9 ways to get out of your comfort zone

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Neale Donald Walsch

Feels like you are stuck in a rut? It might be time to break out of your comfort zone.

A comfort zone is like a cozy blanket on a cold day. It keeps you warm and shielded from the outside world.

“The comfort zone is a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.”

You have two opposing systems – arousal vs relaxation. If you are not sufficiently motivated, you get bored easily. If there is too much pressure, you then end up being anxious. The Goldilocks zone is where there is equal amounts of motivation and performance.

I am a big fan of being different and that can sometimes mean doing the unusual thing. Sometimes in big ways. Often, in small and daily ways to mix things up. So, when the big thing needs to be done, I will be able to get out of my comfort zone quicker than is normally possible.

So, here are nine ways to get out of your comfort zone.

#1. Re-wire your brain

If you are right-handed, try doing simple things with the opposite hand. Start with using your left hand to brush your teeth. Try writing with your left hand. If you are adventurous, then use your left hand to stir the pot when you are cooking (a word of warning – not advisable to try cutting with the opposite hand).

#2. Take a different route

Our brains are so wired to take the same route – whether driving to work or dropping off children at school or even going for a walk. Try a different route, if possible. It will feel awkward at first and you might even blame traffic, but it is a simple task to get out of your comfort zone.

#3. Take a day to be offline

I usually try not to be glued to my phone on Saturdays or Sundays. It’s a wonderful change of pace and I feel like I’m on a healthy, mini vacation – ready to take on the world on Monday.

#4. Work in complete silence and stillness

Shut the door to your office, shut off your music, unplug the internet and try to do one thing in total silence. On the other hand, if you are always working in silence, listen to some relaxing/energising music while you are working.

#5. Pay a stranger a compliment

Plucking up the courage to speak to a stranger and giving a compliment might make your heart beat a little faster. But it is totally rewarding. Maybe it is your bus driver, the woman behind you at the checkout, someone at your coffee shop. Choose something you admire about them and say it out loud to them – not only will it make their day, but raise your spirits too.

#6. Change your diet

If you have meat and veggies every night for dinner, try mixing it up. Try cooking something new from your favourite recipe book or visit a farmer’s market to experiment with seasonal fruits and vegetables.

#7. Smile towards everyone

This is a really easy one. Instead of going along with your day in the normal way, try smiling at people. Smile more towards your co-workers, the lady at the till at your favourite lunch place, strangers on the road when you go for a walk, the people closest to you and even yourself when you see yourself in the mirror.

#8. Sit in a new place

If you have a favourite place on the sofa, try sitting in a different spot. Or you can even try sitting on a different chair or a new place. I have found that it gives me a new perspective at work or at home.

#9. Throw out things you haven’t used in one year

Choose one part of your home – a closet, a drawer in your desk or bedroom cabinet – and see what’s in there.

Go through the items one by one and ask yourself, ‘Have I used this item in the past year?’ If not, give the item(s) away to charity or a friend or simply throw it out.