The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
What happens when you step out of your comfort zone? Life can be scary and risky. It will bring change and you might fail, but what happens when you don’t step out of your comfort zone? You will never know what you’re truly capable of and you won’t be able to witness all of the possible success that can be achieved when you put yourself out there.
I understand the pleasure of staying within your comfort zone. Every day can seem like a lot and retreating back into our comfort zones puts us at ease. No risk or stress factors, just the feeling of being safe and secure. Especially, for those of us who thrive off of overthinking and stressing about things we can’t control, having to try something new feels awfully daunting.
So why would I endorse doing something that absolutely terrifies me? Think of it this way- imagine a friend saying, “I’m perfectly content with where I am. I’m not going to try anything new since I know everything I need to.” You would probably assume they were crazy, and that they would be missing out on amazing opportunities by staying in one place. Ironically, most of us end up in the exact same situation, we unconsciously think the exact same way. We are so used to our routines as we don’t want to feel discomfort.
“Great Things Never Came From Comfort Zones”Ben Francia
How I see it, staying in your comfort zone restricts you from learning new things or gaining new experiences. You are in a state of stagnation and it can get quite boring in the bubble we make for ourselves. The best way to motivate yourself to put yourself out there is to reframe what it means to be uncomfortable. Uncomfortable doesn’t necessarily mean bad, it just simply means you’re doing something you wouldn’t normally do, to push yourself into unfamiliar places. More than anything, the discomfort we feel, the anxiety, from putting ourselves out there all contribute to personal growth and development.
We constantly hear that growth comes from pain and similarly with huge discomfort comes learning. So if you really want to accept my challenge of getting out of your comfort zone here are a few ways of doing so.
1. Make small changes to your routine
Incorporating new things, no matter how small, is a great way to integrate some productive discomfort into your routine. Especially in college, you have multiple opportunities. For example, try a new coffee order, wake up a little earlier than usual and take a morning walk, try out a new recipe, or even read a book of a different genre. The possibilities are endless.
2. Try a new activity
You don’t have to start with jumping out of a plane or diving into the ocean (if that’s more your speed then go for it), just try something you never would have considered. Try a new workout, a new sport, journaling, photography, join a new club on campus, take a new class, or study a foreign language. Being in college offers you a plethora of things to try, some you wouldn’t have even heard of before.
This is the best possible way to make you feel uncomfortable and incorporate some productive discomfort into your life. This used to be my and every other introverts’ nightmare. But just taking the effort to interact with someone new can be a great way to get out of your comfort zone. You don’t even have to draw out conversations, next time you see a new student or meet a new group of people try interacting with them. You never know what you may learn or who you may meet!
This list barely scratches the surface on what you could possibly do but the main goal is to do something that personally scares or challenges you. Try to do one as often as you can. Just remember that being uncomfortable does not mean you will not be safe, everyone has different levels of comfort.
When it comes down to it, staying in your comfort zone is short-sighted. It feels great to be fully content and comfortable with your life but we should always make room for and embrace that anxiety that comes with trying something out of the ordinary. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable might just be what we need to have so we can experience things that we may have never encountered before, which help us to live a more enriching life.