Comfort Zones, we all have them, we need them. They are not always bad and in some cases they can be good for us. We like to do what we’re good at, what we’re used to and what we ‘normally do’.
Destroy your Comfort Zone
The problem with getting to used to something, anything and making it a comfort zone is that we fail to grow as a result of doing the same thing all the time.
What is a Comfort Zone?
To put it simply, a comfort zone, your comfort zone is a behvioral space where your activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk. This provides you a space of Mental, and in our case Physical security. So, as I said above, Comfort Zones are not always bad, or something to be avoided. Your comfort zone is neither a good thing, nor a bad thing, it’s a natural state that most of us tend to gravitate to.
Why do we have a Comfort Zone?
The reality is a state of relative comfort produces a steady level of performance, an acceptable level of performance. This level of comfort is what is needed to put you at ease, so you can perform the task at hand.
However in order to maximize performance, you need a higher level of anxiety. Not full on Stress, but what is known as “Optimal Anxiety”; this is a space where where our stress levels are slightly higher than normal.
Not too high, but just enough to push you.
Too much anxiety and we’re too stressed to be productive, and our performance drops off sharply.
If you have ever pushed yourself to get to the next level or accomplish something new and important, you know that when you really challenge yourself, you can turn up amazing results.
However, pushing too hard can actually cause a negative result, and reinforce the idea that challenging yourself is a bad idea.
It’s our natural tendency to return to an anxiety neutral, comfortable state.
Our Comfort Zone!
Why do we think that we should break out of or Destroy our Comfort Zone?
To put it simply, growth does not happen ‘inside’ your Comfort Zone. By it’s definition, your Comfort Zone is where you know you can perform, where your mind and body are comfortable and will do what is known and what is expected of them.
Breaking out of your Comfort Zone
As I mention above, your Comfort Zone is neither a good thing, nor a bad thing, it’s a natural state.
Leaving your Comfort Zone means increased risk and anxiety, which can have positive and negative results, but don’t demonize your comfort zone as something holding you back. We all need that head-space where we’re least anxious and stressed so we can process the benefits we get when we leave it.
Let’s look at some ideas for how to break out of (Or Destroy) your Comfort Zone.
Do everyday things differently – Let’s take this back to your business (Or holiday) travel and maintaining your fitness level. Do something, or purposefully look for something different as you prepare for your next trip. If you normally do a Weight Training routine, look for a Yoga class you can join. If Yoga or dance are your things, look for an Intro to Olympic Lifting or CrossFit class.
Don’t pick the safe choice – Obviously your personal safety is of paramount importance and that is not what I am referring to. What I mean is, as above and doing things differently. As you start to think about and plan your trip, when that little bit of stress creeps in as you think about that Yoga class (Or CrossFit), DO NOT default back to the safe choice, which is your normal routine or practice.
Go for it, sign up for that class!
Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses – Do not say to yourself, “I don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this, but I’m going to do it anyway!”
Make a snap decision -Sometimes a quick decision is in order and what is needed. Many people like to make certain they are making the best decision possible and consider all possible outcomes and ramifications of their choice. However, pondering all possible choices leads to ‘analysis paralysis’, where nothing gets done due to endless pondering.
To copy the most likely copyrighted phrase by Nike, “Just do it“
Get comfortable being uncomfortable – This was a phrase I learned from one of my Kettlebell coaches a number of years ago, he told me that I needed to “get comfortable being uncomfortable if I ever wanted to improve”. I took this advice to heart and have made it, for lack of a better term, part of who I am.
For example, writing this blog is uncomfortable for me. Why? There is a part of me that questions my ‘right to provide advice’, this despite the fact that I KNOW I have experience with substantial business (and Vacation) travel and relevant ideas that I know people can benefit from in order to stay fit while traveling.
You can’t live outside of your comfort zone all the time. You need to come back from time to time to process your experiences. The last thing you want is for the new and interesting to quickly become commonplace and boring. This phenomenon, called hedonistic adaptation, is the natural tendency to be impressed by new things only to have the incredible become ordinary after a short time. It’s why we can have access to the greatest repository of human knowledge ever created (the internet) at our fingertips (on our smartphones) and still become bored.
In one way it drives us forward, but in another it keeps us from appreciating the subtle and the everyday.
So, as you prepare for your next trip, Business or Vacation and begin your preparation. Remeber this, think about using the trip as an opportunity to get comfortable being uncomfortable and try something new.
Your mind and body will thank you for it!