It’s much easier to remain within the boundaries of where you feel comfortable than it is to face the fear of venturing beyond them.
But by limiting yourself to what you already know, you’re likely missing out on professional opportunities, life experiences, and personal growth.
Want to get out of your safe cocoon but don’t know where to begin? The hardest part is taking the first step.
In the Quora thread “How can I come out of my comfort zone?,” readers shared some of the simple steps they take each day to push their limits.
Here are some of our favorites:
1. Take the first step
“In theory, all you need to do is to take the first step. It will be difficult. The first day at the gym is the worst. The opening line of your story takes the longest time. But as you gain momentum, it is easier to keep moving.” – Deepak Mehta
- Flickr/Francisco Osorio
2. Put yourself in a new environment
“Begin with some small changes that do not present any real threat, such as eating at a different restaurant in a different part of town, or attending an art exhibit or gun show. The idea is to place yourself in new arenas where you control the interaction.” – Barbara Carleton
3. Don’t pick the safe choice
“Every time you’re making a choice, one choice is the safe/comfortable choice, and one choice is the risky/uncomfortable choice.The risky/uncomfortable choice is the one that will teach you the most and make you grow the most, so that’s the one you should choose.”- Karen X. Cheng
4. Take a different route home
“If you drive or walk a different route, you will see different things. In a small way, that increases your view of the world. That is just an easy way to start. After that, you can make more drastic changes. Eventually you will feel comfortable thinking out of the box.” – Sue Murphy
- Strelka Institute for Media
5. Make a snap decision
“It doesn’t have to be a life-or-death decision. Anything from choosing a restaurant to shopping. Just make a choice that’s unusual for your routine without overthinking it.
“If that still sounds daunting, flip a coin. Yes, I am serious! Flip a coin over the decision and stick to it. I do it all the time and end up glad that I did (mostly).
“Eliminating the need of mulling over a decision greatly boosts the process of stepping out of our comfort zones. Plus, snap decisions instill a feeling of self-trust. So, ‘just do it.'” – Shivee Gupta
6. Consider other points of view
“Surround yourself with very smart people who are a little bit arrogant and disagree with you on many things. Make sure to debate ideas with them, in a civil way, which will cause you to re-examine your beliefs.” – Yael Grauer
7. Say “yes” more often
“Say yes even when you don’t think you’re ready. … If you are working, say yes to new projects, new assignments, new roles – even when you have not done it before. It opens up huge opportunities in your career. Who knows – you might find yourself enjoying something you never got the chance to explore earlier.” –Corrine Lin
- Getty Images / Imeh Akpanudosen
“Preferably, make it a learning experience. Pick something you’re very unfamiliar with and soak up everything you can while also making yourself useful.” – Yael Grauer
9. Do what you’re afraid of
“New mindset. It goes like this: Does this scare me? Then Ihaveto do it.That’s how you conquer fear. It never goes away, you just learn how to ride that energy.” – Zach Davidson
10. Create challenges to push yourself in areas you want to improve
“Decide on a few challenges (and their triggers) for yourself designed to push you outside of your comfort zone in areas you want to develop.
• Next time you see a pretty girl (trigger) you have to go and talk to her (challenge).
• Next time you go buy a cup of coffee (trigger) ask for a 10% discount (challenge).
• Next time you find yourself making eye contact with a stranger (trigger) keep it until they look away (challenge).
• Next time someone asks you how you are (trigger) respond by saying you are great/fantastic instead of just ‘good’ (challenge).
Just focus on these triggers and don’t make any excuses. It’ll become a habit after a while.” – Christian Pretorius
- Peter Macdiarmid/Getty
11. Allow others to decide for you
“My wife makes travel plans for the both of us. If I was in charge instead, we wouldn’t go anywhere. So, catch hold of friends who are more outgoing than you. Let them make the plans, and just go with it.” – Deepak Mehta
12. Remember that tomorrow is a new day
“It helps to remember that what doesn’t kill you generally really does make you stronger – you will survive, you will heal, you will learn something, you will have a better chance of emerging unscathed next time.” – Nate Waddoups