Getting out of your comfort zone?

Often, when talking about getting out of our comfort zone, the first thing that comes to mind is skydiving or going on great adventures. This, of course, means taking a risk and doing something you’ve never done before. But this extreme image that we have, that we can only go out of our own little bubble by doing these crazy adventurous things, often stop us from doing the little things we normally wouldn’t consider. These little things are the ones that can sometimes make the largest impact in our own lives, and maybe even the lives of others. So let’s start small by reading this article, which will tell you some benefits of taking chances, to make you feel empowered and in control of your own life, and what difference this can make for you.

So what does your ‘comfort zone’ actually mean? It can be defined as one of two things: a situation where one feels safe or a settled method of working that requires little effort and yields only barely acceptable results. You’ve probably seen a lot of inspirational quotes which are meant to motivate you to do something you wouldn’t normally do: to get out of your safe space. But the motivation to do so often doesn’t last long, because getting out of your routine is difficult, it’s confronting and sometimes even scary.

There is actually a lot of scientific research that proves why getting out of your comfort zone is so good for you. You’ll be more productive, have an easier time dealing with new and unexpected things, you’ll find it easier to push boundaries, brainstorm and harness your creativity. These changes will help you self-improve constantly by learning new things, meeting new people and, for example, trying new types of food. You can also take on some new habits, replacing the bad ones, which are most often the most difficult to change (our article about the 5-second rule will tell you why and how you can get rid of it). Our comfort zones are so little compared to the places outside of it, which are the ones full of adventure and self-improvement. Being the best version of yourself isn’t in your safe space, it’s everywhere outside of it.

There is actually a lot of scientific research that proves why getting out of your comfort zone is so good for you

There are a lot of benefits from stepping outside of your comfort zone. One of the most important ones is ‘the opportunity to grow’. You can’t expect to evolve and reach new heights if you only stick to your normal habits and routine lifestyle. Learning new skills and lessons will help you in life in general, but also in your work and other activities. When you start taking risks, it will help you grow as an individual and will teach you about your interests, passions, talents, strengths and weaknesses. When you try something new, you may also find a new hobby or talent that you didn’t know you had. New and challenging situations require you to find your own creativity in order to reach a solution. You will get to know yourself much better, which increases your self-confidence. Most of the time life is unpredictable. You never know what situations you will have to deal with. It’s important to have the skills and confidence to face them head-on.

You can probably tell now that there are a lot of benefits from getting out of your comfort zone, but what are ways to do it? In your normal life, it’s the little things you can do differently. For example in your work, ask for a project you are not 100% sure you are able to do, start a conversation with a colleague with whom you normally don’t interact, or even take a different route to work. You could also take a sports class you would normally never participate in. Another possibility is to join an art or music class. These little things can make a big difference in getting out of your comfort zone. Sometimes you need to get uncomfortable to make yourself feel comfortable again. It will help you a lot in your career and other aspects of your life later on.

Trying new things is difficult. If it wasn’t, breaking out of your comfort zone would be easy and we’d do it all the time

Trying new things is difficult. If it wasn’t, breaking out of your comfort zone would be easy and we’d do it all the time. It’s important to understand how habits form and how we can break them, so that you can push yourself out of your comfort zone by doing new, adventurous, spontaneous and sometimes scary things. Only when you are willing to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, you can change and grow. Good things don’t happen to us because we want them to; they happen to us when we take action and are willing to step out of our comfort zones. So challenge yourself, make yourself proud, even if it’s for only one moment.

Marieke Rijpkema & Sterre van Woerden