When I talk about the voices in your head, I’m not referring to any type of mental illness, I’m talking about your own voice, the one that chips away and tells you that you can’t do something, talks you out of something you’d got the best of intentions of doing or simply makes you feel bad about yourself. Stepping out of your comfort zone is one of the hardest things to do but it’s also the move that will bring the greatest reward. Unfortunately it’s the continuous mind chatter that keeps you exactly where you are.
Why do we have a comfort zone? It simply keeps us safe; although that in itself can be a contradiction in terms. Keeping us safe in this context simply means that we know what we’re dealing with, even if what we’re dealing with is not actually that good. It can be very difficult to step out of your comfort zone, even though you can see that it will probably be so much better on the other side.
The voice you hear is your own fears that keep you where you are. So why would we want to stay where we are when there’s the potential for better out there? The old saying ‘The grass is always greener on the other side’ gives the negative suggestion that we shouldn’t want to stretch ourselves or try something new because it won’t be any better than we’ve already got. In some cases that may well be the case but just supposing it isn’t. Just supposing that by looking in the other field, not only is the grass greener, but there are also beautiful trees and flowers too. Change can be positive as well as negative and by staying in our comfort zone, we never find out.
We all have mind chatter, mind monkeys, the voice of doom, call it what you will. You wake up in the morning with lots of good intentions about your day. This is the day you’re going to start healthy eating, do more exercise, apply for that fabulous new job, arrange a date, join a new club or interest group, you name it. You’re there, in the zone, focussed on exactly what you’re going to do and then it starts. ‘I could just finish those biscuits first and then they won’t torment me then I’ll start the healthy eating tomorrow’. I’ve got to get the ironing finished and sort my room out then I’ll start exercising tomorrow’. ‘I don’t have all the experience they’re asking for so I’ll probably not even get an interview anyway’. If I ask him/her out on a date, they’ll probably turn me down and that will be so humiliating so I just won’t bother then I’ll be fine’. ‘I don’t know enough about ‘X’ so they probably don’t want people like me in the group’. Sound familiar?
Although you woke up with the best of intentions, your mind wants to keep you safe and the safest place to be is the known quantity, the place you’re in right now; your comfort zone. You may look in the mirror and dislike what you see but you know how to be you in that shape and size. It may sound too simple but it’s true. You know how to be unfit. You know the job you’re in even if you hate it. You know how to be on your own even if you’re lonely.
The mind chatter is just that. It’s not the voice of reason. It’s not some fabulous inner wisdom that knows that if you move out of your comfort zone the sun will go out and the world will stop turning. It’s simply the part of you that is a little bit scared of change. The thing is, if you move outside of your comfort zone, guess what, not only may it be so much better but that will become your new comfort zone. It will get more comfortable to live with, become the norm in your life, enable you to achieve new things and feel happier, freer, lighter, more confident, engage interest in knew things, learn new skills, feel more in control in what’s going on in your life and bring you the freedom to choose.
Your comfort zone is not a fixed boundary. It moves freely so the more you do, the more you’ll feel comfortable doing it. Reflect on your life and the times you’ve moved outside of your comfort zone and at first it was scary but it soon became more comfortable and now it’s just normal, it’s just you. For example, your first day at school, the first day in your present job, the first time you spoke to your best friend, the first time you rode a bike or your first driving lesson. Your comfort zone is just habit. It’s what you’re used to because you practise it all the time.
So here’s my challenge to you. Do one thing today that’s outside of your comfort zone and see how amazing it feels. Go on, you can do it.
if you’d like help to move outside of your comfort zone whether it’s for more confidence, changing your mind-set or increasing your motivation to do something, get it touch today at Catherine@berkshiretherapist.co.uk and find out how I can help.