Comfort Zone 101: How to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

How do I get out of my comfort zone

Life begins outside your comfort zone. We’re going to explore the comfort zone definition, its meaning, and why getting out of your comfort zone is good (dare I say crucial). Most excitingly, we’ll uncover the benefits of embracing discomfort. So, let’s get into it and discover why stepping out of your sphere of comfort is essential for personal growth and how to start living your dreams beyond its confines.

What is the Comfort Zone?

A comfort zone is that familiar psychological state where we feel at ease and experience a low level of stress and anxiety. It’s where we stick to routines and activities that feel safe and predictable. It’s like a protective bubble shielding us from the uncertainties and challenges of the outside world. However, staying within this familiar territory can limit our potential and hinder personal development. Another word for the comfort zone is the learning comfort zone, where we find comfort in acquiring knowledge and skills that are already familiar to us.

Having a comfort zone is human nature. It affords us the opportunity to rest, relax, and take a break from fear or danger.

why am I scared to move out of my comfort zone

The protective bubble of sphere of comfort can feel so safe that we often choose to stay there and that continued choice can actually atrophy our ability and willingness to accept and allow the discomfort we typically experience when leaving our comfort zone. It has become observable in society that people are, more and more, trying to avoid discomfort at all costs.

taking a risk means getting out of your comfort zone

Why Should You Get Out of Your Comfort Zone?

Nothing good happens in your comfort zone – at least nothing good for the long term. A comfort zone is all about short-term ease. If you want to achieve personal growth and success, you must be willing to leave this familiar territory. All progress takes place outside this safety zone. Stepping out of it is the key to unlocking new opportunities and broadening your horizons.

Embrace Growth and Overcome Anxiety

Stepping out of your zone of comfort can be daunting, as it involves confronting anxiety and fear of the unknown. Anxiety can single-handedly trap a person inside of their comfort zone because anxiety is uncomfortable (but now we know we can accept and endure that, right?). It is precisely through these challenges of leaving this zone of familiarity that we experience personal growth and develop resilience. Pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone helps you build confidence and adaptability. In time, the size of your comfort zone expands and you can feel ease, less stress, and more confidence in a wider variety of circumstances.

Life Begins Outside Your Comfort Zone

Have you ever wondered why you feel stuck or unfulfilled? It might be because you’re staying in your comfort zone, where everything is familiar but limited. Life starts outside of  this familiar territory, where you can explore new passions, interests, and opportunities.

Expand Your Comfort Zone

The comfort zone is not fixed; it can be expanded with conscious effort. By gradually pushing its boundaries, you allow yourself to embrace discomfort and grow. Don’t be afraid to move out of your comfort zone and explore uncharted territories.

Take baby steps to get out your comfort zone

How to Leave Your Comfort Zone

Leaving your comfort zone is a transformative journey that requires dedication and courage. Here are practical steps to help you get started:

Set Clear Goals and Start Living Your Dreams

Define clear and achievable goals that lie beyond your comfort zone. Whether it’s starting a new project, pursuing a dream career, or learning a new skill, having specific objectives will give you direction and motivation.

Notice those examples are at all different levels of ambition. Two common mistakes people make when setting goals are making them too (1) lofty and/or (2) vague. If your goal is to pursue your dream career, congratulations! You can still start with a smaller goal on your way there, often called a milestone, so you dip your toe outside of your safe zone before diving into the deep end without any floaties on.

A tried and true method for setting clear and achievable goals is the S.M.A.R.T. acronym developed by George Doran, Arthur Miller and James Cunningham in 1981.The link here further defines the components of the acronym: Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Embrace Discomfort and Overcome Fear

Understand that fear is a natural response to the unknown. Embrace discomfort as a stepping stone to success and personal growth. Each small step you take outside your comfort zone will diminish fear’s grip and empower you to take bolder leaps (aka build confidence)!

Seek Support and Encouragement

Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, or colleagues who understand the importance of leaving their comfort zones. Their encouragement and belief in your abilities will motivate you during challenging times.

Practice Mindfulness and Build Your Dreams

Mindfulness techniques can help manage anxiety and stress associated with leaving your cocoon of comfort. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on what you choose to focus on in any given moment, while letting distractions come and go, and returning your focus to only what you chose. When experiencing anxiety or stress our minds tend to wander and think about everything that is even remotely related to the source of our anxiety or stress. 

Why leaving your comfort zone can cause stress and anxiety

how to calm anxiety

Mindfulness is how we bring our thoughts and focus back to our actions and circumstances right now. Going back to our example of pursuing your dream career. That endeavor involves a whole host of new experiences outside our zone of familiarity that we are uncertain about. However, focusing on a smaller SMART goal first, such as researching the career (specific), tonight (timely), for 30 minutes (measurable) feels more attainable and realistic, doesn’t it? So, for 30 minutes can you singularly focus on researching without your mind wandering to all the future what-if’s, fears, and worries? If so, you are being mindful for those 30 minutes.

Benefits of Leaving Your Comfort Zone

Leaving your comfort zone opens up a world of benefits that lead to personal growth and achievement:

Discover Your True Potential

Stepping out of your comfort zone allows you to explore your hidden talents and capabilities. You might uncover skills and passions you never knew existed. 

It’s true that you may also discover activities that you don’t particularly enjoy. Knowing what you don’t want or enjoy still brings you closer to your true potential by crossing off another item on the infinite list of paths and opportunities available to us. Additionally, while exploring skills, passions, or activities – even if you decide you do not like something, you have practiced enduring fear and embracing discomfort. It’s a win-win.

Embrace Change and Adaptability

For many, change is scary. Leaving familiar territory prepares you to handle change better and adapt to new situations with ease. The more you do it, the less scary it becomes. The ability to adapt is essential in both personal and professional aspects of life.

Increased Confidence and Resilience

Each time you conquer a challenge outside your comfort zone, your confidence and resilience grow. This newfound strength empowers you to tackle even bigger obstacles in the future. 

We can unfortunately tackle a challenge though and never take notice of it. One part of building confidence is being your own biggest cheerleader. 

Leaving your comfort zone will be your confidence

Take a moment to notice when you’ve pushed yourself, and pat yourself on the back. You don’t have to do it publicly; you don’t need anyone else’s validation that you pushed yourself and did it. But there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a quick “nice job, you did it.” You’d say that to a loved one, right? 

Expanded Opportunities and Success

By venturing beyond your comfort zone, you open yourself up to new opportunities and experiences that could lead to remarkable success and fulfillment. A world of opportunities exists, many that you cannot even envision inside your zone of familiarity. 

In conclusion, stepping out of your comfort zone is an essential journey towards personal growth and achievement. Expand your sphere of comfort, overcome fear and anxiety, and start living your dreams. Embrace discomfort as the catalyst for positive change and learn from every experience. Remember, progress doesn’t happen inside your safety zone, so take the leap and build your dreams outside of its confines. Life truly begins once you step out of your comfort zone.

If you recognize the importance of getting out of your comfort zone, but still continue to struggle with acting on it, know that you are not alone. It’s not easy, and that’s why professions like mine exist. I encourage, guide, support, and offer accountability to those that are ready to push through any discomfort they experience on their journey of achieving their dreams. Using a variety of services, I support people no matter where they are on their journey. I would be excited to talk with you more about your dreams, obstacles, and your unique journey.

Written by Krystle Hearley

Confidence & Dating Coach, Licensed Therapist, Woman, Human Being, Dreamer, Wife, Dog Mom, Optimist, Lover of Many Things, and So Much More than Any Label I’m Given

Krystle Hearley, Confidence & Dating Coach, Life Coach