An important aspect of self-development is to know when it’s time to change something about yourself. When you change, you often become more knowledgeable, skilled, and comfortable about a task or situation.
However, any kind of change, even if it will make your life more enjoyable, can be difficult because it involves stepping out of your comfort zone.
How can you reduce this discomfort?
Frankly, the more you push yourself to step out of your comfort zone, the more you gain, and the easier it becomes. The more you gain, the more likely it is that you’ll be willing to push yourself again in the future.
Try these suggestions to step out of your comfort zone:
- Do something new once a week. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Instead, open your mind to original ideas and experiences. Engage in a new activity every 7 days or so. Maybe you’ll try reading a biography instead of a mystery. Jogging every so often on your daily walk brings variety. Perhaps there’s a new recipe or food you’ve been curious to try for the first time. Go for it!
- Start small. Do you watch only situation comedies on television? Instead, why not try watching one show on the Public Broadcasting System to expand your mind? It won’t cost you anything and you might even open up a whole new world of intellectual stimulation.
- Acknowledge the discomfort (of leaving your comfort zone). Your feelings are normal. Almost everyone feels a bit unsettled when they do something for the first time. After you identify those fears, it actually becomes easier to try something new.
- Jot down what scares you when it comes to engaging in the experience.
- Recognize that thousands of others have likely done what you want to embark on and they made it through.
- You may feel a bit fearful but plan to dive into the experience anyway.
- Recognize the awesomeness of trying something different. You’ll always have the memory of the experience within you.
- Sprinkle your confidence in others. If your friends tell you they feel like they never do anything interesting, give them encouragement to go for something they want to experiment with. Share a recent personal story of how you were hesitant to engage in a new experience. Tell them they can learn to embrace new things.
- Find a mentor. If you still struggle when trying new things, find a mentor. Choose someone you see as the type of person who just goes for it, regardless of what “it” is. Spend time with your mentor and pick his brain about his process of experimenting with new things.
- When we see and learn about someone else’s bravery and sense of adventure, then we can be brave and adventurous, too.
- Visualize the desired experience. Imagine what it will be like to experience something you’ve longed to do. Picture it in your mind.
- For example, maybe you’ve always wanted to go kayaking but were afraid to try it. Close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting in the kayak, floating down the river. You see the birds, the fauna, and the fish in the water.
- As you let yourself visualize the experience¸ you see that it will be marvelous. Then, go sign up for your first kayaking lesson!
Stepping out of your comfort zone can be an exhilarating experience. Lose yourself by trying new things. Who knows, you may even discover a whole new you! At any rate, you’ll greatly increase the enjoyment in your life.