Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary. Otherwise, why would it be called the “comfort” zone? But, what if it wasn’t? What if stepping out of your comfort zone was something that felt natural to you? Starting that conversation with a stranger. Running that extra half-mile. Trying out a new recipe for your meal prep.
I like to think of our comfort zone as a sphere. And in that sphere is everything that we enjoy doing and feel comfortable with. But when we start to stretch outside our comfort zone, we start to make that sphere bigger and bigger. Until the things we used to feel comfortable with start to feel second-nature to us. It can be a difficult leaving our comfort zone but once we do, the benefits you’ll experience makes the entire process worthwhile.
Here's what we'll cover in this article:
- Benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone
- What's stopping you from stepping out RIGHT NOW
- How to start the process
5 BENEFITS OF STEPPING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Before we get into the “meat” of this, you’re probably wondering why you should even think about stepping out of your comfort zone in the first place… it’s comfortable, I get it! But before you make up your mind about it, hear me out…
Here are a few incredible benefits you can look forward to once you start venturing out of that little comfort bubble of yours.
1. YOU GIVE YOURSELF THE OPPORTUNITY TO GROW
I want you to think way back to when you were in Kindergarten and just starting to learn the alphabet. At the time, I’m sure little 5-year-old you thought that learning the alphabet was “too hard” and a waste of time. You’d much rather spend your time and energy on the important stuff… like drawing and coloring.
Now, fast forward a decade or two—you’ve used those letters every day. You’ve gotten jobs, gone to school, and supported yourself all because you put in the time to learn something new, even if it was hard at the time. Think about it… you’ve been able to experience all of that simply because you pushed yourself outside of your comfort zone.
2. IT BOOSTS SELF-CONFIDENCE
Think of the first time you picked up a barbell. It probably felt weird, heavy, and prompted to you think what in the world you were supposed to do with it. But over time, not only did you learn new exercises like deadlifts and squats, but you started to add more weight onto it too—talk about rewarding!
Think about the first time you lifted more than you ever thought you could. Remember that feeling… It’s amazing. You feel powerful, strong, and unstoppable. These are all feelings that help boost your self-confidence. Why? Because when you step out of your comfort zone and reach your goals, YOU ARE PROUD of the hard work it took to get there. Every time you step out of your comfort zone, it’s like a little boost that says “You can do this!”
3. YOU’LL BEGIN TO REALIZE YOUR POTENTIAL
There’s a famous Chinese proverb that says “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” When you start to expand your comfort zone, even a little bit, you start down that journey. There are so many “successful” people in this world who, when they first started their journey to greatness, never could have imagined they’d end up where they were today. It’s BECAUSE they took that first step they eventually found success.
They say “every pro was once a beginner”—this holds so much truth when it comes to realizing your potential. Can you imagine if when Serena Williams picked up a tennis racket for the first time, hit the net, and then gave up because she thought she sucked at tennis? Or what about me? Do you think I’d be where I am today if I gave up and quit when the going got tough?
Stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t easy, but once you do you’ll be able to see what you’re truly made of and realize the incredible potential that lives inside you. But it all starts with taking that first step.
4. YOU’LL GAIN A NEW PERSPECTIVE
Remember the last time you learned something completely new. It was really hard in the beginning, right? You didn’t know if you were doing it the right way or if you were completing screwing it up. We’ve all been there…
I remember the first time I tried training like bodybuilder. It was completely outside of my comfort zone to slow down and focus on muscle activation. At first, I felt like I was doing everything wrong. “Am I doing this right?”, “Is my foot supposed to go here?”, “Am I supposed to be feeling the burn there?”... all of these helped me gain a new perspective about how you can train your body for different goals.
Not all training styles are the same, but that doesn’t mean that one training style is better. Stepping out of my comfort zone allowed me to establish a deeper appreciation for this type of training. Whatever it is you’re attempting, once you take the time to learn it and understand it, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation and perspective for that skill. You understand that it isn’t easy and that it takes repetition, hard work, and practice—especially when you see people doing it at a really high level.
5. IT ALLOWS YOU TO BE MORE CREATIVE
Part of what makes stepping out of your comfort zone so scary is the fear of the unknown. But something to remember is once you take the plunge anything can happen! Remember that five-year old you? The one that’s not afraid to color outside the lines? Well, she’s still there, deep down inside you anxiously waiting to be released into the world again!
When you escape your comfort zone, it allows you to reconnect with the part of yourself who wasn’t afraid to take risks. Once you’re finally able to let go of whatever has been holding you back, there’s no telling what you’ll discover about yourself.
SO WHAT IS PREVENTING YOU FROM STEPPING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE?
When we look at what is preventing us from expanding our comfort zone, it’s important to understand how the comfort zone manifests itself in us in the first place. Oftentimes, you’ll reach a point where a little voice inside you says something like “this isn’t you, you can’t do this” or something of that nature. This little voice, while annoying to say the least, can be a clear indicator of where you can begin to see the boundaries of your comfort zone.
I’m curious, what is it for you?
Is it, “I can’t wake up at 5:30 and make it to the gym for a 6am workout”?
“I can’t do that competition, I’m not strong enough/haven’t been working out long enough”?
Or maybe it’s, “I can’t stick to a diet. I always end up right back where I started, feeling more frustrated than before I tried.”
Believe it or not, these are all great places to start diving deeper into pinpointing the perimeter of your comfort zone! And everyone, myself included, struggles with different aspects of these as we hit that “boundary” of our comfort zone.
There are two main places where these are coming from: fear and limiting beliefs.
When we have fear it starts to pop up in a few different places. It could be fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of change, or even (counterintuitively) fear of success. A great example is when we try and eat healthier meals (this could be a diet or even just deciding to eat more whole foods). Suddenly when you start, your brain resists.
It says “I don’t even know how to make healthy meals!”
Or “All the healthy meals I’ve made are bland and don’t taste good.”
Or it starts to overcomplicate things, “Don’t I need a food scale? I read somewhere that I need to weigh everything to make sure I’m not eating too much.”
It might even start analyzing past behavior, “Will this even work? I haven’t been able to stick to it before. Why should I even try?”
These are all ways that fear is shaping how you make your decisions. Your brain doesn’t want to change. It tries to overwhelm you by pulling you in 100 different directions. Before you know it you’re on the couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in hand.
2. LIMITING BELIEFS
The second thing that prevents you from stepping out of that comfort zone are limiting beliefs.
Limiting beliefs are your thoughts, habits, and patterns of behavior that STOP you from doing something - and they are usually very deeply grained in our subconscious.
So much so, that a lot of times we can’t even see them ourselves. This is an interesting phenomenon because we like to think that, as humans, we are capable of doing anything and everything, so why do we stop ourselves from doing them in the first place? Here are some examples…
“I can’t talk to strangers, that’s too intimidating.”
“I can’t eat healthy every single day, I like going out to restaurants with my friends.”
“I can’t meal prep every week I don’t have time, I’m so busy with [insert your preferred excuse here].”
Whenever you start to hear the words “I can’t” or “I don’t have the time” those are key phrases that you’re running into a limiting belief. So, next time you catch yourself approaching a limiting belief, use these 5 tips to stop them in their tracks!
HOW YOU CAN OVERCOME FEAR AND LIMITING BELIEFS IN 5 SIMPLE STEPS
So, what can you do when you uncover a fear or limiting belief that’s preventing you from getting out of your comfort zone? First, you’ll need to decide if it’s something that you want to change and if it’s a priority to you.
Changing something that you hold very close to your identity is difficult, really difficult—and when you have a lot of other life stuff going on, it might not be the right time to tackle it head on. So, make a mental note to come back to it in the future. If you’re ready and able to face your limiting beliefs, here’s what you can do…
1. FIGURE OUT WHERE YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS ARE COMING FROM
When you see a limiting belief, you’ll need to break that down that belief and figure out the source of that fear. Where is it coming from? Let’s say that your limiting belief is “I can’t eat healthy”. Is it that you don’t have healthy food options in your kitchen? Or you aren’t sure how to make a healthy meal? Or you’re too busy to cook? This will probably be very hard to identity at first, you’ll most likely have multiple limiting beliefs around the same area. But for now, just start with one and move on to the next step. (Btw, you aren’t alone here! I get emails every day about nutrition and eating healthier. This is something that a lot of people struggle with!)
2. AVOID AN “ALL-OR-NOTHING” MINDSET
Once you’ve identified a place where your limiting belief is coming from, pick one small step to push you in the direction you want to go. Now, this is really important, so I’m going to stress it.
What I see in a lot of people is that they take an “all-or-nothing” mindset to try and change their habits.
They say things like “I’m going to do it all starting Monday and I’m going to stick to it. I’m going to clear all the unhealthy foods out of my kitchen, cook every night, buy a food scale, and track all my macros.” They try to do too much, too soon and end up falling off the wagon. If you’re just starting, you want to make it as easy as possible on yourself. Here’s an example:
If the root of your problem is “I’m not sure on how to make a healthy meal?” a first small and realistic step would be to set up some time to look for one or two healthy recipes to make. Then the next small step would be to make time at home to try it out. If you like it, you’ve now added one healthy meal to your repertoire that you can make in the future. Making this a weekly habit, after a month or two you’ll have 4-8 different meals that you’ve tried (and hopefully enjoyed!) and you’re less likely to overwhelm yourself and throw in the towel.
3. FIND THE PLAN THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Health and fitness is not a one-size fits all type of situation. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find something that works for you and your lifestyle. I like to approach this as a “dial”. You have the ability to turn the dial up or down, depending on how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling confident with the meals you’re making, try a few more each week. Once you have a number of healthy meals that you know how to cook, and enjoy cooking, you can start to work them into your regular schedule. Even eating 2-3 healthy meals that you’ve cooked yourself each week is a HUGE accomplishment (which you should be proud of yourself for)! But, if you’re struggling with cooking healthy meals, turn the dial back a little bit and go back to the beginning and see if you can look at it from a different angle.
Maybe you’re too busy to go buy groceries consistently. If you have the budget, there are TONS of healthy meal prep and delivery services out there. Getting a few healthy meals from these services each week can help you clean up your diet with little to no effort at all. Plus, it will give you some ideas on nutritious and tasty meals you can make yourself!
4. FIND A COMMUNITY TO HELP YOU ALONG THE WAY
Have you ever heard the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child”? The phrase means that when a child is growing up, the whole community will interact with them to grow, learn, and have new experiences in a safe and healthy environment. I’ll bet you can name a few people from parents, grandparents, family friends, teachers, and coaches who helped influenced you along your path.
Well, this process never stops! In our lives, we can all benefit from a strong sense of community to help us grow, learn, and encourage us when the going gets tough. Surrounding yourself with people who root for you, support you, and motivate you when you take on new challenges is crucial! That’s why I’m so grateful for the Grown Strong community! We are all here to lend support and guidance for an entire generation of women who are finding their new strengths!
THE BOTTOM LINE ON STEPPING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
So, here’s the bottom line… only you can decide to start pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone. You don't have to let your fears and limiting beliefs control your life—and when you wear our custom apparel from Grown Strong designed to motivate you along your journey, you'll be reminded that you are capable of anything you set your mind to. All you have to do is take a leap of faith and stay strong.