Get out of your comfort zone!
Written by Laetitia Chaumeron
Wake up, get up, have breakfast, go to work or university, talk to people, go home, have dinner and go to sleep. Sound familiar? This is what is commonly known as a routine and in my world, as the epitome of the comfort zone. Recently, the idea of being too comfortable in my own ways and my life has slowly taken over my thoughts and has made me go a little bit crazy. Staying in my comfort zone is something that I fear more than anything, but unfortunately, I tend to not get out of it as often as I know I could. This piece today is going to be a reflection on why we tend to do the same things over and over again in our known environment and how we can all get more proactive to live our lives to the fullest.
The idea of the comfort zone appeared not too long ago and has been discussed by many researchers, coaches and other people known in the personal development world. The phrase: “Humans are creatures of habit” has started to make people all over the world question whether or not their own habits were satisfying their need for fulfillment. The first time that I had to question my own habits and choices was probably around the age of 15, when I started taking on habits that weren’t particularly healthy or contributed to my genuine happiness. After that, I got quite sick for a few years and created many destructive habits, which in the later days were really difficult to change. One day, I went to a seminar for women who wanted to re-invent themselves and find out if they were really living life to its fullest extent, and the main coach, Gigi, asked us one simple question: “If you died tomorrow, would you have any regrets?” And the women present in the room unanimously answered “Yes”. We then proceeded to write down all the things that we still wanted to do in our lives and all the things we wanted to be remembered for. Gigi then asked: “When is the last time you got out of your comfort zone?” By that time, I hadn’t really left my comfort zone in many, many months. That wasn’t good, because it meant that I was only dreaming of achieving my goals, not actively working towards them and not pushing myself enough to explore my capabilities more. This feeling of disappointment in myself was terrible, and I told myself that, never again, would I, Laetitia Chaumeron, NOT remember the last time I left my comfort zone.
Now, you surely think that I marched out of that seminar and basically conquered the world. Sorry to disappoint you my friend, that’s not exactly how it went. Do you want to know why? I’ll tell you this:
I lacked motivation and a solid plan to follow through on my dreams.
In the years following this seminar, I educated myself more and more about all the reasons why I was acting like I was, how I was acting wrong and not in my best interest and how I could change my ways to live a happier and healthier life. Finding motivation is extremely hard and therefore, many people abandon their projects quickly because they do not “feel the motivation”. This is a hard realization I had to get to: being motivated has so much more to do with self-discipline than we think. For instance: I’ve started working out regularly two and a half weeks ago, because I was feeling that my body needed a change for good. Now, some of the questions the little voice in my head asks me a lot are: “Do you really need this? Don’t you think that you can just work out more tomorrow and stay in bed today? Shouldn’t you just accept the fact that you’ll always be fat and ugly?” Along with this little voice, sometimes I’m just dragging my body to my gym and not feeling any kind of passion for the first half hour of cardio I do in the beginning of my workouts. But as the time passes by, my body and mind suddenly connect, my energy levels rise and I’m all in! The motivation comes after you’ve started doing what you need to do.
I’ve also talked about the fact that I didn’t have a plan to be able to follow through on my dreams. It is not exactly true. Part of a plan is to have a goal. And oh dear, do I have goals! Hundreds of them! The hard part is to get to the point where I can say: “I’ve achieved my goal!” As a student, I know that I’ll have achieved a goal when I pass an exam or when I graduate, but if I want to create my own business for instance, how do I know that I’ve achieved a goal? This is really important to know, because many people make unrealistic plans sticking to huge, almost unattainable goals and get discouraged quickly as the path to the goal is just too long. I’m going to let you in on how I deal with certain plans and goals of mine, in order to get you inspired!
Goal Number 1: I want to get fitter, healthier and have abs.
Unrealistic plan: Workout every day, pay lots of money I don’t have for a personal trainer and not eat anything I actually enjoy.
Better plan: Workout at least 5 times a week, keep a record of my achievements on paper, have a balanced diet I designed myself and educate myself on sports and nutrition whilst I get to know my body better.
Goal Number 2: Be published on the university’s website by giving students some life and study advice.
Unrealistic plan: Write 5 inspired articles a week and never fail to deliver the best content in the world.
Better plan: Write as many articles in a week as I can, whilst making sure that the content’s quality is great and inspiring/educational enough. Develop a creative writing schedule every week as I go on with the project.
See what I’m doing? Instead of making my plans too big for me to handle, I deconstruct them in smaller plans, which make sure that I can have a clear overview of what I need to do, whilst not putting an immense pressure on myself and ultimately getting disappointed. Making a plan is about finding the indicators that will show you realistically that you are progressing in your journey.
“Well, Laetitia, you’re telling me that I should get out of my comfort zone but you’re not telling me how I can do that! Can you please just tell me how to do it?” Yes, my friend, I can!
Getting out of one’s comfort zone is so much easier than most people think! We live in days where next to nothing is impossible and the choices we can make are endless. When I tell you that it is simple, I mean that leaving your comfort zone is all about baby steps in the beginning. Here are some examples:
– Instead of going to the same place for lunch every day, cook your lunch at home or try new restaurants.
– Instead of staying at home watching Netflix all weekend, go for a walk in an area you haven’t been to yet or find activities that you’ve never done before and take part in them.
– Instead of complaining about your day, your family, the weather, your life, try to find at least one positive aspect to the things you’re complaining about, as such: “Oh no, it’s raining today, again, I hate rain, I’m going to be wet and my bag too and rain is just the worst” Just change it to: “Oh wow, I needed to catch up on some reading for uni anyway, now I won’t be tempted to go out with my friends and actually get things done!”
I know that this approach to life is sounding nerdy and you might not believe me when I say that this mentality is a game-changer, but please, if there is anything that you should take away from this article, then it is these two questions:
1) If you died today, would you have any regrets?
2) And: when is the last time you got out of your comfort zone?
If your answers are: “Yes” and “Not today”, then please, write down your goals in life, act on them and get out of your comfort zone TODAY!