As we step into a new year we are often enthused by plans of how this year will be our fittest and healthiest yet. It’s great to have such ambitions, but often to achieve them we will need to step outside of our comfort zone, and that can be tough.
In this post we explore how you can step out of your comfort zone to make positive, lasting changes in your life, adapted from Total Body Beautiful.
Going outside our comfort zones is the only way to grow. No change ever comes from comfort and coziness. By doing this, we can stretch our brains even more, making our minds stronger along with feeling better. Do you ever feel like you’re in a rut? Or blocked somehow? This is normal, but when we do something different in our daily lives we can rewire our brain waves. When you’re feeling stuck or in a rut you must first step out of your comfort zone by doing one new thing. It doesn’t matter what it is, just do something new that will make you feel mildly uncomfortable, challenged, or different. If you’re unable to make yourself try something new, take a deeper look at your defense mechanisms. Ask yourself these questions:
Why am I resisting change?
Why am I craving change yet resisting it?
What am I scared of?
Why am I scared?
What’s the worst thing that can happen to me if I try something new?
Why do I stop myself?
Should I see a therapist or a life coach to help me address my issues and help me get unstuck?
It’s important to know yourself or to be so sick of your own roadblocks that you just want to get past them once and for all. Sometimes this may take years of being blocked and wanting change. It’s different for everyone.
Sigmund Freud developed a theory around the concept of defense mechanisms, explaining that people may use them as a form of self-protection from psychological injury. His argument was that people engage in unconscious behaviors to protect themselves from harmful or threatening situations. Such situations might include conflict, intense anxiety, or feelings of shame that threaten self-esteem. For example, when we think about trying something new, we may start telling ourselves all the reasons not to try it. We don’t want to stay in our comfort zones in theory, yet most of us do, even when we feel that we are being blocked and are stuck within our own walls because we have a thousand excuses not to try this new thing.
You may find that you get in your own way when it comes to eating well and exercising. If you’ve been working all day and just don’t feel like working out, you may hear that inner voice trying to talk you out of it. But it’s during those times that you really have to push yourself to show up. There’s always that defense mechanism in your mind telling you not to work out today. Not to do this or that. That inner voice may say, “You can’t do it,” “You’re not worthy,” and even maybe “You’re not good enough.” Whatever that voice is in your head, you need to acknowledge it, accept it, and connect to it. In fact, embrace it with a hug and thank it for visiting. Simply tell it, “I really appreciate that you came to visit, but now it’s time for you to go because you no longer serve me.” Those brain muscles that had been telling you not to do something eventually get weaker and weaker and may even disappear.
When you get to know yourself, then you must push yourself past your defense mechanisms and the inner voice, whatever it may be saying, that are limiting you. At least try something new and stick with it, even if you may hate it. You owe it to yourself even if you think that you don’t deserve it. You have the strength and ability to take yourself out of your comfort zone, where you feel safe and secure. You must be patient and remind yourself that you’re doing something new and that not many things come quickly to most people.
Being active consistently is one of the best things that you can do for yourself, especially if you suffer from any type of mental disorder. When you’re done working out, you will probably feel so much better! It’s rare for someone to feel worse after they move their body. Even if it’s a tiny improvement, it’s worth it.
Setting yourself a goal and acknowledging you want to make a change is a big first step in making a change in your life. Having an honest conversation with yourself about the barriers which may stop you from pursuing the change will help you to follow through on achieving your goal. So the next time you consider working out and hear that little voice telling you that you can’t, acknowledge it, accept it and connect to it, politely asking it to go away.
Total Body Beautiful
Andrea Orbeck,Desi Bartlett and Nicole Stuart