We are often told the importance of getting out of our comfort zone and for many that can daunting. But what if instead of “getting out of your comfort zone” you “expand your comfort zone”. A slight change in wording can help reframe your mindset about what it means to take on new experiences.
The longer we keep our comfort zone the same size, the harder it can be to expand it. If there are things you want to do, places you want to go, or experiences you want to have, but the idea of change is scary, break it down into small steps.
Any step to broaden your comfort zone gets you closer to where you want to be.
Your comfort zone is not bad
Your comfort zone is neither negative or positive, it simply is the zone in which you feel the most comfortable.
We can give a lot of power to our zone that it doesn’t rightly deserve. It can be easy to see our comfort zone as something that is holding us back. We can view it as something we need to use all our mental energy to fight against. When you look at it that way it’s no wonder it’s hard to move the edges of your comfort zone.
Try reframing your mindset. Your comfort zone is just that, a place where your body and mind are comfortable. It’s not a bad or good thing, it just is. It is malleable and you have the power and ability to define the perimeter.
View your zone not as a concrete wall, but instead as a circle of small stones. You can easily move the stones to change the shape. Even moving one stone changes the shape and can incorporate more things that it did before.
Your comfort zone is your companion through life and is a reminder that there are places where you feel safe and comfortable. As you move through life you can move the edges of you zone to let more experiences into your comfort zone.
Give yourself a reason to expand your zone
It is easy to keep your comfort zone where it is when there is no reason to move the boundaries. But, there are likely things you want to do that require the edges of your zone to be moved further out.
Getting excited about something that isn’t currently in your comfort zone can give you the push needed to try something new.
Getting specific in what you want to do gives you a starting point to make a plan.
Your comfort zone is unique to you
Life would be easier if there was a manual that gave you step by step instructions on how to expand your zone. But there is no one size fits all that would work for everyone. We each have our own journey and our own comfort zone.
Others are already living lives that are far outside of your comfort zone. But remember, others feel that same way about your life. It can be hard not to compare our life to someone else’s, but there is a beautiful freedom in focusing on your own journey.
What matters is you working on expanding your zone, not where your zone is in comparison to others.
Expanding your zone can help you handle stress and anxiety
When you move the boundaries of your comfort zone you take a step into the unknown. This can be a scary place that causes anxiety and stress. There will always be some discomfort as we broaden our horizons. The more you push the boundaries of your zone and the more you put yourself in new situations the better you will get at handling the stress of future new situations.
As you try new things and go new places you will start to see what you are capable of. You will look back and think about where your comfort zone used to be and where it is now. New things may always be scary but you will learn that you can handle scary things.
It’s important to remember that how you expand your comfort zone and at what pace is completely up to you.
What may stop you from expanding your comfort zone is that you only see the giant leap between where you are now and where you want to be. You are only looking at the big picture and can’t see a clear path to take.
Before getting overwhelmed thinking of everything you need to do, just focus on one step at a time. Come up with a first step small and make it manageable, it’s totally OK to slowly move the boundaries of your comfort zone.
- Example – Going somewhere new on your own
Start by going on your own to someplace you have already been. It doesn’t have to be far away, it can be
- Example – Wanting to try new foods
Start by adding a small amount of the new food to food you already know your like.
- Example – Taking a class in something you’ve never done before
Start by researching the basics of what you want to do, where classes are near you, and maybe watch some videos on people’s experiences taking the class.