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Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone

Author: Medifast California

April 05, 2017

Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone

Author: Medifast California

April 05, 2017

 

We all have our “comfort zone,” especially when it comes to food and our lifestyle. We have certain foods that we like to eat, meals that we prefer to prepare, activities or sports that we like to participate in. According to Dr. Abigail Brenner in Psychology Today, this comfort zone is a

Psychological/emotional/behavioral construct that defines the routine of our daily life. It describes the patterned world of our existence, keeps us relatively comfortable and calm, and helps us stay emotionally even, free from anxiety and worry to a great degree.

This is a healthy adaptation to help minimize stress and discomfort in our lives, but sometimes it’s better to step outside of and expand your comfort zone. Regularly challenging yourself is an important part of life, and can help you grow as a person. This isn’t easy, and for some people, it can be downright scary, but the potential benefits often outweigh the risks.

 

Benefits to Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone

There are many benefits to challenging yourself to try something new. Here are just a few:

The opportunity to grow.

Regardless of what comes of your experiences, trying something new helps you to grow as a person. The skills and lessons that you learn as a result of those experiences will help you throughout your life. If you don’t like something or it doesn’t work for you, recognize that it’s more about what you’ve learned, rather than whether you’ve been successful or not.

Learning more about yourself.

Every new experience that you have teaches you more about yourself. A dance class can show you that you have a good ear for music, or a trampoline class may make you realize that you have a fear of heights that you weren’t aware of.

Broadening your interests.

You may find that you really enjoy rock climbing or hate hiking. You wouldn’t know that unless you’d stepped out of your comfort zone and tried them. And who knows where that may lead—a job change, a new passion or even a new group of friends. Sometimes small decisions can lead to big changes in your life.

Increased self-confidence.

Imagine how you’ll feel when you first summit a local mountain or discover that you make a mean vegan cake. There’s no doubt that knowing that you tried something new and conquered it will boost your self-confidence. It may even encourage you to make another leap!

Learning to deal with adversity.

Branching out and trying something new ultimately helps you to learn how to deal with stress, discomfort and anxiety in a very positive manner. Let’s face it: Life is full of stressful and challenging situations. Learning how to deal with challenges will better prepare you when they do arise.

Memorable experiences

Let’s not forget the memorable experiences that you’ll walk away with after you’ve met the challenge. Document the experience by taking pictures, writing in a journal or even creating a scrapbook. Whether the outcome is positive or negative, looking back on the experience is one of the best parts of challenging yourself!

 

Tips for Trying Something New

While it may seem intimidating, stepping outside of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be. There are many things you can do to make it a little easier.

  1. Know yourself. The most important thing you can do before stepping out of your comfort zone is to know yourself and understand your comfort zone in the first place. Know what risks you are comfortable taking and where you draw the line. Be deliberate about the risks you take—the point is to challenge yourself, not just do something that makes you uncomfortable.
  1. Start small. Want to start traveling a little bit more? Don’t make your first trip a month long excursion to another continent. Start by exploring a nearby city or state. Use small challenges to work your way up until you feel ready to book that dream trip. All those small changes will quickly add up, too, and can create changes that will last a lifetime.
  1. Ignore other opinions. This may sound funny, but other people have a tendency to criticize our decisions, especially if they are new or a bit out of the box. They may question why we need to do something so different, or make you doubt your decision. Ignore nay-sayers and find people who will support you.
  1. Find your support group. Finding a supportive group of people who will make the leap with you is crucial! Not only does it make the challenge more fun, but it gives you people to be accountable to and people to celebrate with. Also, surrounding yourself with other risk takers increases the likelihood that you’ll want to step out of your comfort zone, too.
  1. Think about what may go wrong. This may sound counterintuitive, but we tend to imagine worst-case scenarios when trying something new, which can increase anxiety and nervousness. Go ahead and think about those challenges, and think about how you’ll solve them. Knowing that you have a plan for even the worst case will reassure you that you are ready to deal with it. And chances are, you’ll never need it.

 

15 Ways to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Looking for specific suggestions? Here are 15 ways that you can step out of your comfort zone, specific to your health and lifestyle. Feel free to try one, or all of them, or even create your own.

  1. Take a gourmet cooking class
  2. Commit to running a 5K
  3. Find an adult soccer or softball league
  4. Commit to meatless Mondays
  5. Take a dance class with your partner
  6. Try a new vegan restaurant
  7. Pick a fruit you wouldn’t ordinarily buy
  8. Buy a new type of vegetable for dinner
  9. Go grocery shopping at an ethnic food market
  10. Check out a local farmers market
  11. Buy a new cookbook
  12. Try cooking everything from scratch
  13. Look for recipes with ingredients you don’t normally use
  14. Explore local trails with a hiking group
  15. Take a day trip to explore the local food culture in a new city

 

No matter how big or small the action may be, stepping outside of your comfort zone will boost your confidence and give you the courage to achieve things you never thought were possible.

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