By definition, our comfort zones are cozy and comfortable.
But they’re also very limiting and staying inside your comfort zone is almost certainly holding you back.
You don’t have to try all these things but here’s a cheeky suggestion: try one idea from the list each day for the next week. That way it’s not too scary but it will stretch your comfort zone…
1. Change Your Daily Routine
Chances are your routine has been the same for years.
You wake up – with or without an alarm clock – at about the same time on weekdays and maybe let yourself have a lie in on the weekend.
You brush your teeth, shave (if that’s one of the things you do), shower, maybe exercise, take the same route to work. You could probably set your watch by the things you do and when you do them.
Juggle your routine around.
Drop a few items – start with the news, that will have the added benefit of reducing the negativity in your life.
Maybe get up earlier or later or go to bed earlier or later. Or both.
Notice the difference even minor changes make.
Maybe you feel awkward or “other handed”.
And welcome the changes – be grateful for them, even if they grate!
2. Try a new recipe
If you enjoy cooking, make it a recipe that you’ve never tried before. Different ingredients, maybe a different celebrity chef that you don’t normally follow. Maybe a different cuisine – one that you’ve not attempted before. Moroccan? Greek? Indian? Far Eastern? Eastern European? Sushi? You get the idea…
So if you’re eating out, pick a restaurant you’ve not visited before or one where most of the menu is uncharted territory for you.
It could be spicy if you normally only go for plain foods. Or it could be simple food if everything you eat out normally comes with an ingredients list a mile long.
Whatever you do, take the time to savour the food. Notice the tastes and textures. Maybe enjoy a glass of wine with your meal if you normally have beer. Or vice versa.
3. Take a Power Nap
Power naps are almost “naughty”.
After all, you should be working or reading a book or watching television or enjoying quality time with someone.
How dare you take time off to rest?
There’s actually good research to say that power naps can make you more productive and that spending even as little as 10 minutes power napping can boost the rest of your day.
So if you’re not in the habit of taking a power nap, treat yourself to one.
And if a power nap is part of your daily routine, shake things up by choosing a different location or time or duration. Or sharing your power nap experience with someone else!
4. Think about Mentoring
Mentoring is normally a long term choice but that doesn’t mean you can’t do a one-off mentoring session with someone.
Find someone who needs some help – in your local circles or put an ad on a site like Craigslist (just be careful which section you choose).
Teaching someone is actually one of the best ways to reinforce your own knowledge. Plus there’s the satisfaction when the person you’re mentoring finally “gets” whatever it is you’re showing them.
Or maybe you could get mentored by someone.
Napoleon Hill suggested that mentors or mastermind groups are one of the best ways to get ahead.
They can be with a group of real people.
Or you can even use a group of “imaginary friends” and ask yourself what they would do in the situation you’re currently experiencing.
5. Announce One of your Goals Publicly
You’ve probably got some goals in your life (and if not, I’d strongly suggest getting some).
Goals are important as they literally give us something to aim for.
When you announce your goals, you run the risk that other people will remind you about them.
That may or may not happen – but your mind will be thinking that it will happen.
And you’ll think that whoever you announced your goal to is keeping tabs on you.
Which means that – whether or not other people are doing that – you’ll hold yourself more accountable and stand a higher chance of reaching the goal.
Incidentally, it’s worth making the goal big and audacious because even if you don’t reach it you’ll almost certainly get further than if you’d set a small, fairly easy to achieve, goal.
6. Do Some Public Speaking or Public Singing
It’s generally thought that for most people public speaking is one of the scariest things that they can do.
The thought of standing up and speaking fills most people with dread.
If that’s you, make public speaking the thing you do today to get out of your comfort zone.
If that’s not you, what about some public singing instead?
A Karaoke session or an open-mic night. Either of those will work.
And singing in public could be just the thing you need to push you out of your comfort zone.
7. Say “yes” to Everything Today!
Saying “yes” to everything you’re asked is definitely something most of us are very un-used to doing.
It could be a step too far.
But, then again, if it pushes you out of your comfort zone (even if you only manage an hour or two, not a whole day) then it will have achieved it’s goal.
And feel free to report back on how using these ideas has helped you expand your comfort zone – use the comments below (especially if that’s not something you’d normally do).