when i was 5, my family went to puerto vallarta- mom, dad, baby brother and dads parents. a couple fun things happened while we were there. one: my grandma paid me $5 to correctly spell the world ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ and two: i wandered off while my family was spending time around the pool, and apparently (i don’t remember this) was found hanging out in the resort restaurant chowing down on a hamburger. clearly the wandering spirit lives on.
last year, i was stuck in a rut. 9-5 job, great apartment, good friends, workout routine, etc, but i was bored… life was getting pretty monotonous, and i felt a little stagnant.
at the end of 2012, i realized that a lot of that was due to the fact that there were a lot of things i wanted to do that i never actually took action on. its a lot easier to make excuses than it is to do something about it, thats for sure.
so what did i do about it? i signed up for an improv class, started watching TV less and reading books/listening to podcasts more, climbing rocks, riding my bike everywhere, buying a bunch of concert tickets, and stopped letting the ‘i have to wake up early’ excuse keep me from gettin’ down on school nights (not that kind of down, perv).
AND IT WAS AWESOME.
for a lot of us, its not that easy. forcing yourself out of your comfort zone and into new situations can be terrifying! i am not just talking about wild adventures, but even just every day stuff like looking for an apartment, taking a class, trying a new dry cleaners, or making new friends. this is also why there are so many unfinished bucket lists out there- its a lot easier to float through life not trying to ruffle any feathers, including your own. but for those of you that would like to figure out how to get out of your comfort zone and try something new, here are some tips.
1. say yes: get invited to something? don’t think of an excuse. just go. especially if its free. its easy to come up with a reason NOT to attend a cool event, concert or party.. but why would you? if it sucks, go home.
2. explore your interests: do you like cooking? interested in acting? trying to get into a workout routine? want to build a terrarium? make a list of a bunch of things that seem interesting to you. take a look at meet up groups (meetup), event calendars online and bulletin boards at coffee shops- especially if you live in a city, there are a TON of cool events that are often free or super cheap.. and if you go and don’t like it.. LEAVE.
3. talk to people: every time i go into a bookstore, you can guarantee that i am going to ask the person working there for book suggestions. talk to people about your interests- not just your friends,but people in line at the grocery store and the guy typing away on his mac next to you at the coffee shop. you never know who will be able to connect you to what you want to do. example- i want to volunteer, and yesterday i filled out the beginning of the application to become a ‘big sister.’ turns out i have a friend that is already in the program, and can help me out with how to get in. if i didn’t mention my interest to her, i would never have known she was already involved!
4. ask for support: so i know everyone out there thinks i come up with this shit on my own, but i gotta be honest. when i decided to quit my job, there was no way in hell i was going to go through with it unless my dad thought it was a good idea. i needed that support in order to feel at peace with my decision. and that is TOTALLY OK. the people you love and love you should want to support you any way they can- don’t forget that. your friends and/or family can be your biggest cheerleaders if you let them.
5. do something about it: actually sign up for that class you’ve been wanting to take, rent a bike to see if you even like riding around, book that plane ticket, or put on your shoes and go for a run. if it seems a little too much to go alone at first, recruit a friend. start small, build up to big. think about the last time you tried a food that you didn’t think you liked and it ended up being delicious. same idea.
ultimately, if you dont want to push yourself out of your comfort zone, don’t. but be honest with yourself about why that is. a lot of the time fear is the biggest reason for paralysis.. but it can also be the biggest motivator. use it.
want some more ideas of how to break out of your comfort zone? check these links out