We all live within our comfort zones to some degree by doing things that are familiar to us as well as relatively easy. While this is all part of establishing a routine, you may also be longing to try something new, but lack the confidence or reassurance to go for it.
Leaving your comfort zone can be…well, uncomfortable. But it can also expand your horizons, create new opportunities, and leave you with memorable experiences. Here are six ways to gear up your mindset to step outside the box…
1. Establish your Comfort Zone
As Lifehack.org suggests, it may be difficult to step outside the zone of comfort if you haven’t defined what your objectives are or what makes you uncomfortable. The site invites you think about actions outside of your comfort zone (or daily routine), and then challenge them.
This doesn’t just mean doing things for the sake of making yourself feel uncomfortable. “What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?” asks the site, which also suggests using circle diagrams to identify what’s in your comfort zone and what lies beyond it.
2. Start Small
Lifehacker.com notes leaving your comfort zone doesn’t mean you have to prepare to parachute out of an airplane tomorrow. You can start by simply changing how you approach your daily routine.
This could involve taking a different route to work, or even going vegetarian for a week, notes the source. “Look for the perspective that comes from any change, even if it’s negative,” explains the website.
3. Ignore Outsider Opinions
As WikiHow explains, a big part of the reason we don’t make any changes in our routine or try anything new is for fear of judgment. The site says to consider the fact that the people we admire most in the world tend to be those who march to the beat of their own drum.
So instead of remaining silent and blending in (which is comfortable), don’t be afraid to say things or do things based on your own perception of how others may react to it. You’re not supposed to be perfect, and nor is anyone else.
4. Surround Yourself with Risk Takers
If you try to run a race by yourself, you may get a decent time, but chances are you’ll do a lot better when you have someone to run with. The same can be said for everyday living. If you have friends as role models for how you’d like to be, you may have an easier time stepping out of your own shadow.
Say for example you want to become a street photographer, which involves approaching strangers for portraits or capturing candid scenes. By spending time with established street photographers, you can see their process and the results of their work can help motivate you.
5. Identify ‘Worst Case Scenarios’
We often come up with end results for our actions without actually knowing from experience what to expect. In other words, we let our worst case scenarios play out without even giving the action or idea a try.
As PickTheBrain.com points out, one of the steps to successfully leave your comfort zone is to manage risk. It’s probably helpful if you identify any perceived risks ahead of time and then think of ways you can minimize them. This way, in the unlikely event that your worst-case scenarios come true, you’ll be equipped to deal with them, notes the source.
6. Picture the End Result
As a motivational post on the professional network LinkedIn explains, progressing in life naturally requires you to step outside the box in some way. It says to picture your life a couple of years down the road and ask how would you feel if it was exactly the same as now?
Picture the end result of pushing your own comfort boundaries. In the example of photography, think about the great photos to show off and be proud of. If you’re traveling, think about the amazing experiences you’ll have by stepping outside the resort or into rarely visited areas. Get excited about meeting the more adventurous person you could be, it doesn’t mean you have to throw caution to the wind.