I know exactly what my comfort zone feels like. We all have one. Most of us spend too much time hanging out there. I find the edge of my comfort zone when I’m working out. That first moment of “Woah, this is getting hard. It’s starting to feel uncomfortable. I wanna quit. I don’t want to work that hard.” Or that moment when someone offers me a homemade cookie or I drive past my favorite donut place. That feeling of “It’s just this once. I’ll be better tomorrow”. Riiiiiiiight there on the edge of my comfort zone. It is uncomfortable to push through the workout. It is uncomfortable to say “no” to my favorite things.
It’s not comfortable to push beyond the limits. It’s not comfortable to say “yes” when your body is saying “no”. It’s not comfortable to say “no” when your cravings are saying “yes”. But you know what? I had to get really honest with myself and embrace the fact that if I did what I’ve always done, I’d get what I’ve always got.
If I kept saying “I’ll start tomorrow” to excuse today’s indulgence.
If I kept quitting or throwing in the towel at the start of a workout.
If I kept making excuses to have another treat “just this once”.
I knew what those things got me. Living right there, smack in the center of my comfort zone, I was fat. I had no energy. I had no confidence. I had no passion. I had no hope.
Don’t get me wrong. Your comfort zone has an important role. It keeps you safe. It helps you avoid risk and danger. It provides mental, emotional & physical security.
But at some point it limits you. Severely. It keeps you right where you are and prevents your growth & achievement.
Consider this: are you living your fullest life right now? Is this life, this body, this career, this relationship all that you want it to be? For me, the answer was no. To get the life I wanted I had to leave my comfort zone. The security of my comfort zone was limiting my life and holding me back from reaching my potential.
I didn’t want to limit myself to the handful of things I could have within the confines of my comfort zone. So I stepped beyond it. But here’s the thing: by definition, leaving your comfort zone is uncomfortable. It doesn’t always feel good. But if you want the reward, if you want the joy, if want the improvements then you have to get uncomfortable. The more frequently you break those boundaries the easier it becomes. The more progress you make, the easier it becomes. It will be hard at first.
When you wake up in the morning and want to grab that bagel or fast food remind yourself: that is my comfort zone. I am breaking free. I am claiming bigger things.
When your day gets crazy and you’re craving candy in the middle of the afternoon remind yourself: that is my comfort zone. I don’t want that life. I am creating new boundaries.
When you get home and feel tempted to order pizza instead of taking a few minutes to put together a healthy meal remind yourself: that is my comfort zone. I’ve spent enough time there. I want something more.
When you ready to quit when your workout gets hard remind yourself: that is my comfort zone. I can’t grow in there. I can’t become the person I want to be if I don’t move beyond those walls.
When you go out to dinner and consider going all out and “starting tomorrow” remind yourself: that is my comfort zone. I’ve that before. I know how that ends. I know that’s not effective. I want more.
When you want to sit on the couch and watch TV instead of getting your meals together for work tomorrow remind yourself: that is my comfort zone. I’m not happy there. I deserve happiness.
It’s not always easy but it gets easier with time and practice.
Remember this quote from Atlas Shrugged. “The world you desire can be won. It exists. It is possible. It is yours.”
But also remember this from me: It exists outside your comfort zone.