I say it all the time – to myself and my clients and I’m sure you’ve heard it as well – “get out of your comfort zone” and change the habits and behaviors you’ve acquired that shape your life in safe and predictable ways if you want to grow and create something new and different in any area of your life – your career, your health and fitness, your relationships, your personal growth, your spirituality and even your hobbies.
But on the other hand, I also coach my clients and have written in the past about the benefits of following a routine in order to be productive and actually produce things in your life and move it forward.
So which is it? Well, as with most things in life, it’s not a simple black and white, right and wrong situation. Comfort and habit aren’t bad things in and of themselves. And in some cases, they can be essential but you want to make sure that your comfortable habits aren’t preventing you from reaching your goals and from living the life you want to live.
So be aware of these 3 signs that may be indications that you are stuck in your comfort zone!
1. You’ve reached a plateau in one or many areas of your life.
Initially, when learning anything new there is a relatively steep upward trend in your progress and growth is happening almost consistently. But then once you’ve learnt the basics of that new skill or hobby or settled into that new relationship or exercise routine and become competent at it or adapted to the change, improvement becomes much slower and eventually stops. This is when you tend to hit a plateau, which for some period of time is actually part of the process of growth and self-improvement. Nothing, as you know, maintains a consistent upward trajectory.
The challenge, however, lies in whether you become comfortable with where you’re at and then no longer push yourself to achieve more. As a result, things remain the same and become routine. Now you’re permanently “camping out” in the plateau and you’re stuck in your comfort zone.
Instead, challenge yourself to move forward, reaching for new and exciting heights in your life. Use the frustration you may feel with the lack of change and progress in your life and to push yourself, to stretch and grow and you once again step out of your comfort zone and feel alive!
2. You rarely feel invigorated or energized.
As explained above, reaching a plateau is a normal but temporary part of growth but if you want be the best that you can be and live an exceptional and fulfilling life, it’s not where you want to stay.
If what previously filled you with energy, strength and motivation no longer do and you no longer feel excited and passionate about life then this plateau is no longer temporary and you’ve become stuck in your comfort zone, just going through the motions of life but not really feeling alive!
If you notice a lack of energy and passion—especially in areas that previously filled you with strength and purpose— it’s may be time to take charge, make some changes and escape your comfort zone.
In order to do this you need to set some new goals, create a new vision of what is possible and what you desire for yourself and then take action! You need to push past the comfortable and get comfortable and excited about being uncomfortable again.
Don’t let your plateau become your new normal, believing that this is where you have to stay. Rather use this awareness to inspire you to push ahead and to challenge yourself so that you again begin to feel invigorated and energized by your life instead of drained and disillusioned.
3. You seldom feel stressed or anxious.
Though in excess, strength and anxiety can be extremely harmful, research shows that moderate, short-term stress levels actually improve resilience and motivation, focus, performance, immunity and more. Low-level stressors also boost brainpower by stimulating the production of brain chemicals called neurotrophins that strengthen the connections between neurons in the brain. In addition, learning to deal with stressful situations can make future ones easier to manage therefore helping you to take that step and get out of your comfort zone. This is, in fact, the premise behind Navy SEAL training.
So if your current job or exercise regimen is so easy that you never feel a twinge of worry pushing you to do just a bit better or step things up, chances are that your performance—and, as a result, your feelings about your performance and your life overall is not likely to improve and you’re well entrenched in your comfort zone.
In order to achieve your ideal life, it’s important to create a spark of excitement, a challenge and level of stress to what you do by getting outside your comfort zone. So consider where can you up your game and set in motion a positive amount of stress to take your life to another level of potential and fulfillment?
Given these warning signs, do you think you’re stuck in your comfort zone—in your professional life, your personal life, your health and fitness goals, or anywhere else?
If your answer is yes, here are 3 important questions to ask yourself:
1. Where do you currently feel you have hit a plateau and are in your comfort zone?
2. Do you want to do something about it?
3. If yes, what is one thing you could do move out of your comfort zone today?
Then take action to move forward and if necessary get support to help you along your way!