If you’re asking this question, chances are you already know the answer.
The desire for a better life is more or less vibrant in all of us. Life is about growing and discovering new opportunities to express your greatest potential. We tend to want to have better relationships, a financial level that satisfies us, and better health as well as better living conditions. Many times the idea of a better life is not clearly defined in our minds and the path to get there can be even foggier. Plus, this idea is subjective to all of and what is better for you might not be better for your friend or your neighbor, or even your family member.
But sometimes, too often than not, these dreams of an improved life remain on paper or in our minds but they never manifest into reality. So what stays in between our current situation and the life of our dreams?
A major holdback for all of us is our comfort zone. We tend to chase comfort but once we reach it, we also reach a stagnant phase that locks us in a physical or spiritual cage. And we find it hard to break out of it. So, we put together a detailed guide to give you a different perspective on your comfort zone and potential ways to break out of it!
What Is The Comfort Zone?
Before we understand why and how your comfort zone can hold you back, we need to try to define it and be able to recognize it. Your comfort zone is a type of life that you created around yourself or you found yourself in due to certain circumstances and it provides you a limited level of comfort. Usually, a comfort zone is not just a house you are invested in and you don’t want to leave it but also your friends, the city you live in, and even your job or your relationship.
Only you know what type of comfort zone you find yourself in and it is important to be able to identify it before you move any further. Is it your work situation caging your professional potential by offering you a bare minimum of comfort? Or maybe you want to relocate but you don’t want to leave your house? You might even feel comfortable but not happy in the relationship you have with your significant other. By taking a closer look at the major aspects of your life, you will find it easier to know what part is holding you back, if any, and take the right measures to release your abilities to move forward to a better life.
How Can Your Comfort Zone Hold You Back?
Just like your comfort zone is specific to your current life situation and it might not resemble the comfort zones of others, the ways it can hold you back from achieving your dreams are also specific to you. Here are a few aspects that should indicate that your comfort zone is holding you back.
It Stops You From Evolving In Your Professional Career
Many times we get stuck in a position that doesn’t allow us to fulfill our greatest potential. And more often than not, this happens in the professional aspect of our life. If you have a position you are comfortable with and a decent salary, you might still want more but you could also lack the motivation of going for more. The fear of losing what you already have is greater than the desire to achieve more and take your career to a next level even if you know that you have the potential to do that. Getting in such a position can hold you back from discovering new opportunities for your professional life and achieving even more money if you would dare to give them a try. And it is essential to identify this kind of comfort and find the strength to overcome it.
You Don’t Feel Comfortable Meeting New People
If you are used to keeping most of your life and experiences to yourself, you will find it difficult to meet new people and you will miss out on the opportunities to create new friends. Our social networks are important for each one of us. We take our strengths and joy from the important people in our life. And little do we realize at times, that even more people have the potential to enrich our lives and lead us to new experiences if we open the door and allow them to do that. We are all a bit introverted or extroverted and no two people are the same but if you find yourself rejecting the idea of meeting new people or going to places where there is a crowd, your comfort zone might limit your social opportunities.
You Are Afraid Of The Unknown
Fear of the unknown is something most of us experience at least now and then in our lives. But when this fear becomes chronic, we get stuck in a comfort zone that limits not only the braveness to explore the world outside of what we already know but also the chances we might come across that could help us grow as individuals. To a certain extent, being wary of the potential dangers in the world keeps us safe, but if you find yourself fearing to explore other countries during your next vacation, or even simply trying new food, your comfort zone might be holding you back at an emotional level.
You Are Overly Attached To Material Things
Attachment to material things is a serious aspect that we can all get trapped in and it is important to notice when we give material things too much value. If you find yourself wanting to relocate but you don’t want to sell your house, or maybe you want to change your car with a better one but you are too attached to it, this should be a red flag. This type of attachment also makes us keep more things in our home than we need or use and it can reduce our life quality as well.
Tips To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
If any of the situations above apply to you, it might be time to evaluate your lifestyle and see what holds you back so you can improve it. Luckily, acknowledging that you are stuck in a comfort zone, be it mentally, emotionally, or physically, is a first step towards the change you need. It is also the most important step as once you realize that, you will most likely make the necessary changes at your own pace and in your rhythm. Here are a few things you can do to stop your comfort zone from holding you back.
Define Where You Want To Get
To realize what and why is holding you back, you will have to establish where you want to be. Try to imagine your life five years or even ten years from now and see where you would like to be. Maybe you aspire to a better career position. Or you want to have a happy relationship. All these are valid goals to set up for yourself and they will not happen in one day so you will need to prepare yourself to get there in your future. If you have a clear direction for your life, in any aspect of it, you will find it easier to establish a plan to get there. Such plans are subjective so focus on yourself and try not to get influenced by others. Choose your happiness and you will get there!
Take The Baby Steps
Every plan you make should be implemented in small steps. You will not be able to make a big jump from your current life situation into the life you dream of for yourself. So, once you identify your comfort zone, make a list of the things that you want to change and you think are holding you back. Make a goal out of changing your habits one by one, not all at the same time. Trying to change your life fast and in a radical manner will add to your anxiety and frustration and you will find it even harder to get out of your comfort zone.
You can start with changes that regard your sleeping schedule. For instance, try to wake up at the same hour each morning until you eventually do that naturally. You can also try to change your eating habits one meal at a time by adding a new ingredient or trying a new dish. And if you are an indoors type of person, making a walks routine could help you start appreciating the outdoors more until you eventually want to travel more.
One of the hardest habits to break is attachment to material things. But you can start by eliminating the clutter in your home. Throw away a few things you don’t need each week or each month. You can give them to charity or your friends and family as well if you don’t want to have them go to waste. Selling stuff you don’t need is also a great small step to take as it will bring you financial motivation as well.
The small steps you will take to break out of your comfort zone are totally up to you. But as long as you make these small changes, they will add up over time and you will notice your life getting better over time as well.
Put Yourself Out There
Another great way to break out of your comfort zone is to start to put yourself out there. This doesn’t mean that you will have to go out to events that you don’t want to attend or change your circle of friends in a radical manner. But you should consider spending more time outside of your home and in the company of people that you can relate to. It is important to join groups of people that share your interests and allow you to express yourself. These kinds of people will give you a sense of home and a sense of meaning to your life that will turn out to be very valuable over time. You can learn from each other and discover new opportunities together that will bring you closer to the life you ultimately want to enjoy.
Can Your Comfort Zone Be Beneficial For You?
To get a bigger picture of the comfort zone concept, we also have to look at scenarios in which your comfort zone might bring you benefits. And there are such situations but, again, they are subjective to each one of us.
For instance, if your comfort zone is aligned with your idea of an ideal life, then you might lack reasons to break out of it. In this case, your comfort zone is simply a place and time in your life when you have a feeling of accomplishment and you feel happy with what you are and what you achieved. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you lack the ambition to obtain more, but rather that you can obtain more by sticking to the path you are already on, and there is no need for any radical changes.
However, the situations in which our comfort zones become truly comfortable and healthy for ourselves and our lives are rare. And they usually come after a long journey of self-awareness and winning battles.
Now that you have a broader understanding of what might be your comfort zone, you will find it easier to change it for your best interest. Evaluate your life and current situation with an objective eye and identify the changes that need to be made so your comfort zone will not stay in the way of you achieving a better life for yourself and your loved ones. You will learn a lot in the process and, if you are dedicated and diligent, you will reach more of those goals you want to reach!