15 January 2013

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and Into Simplifying

While preparing for this post, the more I evaluated my life in the past 7 years, the more I saw myself out of my comfort zone and into simplifying. Of course, through the years I didn't stop to define the areas in and out of my comfort zone. Neither did I deliberately start simplifying my life. But looking back I coudl see a chain of situations closely connected to one another that led to the formation of my simple living philosophy.
So I thought, if I could simplify by not interfering into the natural flow of life, how much more effectively could you simplify by deliberately putting my advice to action?
And so we begin.

You may wonder what simple living has to do with getting out of your comfort zone. After all it takes a lot of complex actions to step beyond the safe circle of comfort. But once you let yourself out of your comfort zone you will come to realize the extent to which your view on life has changed. And you will get closer to what truly matters.

What is the comfort zone?
Your comfort zone is that state of mind in which you act and feel at your best, without a sense of risk.

But the boundaries you have defined as comfortable can (and are) limiting your performance despite the sense of security they create for you.

That sense of security is false. It is there to lure you to stay within your boundaries and live your life in the comfortable prison of inertia.

Why you should try to step out of your comfort zone
If your fear of the unknown is stronger you may spend a whole lifetime perfectly well in your prison of comfort but there will be something missing - the excitement of exploration, the increased heartbeat of excitement, the discovery of unsuspected (positive or negative) feelings and abilities, but most importantly, the growing out of your old shoes, getting better, outjumping yourself, developing!

How to step out of your comfort zone
According to a research led by WhatisMyComfortZone the challenges that fall outside of your comfort zone can be divided into three categories:
  • professional, 
  • adrenaline, 
  • lifestyle.
Knowing this can help you a lot in identifying the fields of life you need to work on.

Here are a few ideas on how to get out of your comfort zone and awaken parts of your consciousness that you have long forgotten existed:

Learn a new skill
With so much information given away for free on the Internet  you simply have to do a mindful search in your conscience and find out the thing that you always wanted to learn but didn't have the courage/time/persistence to actually do.

Nowadays most major universities offer online courses for free. There are  a number of websites like Coursera with specialized free courses. Or there are the ones like CreativeLIVE on which you can watch free live online workshops. And let's not forget YouTube where you can find practically anything. Of course, critical thinking is vital for distinguishing the truly valuable information.
Face your fears
You might have a fear of heights, or a fear of talking in front of a crowd, or anything else that stops you from functioning to the best of your abilities.

Identifying it is the first step you should take and once you do,  make a plan on how to overcome your fear. Break it down to small steps and concentrate on the first one you need to take. Then, after you go through it, think of the second one, and so on, until you reach the end.

It's easier said than done, but once you overcome your fear you will feel liberated and ready to conquer the world.

Change your daily routine
Subconsciously we tend to strive towards a routine in our life which creates a feeling of security. But while being comfortable in our everyday, this unfounded sense of security plays a vital role in our chaining inside our comfort zone.

It is very beneficial if you try, once in a while to diversify your days. Walk, instead of drive to work. Eat breakfast for dinner. Do things that you don't normally do, switch the places of your furniture, all these will help awaken your brain and will let you see life in a different perspective.

But whatever method you choose to help you step out of your comfort zone remember to take it one step at a time, so you don't get overwhelmed.

Now it's your turn. How do you step out of your comfort zone and what are the effects?
Let me know in the comments.


  1. (Those knitting needles have my name on them! ;o)

    While I don't know "how" I step out of my comfort zone, I think I just go like Nike and "Just Do It." It is not always easy to do things and something I have to psych myself up, but I know it will always be better to do something than to NOT do something, just to try. And if it didn't work out then that's okay, too. Not everything does. Sometimes you just have to force yourself!

    1. Yes, taking it one day at a time is a a great way to go but so often we don't have the patience! And also I am all for forcing ourselves but again so many will disagree! It's just too easy to go only after what you like right now.

  2. As we get older, I think we become less inclined to learn new skills. I have tried to keep learning. One year I took a class in pottery, another year screenplay writing, then crochet. I think learning new things keeps us sharp and creative.

    1. Yes, we naturally cozy ourselves in our comfort zones and sometimes get too obsessed with them. Taking different courses is a great way to fight inertia!

  3. I admittedly relied on my comfort zone for many years even when it wasn't exactly comfortable, remaining with a well paying job because it seemed like the responsible thing to do. I was growing increasingly stressed and exhausted as I tried to meet intensifying demands and endured frequent business travel which pulled me away from loved ones and home. My personal lifestyle goals of becoming more mindful and simplifying were at odds with my professional lifestyle.

    Two years ago, I was pushed right out out of my comfort zone when my job position was moved across the country, and we wouldn't consider moving. After 20+ years in the corporate world, I made a bold move to strike out on my own, to finally listen to my heart and pursue my passion, to express the creative ideas that have been simmering inside of me for years. With a dramatically reduced income, simplifying is now crucial!

    A little over a year ago, I experienced a second push that placed me even farther away from my comfort zone when I was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma. I am grateful beyond words to be in remission now. The experience has propelled me to become more courageous about exploring new pathways including mindful and simple ones.

    Many of my interests and aspirations outside of my comfort zone were languishing in what I call my "someday file," and some of those items are finally shifting from "someday" to "today!" After my layoff, I fulfilled a goal in my "someday file" when I attended a mixed media collage workshop in the home of a Northern CA artist, my first foray into this new adventurous zone of exploration. I've also fulfilled a desire to brush up on sewing skills by taking a refresher class and treating myself to some studio time to work on a few projects. The most recent one I completed was repurposing several old Monterey Jazz Festival t-shirts (I never wore anymore, but didn't want to discard because they are souvenirs) into a patchwork scarf. As a collagist, I've always enjoyed repurposing ephemera, but I've now caught the repurposing "bug" on a much broader scale. It's not only rewarding to the soul, but to the budget as well!

    As a cancer survivor "newbie," I've been learning how the healing art process can be a powerful, valuable form of therapy by participating in a monthly class at the local hospital where I receive treatment. I definitely felt out of my comfort zone, walking into class the first time and baring part of my soul to people I was just meeting, but wow, I felt instantly comfortable and supported. It's been an amazing, life changing experience.

    Anyway, I'm sorry I've gone on and on! Obviously, the topic of living outside one's comfort zone resonates deeply with me. It is indeed liberating, exhilarating and empowering! I look forward to following along on your journey.

    1. I feel honored that you decided to share so much with us, THANK YOU! I admire you for getting out of such tough challenges in your life fresh and inspired. I am sure it hasn't been easy for you and often times you have doubted yourself but I also know that you have grown, observing and analyzing the circumstances.

      Fulfilling goals in a "someday life" inspires me to at least start writing my someday future down.

    2. Sonya, I must thank YOU for such a compelling post. It certainly compelled me to share! No, not an easy journey, and yes, between my self-critic and concern about whether I've gone too far from realist to pursuer of dreams, there is sometimes doubt lurking in the corners, but I'm determined to stay the course! Hope you enjoy creating your own "someday file!" Oh, and by the way, I cooked breakfast for dinner Saturday night! It's recently become a monthly indulgence! : )

  4. Well a few months ago, we had decided we had come to such a hum drum lifestyle that we needed to do something different.
    So we did.
    We bought 2 pistols and started going to the range every other weekend. I have to say I really enjoy it. The people you meet there are nice and the stories you hear of their lives are entertaining.

    1. Wow, that is one leap out of a comfort zone. Pistols? You are a brave woman!

  5. Oh Sonya this is so exactly...perfect! I love these little bitty challenges...learning something new doesn't have to be rocket science. And eating breakfast for dinner...who couldn't handle that? I really love this mantra..."pushing boundaries"...am gonna keep that in my pocket this week.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Melissa. I would love it if you let us know how your pocket felt this week :)

  6. When I started going to the gym I really did not want to go, I wasn't comfortable going and I did not want people to see my limitations. I made myself go a few times a week until one day I realized I did not mind getting up to go, and when I got there everyone was very motivating. Stepping out of my comfort zone and going to the gym has been the best thing for me, and everyday I am thankful for being able to get up and do it again.

    I am a big fan of trying something new everyday, that's why I vary my schedule and allow a little time each day to do what I want.

    Great post!
    Everyday Inspired

  7. Stepping out of my comfort zone is the approach that I am taking with my weight loss journey. I am juicing fruits and veggies every morning, and to my surprise, I actually like it!!! Like Additionstyle above, I do not like going to the gym. I feel very uncomfortable there. I purchased some workout equipment to workout and home and I blog and tweet about my weight loss journey, which was a very scary thought to me because I am such a private person. But I figured that this will help me stay on it and I could possibly help at least one other person at the same time.

    I love the idea of trying something new. I like to give myself little challenges here and there. As I go through my journey, I am finding that I am expanding what it is that I am comfortable with which leads to more opportunities of trying something new.

    Love, Fashion, and Wellness!
    Porsha Deun

    1. Oh, I can understand you, Porsha. But you are so brave not only to face what makes you feel uncomfortable but also to keep people around updated. It really helps for accountability and pushes you to continue when you're in doubt.

  8. How did I miss this post yesterday? It was one I needed!!! This is an excellent post. I've been needing to step out of my comfort zone and change up my daily routine. I started out the new year with a plan, and just this week I've strayed away...No motivation. But this post...It's reminding me that I have to make a change! I'm taking little steps, but it's a start. =0)

    1. Thank you, Kim. I believe that motivation should come from within. Taking responsibility for our decisions is tough but I believe that the secret lies in taking the challenges we set to ourselves one step at a time!