Are you struggling to break out of your comfort zone?
In one of my other blogs, ‘Are you also struggling with the single biggest barrier to success?’, I had written about how, not just me, but practically everyone I meet is – at some level – is struggling to break out of their comfort zone and be more productive, be more successful, be more sensitive…be more everything!
This topic takes on a lot more relevance during this crazy covid-19 lockdown, where all the days blur one into another, with no end in sight. Productivity seems elusive and we drag our unwilling selves from bed to the worktable and back!
Accordingly, as a fellow survivor, I want to share with you three proven hacks that have worked for me, to break out of my comfort zone & finally get moving on the things that matter to me!
Comfort zones are not bad places!
Before I start sharing the hacks, I do want to emphasise that being in your comfort zone is not a bad thing. It is, in fact, extremely natural.
Think of life like a mountain that you’re climbing and after a period of intense stress and effort, you reach a plateau, where you take a well-deserved break.
That plateau is your comfort zone!
And it’s absolutely alright to take a breather there.
But when you put your head down, decide to snuggle down on that plateau and refuse to look at the rest of the looming mountain, then you limit the potential of what you can be.
And that is a crime.
So here are some of the tactics that I have used at various times in my life, to break past my comfort zone and shake off the lethargy and complacence. I hope they work for you too!
Hack 1 – Focus on the summit, not on the climb
In the earliest days of my startup journey, I would sometimes be overwhelmed by the enormity of what I had set out to do. The sheer audacity of it. How could I – the child of an honest government servant, a born and bred corporate professional, a mom with a three-year old toddler – possibly succeed at a tech startup when I had no tech background and no domain expertise?
Fretting and frustrated, I would ask myself, ‘Kaise hoga?’ (How will it happen?) and from somewhere inside would come the answer, ‘Hoga, hoga!’ (It will happen, it will happen!).
And it did.
Very often, focusing on the short-term obstacles will freak you out.
And overwhelm you.
That is when you need to lean back and look at the summit! Let the power of that vision calm you, enthuse you, excite you! Energise you! The resulting rush of power will carry you through the day. And that’s all you need. One strong day. Everyday.
Hack 2 – Write out a definition of who you want to be
This is a slightly weird thing to say but hear me out…
When I was younger, I once tried coca-cola and hated the fizzy, overly sweet taste of it. And from then, I used to tell anyone who offered me a soft drink, ‘Oh, I don’t like fizzy drinks! Can’t stand the taste!’
And because ‘I’ said it, claimed it, that became my reality.
I had convinced myself that I didn’t like it and over time, whenever someone offered it to me, that voice in my head said, ‘but you’re not the kind of person that likes fizzy drinks!’ And that’s what I became.
Now this is a slightly frivolous example but trust me, it works on all the big stuff too because the principle is the same.
You will become whatever that voice in your head says you are.
So, if you tell yourself again and again, that you don’t have the courage to try…that you’re scared…that you would probably fail at it anyway…THAT will become your reality, that will become your comfort zone! And it will get near impossible to break out of it.
So choose your narrative. And be very very deliberate about it. Because you CAN actually fashion yourself into whatever you want to be.
Hack 3 – Make small, time-bound decisions
Analysis paralysis, is real!
A lot of decisions in life don’t have lasting repercussions but the amount of thought people put into small, daily decisions in positively exhausting. And it’s all because that decision has the potential to push you out of your comfort zone!
But all that time spent thinking is also time NOT SPENT doing.
So allow yourself a specific amount of time to think. And that time should be in the hours, not in days or weeks or months – and then decide and DO!
Been meaning to go the gym but worried that you will waste your money yet again? So be it. Waste the money. You can certainly afford it. But this may be the time it sticks.
What do you have to lose?
Been wanting to change your career path, but worried that you will fail at it? Sign up for that online course in your interest area now! This way you will find if you’re genuinely excited by the new industry area and can be good at it!
Been wanting to tell someone in your life that their toxicity is bringing you down? Write that first whatsapp message and tell them that their mindset is bringing you down and that its not a happy place.
Whatever you want to do, there is always a small, immediate, first step you can take. So, take it! And break out of your comfort zone!