Action Step: Draw a 2×2 matrix on a sheet of paper. Label the vertical axis “Pain” and the horizontal one “Gain.” Start plotting the activities or challenges you’re contemplating. Those that end up in the high-gain, low-pain quadrant are your low-hanging fruits—go for those first!
What are The Benefits of Leaving the Comfort Zone?
There are both advantages and disadvantages to staying in your comfort zone. Take a gander:
- Being confident: Participating in familiar activities usually makes you better at them. When you draw on your experience of a past task, and you become better at it, this creates a healthy self-assurance also known as confidence.
- Minimizes risks: Staying in your comfort zone is helpful if you want to focus on what you’re doing currently and not introduce new stimuli or activities. After all, familiar activities tend to be less risky than unknown ones.
- Rejuvenating: After leaving your comfort zone to try something new, returning to the familiar can help you physically and psychologically recharge before turning to more anxiety-inducing situations that seem uncertain. This is especially true for introverts who like to spend time alone.
- Limited new skills: By staying in your comfort zone, you may push aside the chance to develop new skills and the opportunity to improve your weaknesses.
- Complacency: Not performing new activities can make you complacent. You might miss out on growth opportunities by not experiencing new challenges, and as a result, feel lackluster in life and unmotivated.
- No risk, no reward: This common phrase speaks to the simple notion that if you don’t try something new, you won’t accomplish anything new. Even if it’s a small risk, big rewards might come to those who at least try to make it happen.
Growing from your comfort zone grants you new experiences and novel tools for you to keep and build upon as you move towards your growth zone.
And remember, it all starts with just one step.
For more reading, check out this resource to supercharge your life: 10 Life-Changing Steps to Become the Best Version of Yourself
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