A new year is always a great opportunity to burst forward with change, growth and development. That feels even more true today when standing still doesn’t just hold you in place… it moves you backwards.

Whether the change you crave is personal, professional or on a grander, changing-the-world scale, comfort zones are a universal change-killer. We all have them, and we all get held back by them.

But not in 2019!

I’m challenging you to make 2019 the year where comfort zones are not an option. Inaction is not an option. There’s a lot happening in the world right now and it is our duty to put our best selves out there for the sake of ourselves, the planet and the global community.

5 People Hiking at night
Photo by Justin Medina on Unsplash

We must collectively adopt a mentality of getting out of our comfort zones, our “ok zones”, our “it’s fine zones”, and aim towards making things better for ourselves and others.

A few years ago, I went through a life changing experience where the pain of standing still got stronger than the pain of moving forward. It shifted my whole perspective. I had stayed in my comfort zone for too long and when I finally stepped out of it was when life really started happening for me. I’ve now taken it upon myself to share what I gained from that experience to help others adapt to life’s only constant: Change.

Here are 5 ways to develop a “bye, bye comfort zone” mindset:

1.    When you step out, step towards something. 

Don’t just do a scary or uncomfortable thing for the sake of it. You’ll likely just end up scared, confused and running back to your hideout. Step out with purpose. Identify what you want to move towards, lay out the steps, and do something that scares you, but also excites you.

2.    Realize that you are not lost, you are just unfamiliar.

Comfort zones are familiar. That’s why they’re comforting! Unfamiliarity does not mean you’re lost. It means you’re moving towards something new. Get familiar, then keep going.

Girl holding a stick above her head
Photo by Juan Jose on Unsplash

3.    Embrace the mud!

If you find yourself stuck in the mud (literally or figuratively), embrace it! Challenges are allies. They are opportunities to grow. You’re not stuck. You’ve been presented with an opportunity to pull yourself out and, in doing so, get stronger.

4.    Once and for all, STOP comparing yourself to others.

When you compare yourself to someone else, you’re always comparing your insides to their outsides. It’s never a fair comparison and will always drag you down. Instead, focus on you. Move forward by using yourself as a benchmark, not anyone else. Push yourself just enough to reach a sustainable amount of discomfort (for YOU), get comfortable with it, and repeat.  

5.    Do not expect. 

Disappointment can feel like a one-way ticket back to Comfortland. But… loophole! Without expectations, there is no disappointment. Don’t get hung up on where you have to be. Just be fully where you are, enjoy the journey and be proud of any move forward, however small it may seem.

Ready to take the challenge?

If you’re unhappy or feeling stuck… why keep doing the same things? Those things are what got you stuck in the first place and they will only dig you further in. Let 2019 be the year you break out of your comfort zone to discover your stronger, happier and best self.