Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Wednesday, 18. May 2016

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Have you ever asked yourself why you aren't getting anywhere in your training? Have you been training for months without feeling improvement? Maybe you aren't getting out of your comfort zone enough!

The comfort zone is a psychological concept. The term defines an unconscious pattern of sticking to things that are comfortable and safe, where stress and risk are minimized. 

You might ask: "Why should I leave my comfort zone? I feel so good here". The answer is simple: if you stay in your comfort zone, you'll make no progress. The foundation for growth is in fact the so-called eustress. This is positive stress, a stress that challenges you without making you feel overwhelmed. Eustress makes the difference between continuous output and optimum performance. Staying in the comfort zone holds you back as it keeps you at a standstill. Develop your potential by challenging yourself to something new!

If you're a couch potato but begin a regular exercise routine, you probably will make progress, but you might not be pushing yourself. This means that you'll eventually come to a plateau where you are not feeling any progress. If you keep up this routine, you'll start to lose motivation, and you might work out less often, or for shorter amounts of time.

Instead, challenge yourself regularly to push your limits (just don't go too far!), and you will constantly grow with your new challenges. Of course, eventually, you will hit a new plateau. If you keep challenging yourself, you'll be able to overcome this. 

Comfort as a Life Goal

Comfort is a life goal that all people aspire to. This can be a problem.
Money can buy lots of comfortable things, but the experiences we often value the most are the ones that challenge us. Comfort and coziness are great, but often kill your motivation.

Myths & Legends

Need a success story? Just think of traditional myths and legends. The heroes of these stories are almost always pushed into an adventure. They must leave their comfort zones for the sake of their adventures. Only through the challenges that they face to they become the heroes of the stories we've passed down for generations. Who would know about Hercules today if he had simply stayed at home?

Facing our fears

Why do we hate to leave our comfort zone?s The answer is fear. The fear of the unknown pulls us back and keeps us down. The origin of this fear lies deep in our brain. The limbic system is responsible for this, as it is linked to survival instincts. In our comfort zones it is already satisfied. Leaving the comfort zone is always connected with change. This is synonymous with danger for our brain. Although this section of our brains are not quite up to date with real threats, it still exerts great influence on us.

The consistency of life

Change is really the only thing we can count on in life. Life means change; to live means to adapt to these changes or perish. This applies to all areas: the family, work, physical performance ...Once we cease to adapt to new stimuli, things start go downhill.

How do you break your habits?

You don't actually have to do much- in the beginning the conscious decision to make a change is enough. This brings advantages:

  • You'll enjoy new experiences and discover new things
  • You'll expand your horizons. The more you experience, the more you grow as a human being. New experiences provide an emotional maturity and wisdom.
  • You'll defeat your self-doubt. Doubt gnaws at us so long that we tend to give up, but if we fight it, we'll learn that making a change is not so hard. 

Most preferably, leave the comfort zone with small steps. Then the limbic system will not rebel so much. You could try a new restaurant and order something you haven't ever eaten before. Or, run just fifty meters more at your next training session. Your imagination knows no boundaries. Using these small measures you slowly but steadily increase your ability to get out of the box.

Getting out of your comfort zone may sound intimidating but it is really just about  enjoying new experiences, without any pressure.