Your comfort zone is a comfortable place where you do not feel threatened. It comes from a place of fear and is a fixed mindset. The first step to personal growth is to develop new skills and seek out new experiences so you can find ways to get out of your comfort zone. To do this requires putting aside your fear of failure and taking small steps that push beyond the end of your comfort zone and into your growth zone.
Here are some new things you can try or put into your daily routine to overcome your fear of the unknown and develop a growth mindset:
#1 Challenge your prejudice.
Most people can relate to meeting someone you just dislike without knowing anything about them. Make a point of talking to someone you dislike and be open to their ideas and opinions.
#2 Perform a random act of kindness.
You can do a random act of kindness for anyone, but choosing a stranger will really stretch your comfort zone. Something as simple as complimenting a stranger is ideal.
#3 Talk to a stranger.
Small things like this that have a low risk of negative outcomes but create optimal anxiety are great comfort zone challenges. They can be very hard, but also very rewarding.
#4 Create adventures.
Create deliberately challenging tasks like going out with 1-3 fun friends and set a challenge like having three 10-minute conversations with different people within one hour.
#5 Scare yourself.
That could be anything from bungee jumping to public speaking to simply saying “yes” to something you wouldn’t normally do.
#6 Put yourself in new situations.
Visit a new place (country or city), but avoid familiar places and tourist traps – explore somewhere completely new and unknown.
#7 Learn a new language.
Language affects how we think and how we see the world, plus a new language will let you communicate with more people. Learning another language is a great way to develop a new perspective.
#8 Try something new.
Pick something that you have wanted to try for a long time, locate a local club or trainer and make a booking on the first available day on your calendar.
#9 Don’t be yourself.
This is a good way to challenge old habits and try different things. If you are a “yes” person, try saying no for an entire day. Likewise, if you are a ‘no’ person, try saying yes instead.
#10 Overcome failure.
Pick something you want to achieve and take the leap. Do your best but be willing to fail. Learn from it and practice on a daily basis to get better.
#11 Reroute yourself.
If you are anxious about change, the best way to start is with baby steps. Taking a new route to work, even just once a week, is a safe place to start challenging yourself.
#12 Try new food.
Each time you eat out, try a new restaurant, or next time you get take-out, choose a new dish.
#13 Pause social media.
Human beings are social creatures, but social media is a major obstacle to real interaction. Take a complete break for one week and see how things change.
#14 Explore a new genre.
If you are a movie watcher or a bookworm, choose a genre you wouldn’t usually consider. Real-life stories and autobiographies are especially good for stimulating personal development.
#15 Join a club or society.
If you want to learn a skill or meet new people, a club is a great way to find like-minded people who will help you on your path.
#16 Stretch your fear zone.
Make a list of things you want to do that scare you, whatever makes your heart race a little bit. Then, commit to doing one thing from your list every month.
#17 Expand your professional life.
Take on a new challenge at work, ask your manager for new opportunities to grow, or for a new project that develops your skills.
#18 Grow your personal life.
Begin somewhere simple, like starting a new hobby or taking on a physical challenge like a marathon or triathlon.
#19 Expand your social circle.
Attend community events, go out for meals or drinks with friends, or join groups or clubs that align with your interests and try to engage with new people.
#20 Push yourself physically.
Whether it’s learning a new sport or taking on a challenging hike or run, pushing your body releases endorphins and help you to be the best version of yourself.
#21 Break your routines.
Cook a new recipe, go for a different running route, eat dinner with the TV off or tune out of social media.
#22 Travel solo.
It doesn’t matter if it’s just a weekend getaway or a longer trip abroad – explore new places by yourself and learn to love your own company. You will develop your confidence and problem-solving skills.
#23 Take a dance class.
Dance combines music, physical activity, and social interaction. It is sure to push some boundaries. The first time may be challenging, but you will quickly become familiar.
#24 Learn to play an instrument.
Playing an instrument fosters creativity and develops motor skills. Whether you get lessons or begin with YouTube tutorials, the hardest thing is getting started. Plus, there is no actual risk. There are only positive outcomes.
#25 Set big goals for yourself.
In the worst-case scenario, even if you fail, you will have learned new skills, and that is already a good thing.
#26 Get uncomfortable.
Aversion of negative feelings is the cause of comfort zones, but the primary way we grow is to overcome challenges. Putting yourself into challenging situations on purpose will force you to develop as a person.
#27 Have quality friends.
“We are the sum of the five people we associate with the most” this is possibly the best piece of advice for life. Surrounding yourself with successful people who demonstrate steady performance in the areas of life that are important to you will automatically challenge you to step up.
#28 Practice non-judgmental communication.
Open conversations are a critical step in expanding our worldview, and they force us to listen to and confront ideas that challenge our current beliefs.
#29 Try to prove yourself wrong.
Take a belief that you hold and try to objectively question it. Ask yourself what if and in what ways you could be wrong.
#30 Exercise critical thinking.
Critical thought is an excellent personality trait and a skill that is highly valued among smart people. It challenges generally accepted and popular opinion, which helps to prevent the formation of rigid comfort zones.
#31 Have new interactions.
Talk to that person you’ve been meaning to get to know or join that group activity you’ve been curious about.
Reach out to old friends and family. Catching up with someone you haven’t talked to in a while can introduce new ideas and topics.
#33 Try acting.
Acting classes require a great deal of emotional control and maturity as well as physical and spatial awareness. It will build many skills that you often will not encounter naturally in day-to-day life.
#34 Attend events that are unusual for you.
It is easy to stick with what is familiar for recreation and entertainment (sporting events, theatre productions, concerts, etc.). Challenge yourself by going to something you wouldn’t normally consider.
#35 Commit to daily challenges.
Create a list of small things that create a little stress or discomfort. Try to complete a mini-challenge each day that forces you to expand your horizons.
#36 Take a leap of faith.
A great way to force yourself forward on an uncomfortable path is to burn your bridges, e.g., If you want to get a new job, hand in your resignation at your current job.
#37 Challenge your worst case scenario.
Think of something that you avoid due to your current comfort zone. Try to think about what is the worst that is realistically able to go wrong and how you could correct it if it did.
#38 Role play scenarios.
Try to play out imaginary scenarios as someone else, as your ideal self. Roleplay for yourself how you would like to behave, think, and be received by others in a given situation.
#39 Visualize positive outcomes.
A lot of behavior is driven by avoiding negative situations, especially when challenging your comfort zone. Practice picturing good outcomes and positive experiences when facing uncertain situations.
#40 Ask open-ended questions.
A great way to expand socially is to engage others and get them to talk about themselves, make a point of asking open-ended questions in social settings and listen carefully to others.
#41 Work on your communication.
Most people naturally avoid conflict in conversations. Practice communication openly, clearly, and honestly with others and listen to how they feel and express how you feel honestly.
#42 Be inquisitive.
Asking questions and understanding the big picture and the details of a topic will broaden your horizons. Seek out answers with an open mind, and don’t be afraid to question the answers also.
#43 Question your comfort.
Be honest with yourself about what makes you comfortable and why. Once you understand what it is that’s holding you back, it will be easier to take steps to overcome it.
#44 Get help from others.
Talk to other people who have overcome their comfort zone. Hearing about how others have identified and expanded their limitations can help you do the same.
#45 Challenge yourself academically.
Enroll in a college course or even a single unit of a course. If college is too much to start with, explore courses on platforms like Udemy.
#46 Empty the bucket.
Schedule time each month to cross one item off your bucket list rather than letting the list wait until the “right time.”
#47 Step out.
Instead of joining a club or group that you can already relate to, join a group or club that is unrelated to your current interests or knowledge base.
#48 Make different friends.
Deliberately seek friendship and interactions with people different than you would normally associate with. Be genuinely open to their ideas and opinions and engage with their interests.
#49 Change your lifestyle.
Spend a month living a different lifestyle from what you are used to. If you are fast-paced, create time. If you are social, experiment with having more space.
#50 Jump in the deep end.
Volunteer for a project you know nothing about with a community group or club. Be ready and committed to learning what you need on the fly.
#51 Go on an adventure.
Go backpack hiking, camping, or rafting. If you are unfamiliar, find a local group that can help you get started and introduce you safely to new activities.
#52 Make small changes.
Take small steps to create or improve your daily routine and mix things up a bit. Take a different route to work, wake up earlier or do something else small and simple.
#53 Volunteer for a cause.
A simple way to remove limitations is to remove your focus from yourself. Find a cause you can relate to and set aside your limiting beliefs to help others.
#54 Investigate an interest.
Research or study something that fascinates you, particularly if it’s outside your current knowledge base.
#55 Join a book club.
This will force you to read books you mightn’t otherwise read. Book clubs are even more effective for non-readers as the act of regular reading itself will test your comfort zone.
#56 Take the helm.
Taking on a leadership role in an activity or organization is a great way to learn and develop leadership skills and identify personal weaknesses.
#57 Request challenges.
Ask a close friend or trusted family member to set a challenge for you that they know will take you outside of your comfort zone.
#58 Start a business.
The less you already know about business, the greater this challenge will be. A business owner has to be proficient in many fields, and this will help you to learn quickly and become a well-rounded person.
#59 Move to a new city.
Habits are the main thing that keeps us in our comfort zones, and the fastest way to break old habits is to make big changes. Moving to a city where you do not know anyone will certainly break your old comfort zone.
#60 Confront a fear head-on.
Book a course or experience that challenges a fear. For instance, if you are scared of heights, book a sky diving or bungee jumping experience.
#61 Go on a blind date.
If you are not looking (or are taken), this can still work. Just openly admit at the start of your date that you are just trying to challenge yourself.
#62 Spend time alone in nature.
It can be very revealing to have introspective time alone. Going for a hike or sitting in the woods without technology or people will give you space to think deeply and reflect on yourself.
#63 Try something completely new.
Rather than just choosing something from your fears or passions, look up experiences or short courses and find something you know absolutely nothing about. Try something you didn’t even know existed before seeing the ad.
#64 Embrace mistakes.
School and the workplace teach us to avoid mistakes and failure. As children and in personal life, we learn through mistakes. Find something to try and welcome failure. Look to learn from your mistakes.
#65 Be yourself.
There are always situations where we are not true to how we want to respond. Experiment with being your genuine self. How does it affect the outcome, and how do you feel afterward?
#66 Quit your job and travel the world.
Quitting your job is one of the most uncomfortable things you can do, and traveling overseas forces you to learn languages, places, and cultures. Quitting your job to travel will absolutely change you.
#67 Try the extreme.
Take up an extreme sport, especially if you are not a natural thrill-seeker. This will expose you to brain chemistry responses that you are not familiar with, such as adrenaline and dopamine highs which can change how you think.
#68 Switch it up at a party.
It’s easy to stick to comfortable interactions, like talking only to friends at a party. Force yourself to approach someone who makes you uncomfortable at your next party.
#69 Be the guinea pig.
Next time you are at church or in a community group that is looking for volunteers, volunteer first, even if you know nothing about the activity or project.
#70 Be transparent.
If you struggle to open up, it can be very cathartic to speak openly and honestly about your feelings with someone to whom you have difficulty opening up to emotionally.
#71 Be mindful.
Try meditation or another mindfulness practice, as this can help foster greater self-awareness and make you aware of self-limiting beliefs or practices.
#72 Start a side hustle.
Most people shut off or disengage at the end of the workday. A side hustle will challenge you to find more energy, more drive, more focus, and develop business skills.
#73 Take an improv class.
Whether you are a naturally funny person or not, learning to improvise and make others laugh is a valuable skill and requires putting yourself out there socially.
#74 Dress up for work.
Brain chemistry and mindset can change based on the ques you send yourself. Dressing up when you don’t have to will affect how others treat you and how you treat yourself.
#75 Volunteer for a mission.
Unlike charities, volunteering for missions usually requires travel. Overseas missions will take you to places that test your limits, resilience, and resourcefulness.
#76 Join a sailing crew.
From a hobby yacht club to luxury sailing yachts or competition yachts and races, sailing requires teamwork, planning, physical strength, endurance, and mental toughness.
#77 Travel as part of a couch-surfing club.
There are many couch-surfing and similar clubs that involve staying with members of the same club at their own homes. This is a great way to meet new people and get first-hand exposure to lifestyle, culture, and food.
#78 Travel in an unconventional way.
Traveling on sleeper trains, as a crew member on a merchant ship, or as a passenger on an ocean freighter will give you mind-altering experiences not easily replicated elsewhere.
#79 Take a voice class.
Be it singing or voice acting, exposing your social vulnerability, even just to a teacher, takes a lot of guts and determination. Long term, this will build self-confidence and social resilience.
#80 Start a podcast.
A podcast requires the development of knowledge on a chosen topic. It also requires communication, presentation, time management, and self-promotion skills. It is a fast way to force yourself to confront areas of weakness.
#81 Do karaoke.
Social comfort is one of the most prominent comfort zones we face. Karaoke is a great way to overturn this natural anxiety response. And because others join in, you are all vulnerable together.
#82 Learn sign language.
Aside from being able to communicate with deaf people, sign language connects the linguistic and physical/special parts of the brain, which can alter your perceptions and thought processes.
#83 Start a TikTok.
As a current and growing trend, TikTok puts you, your ideas, and your creativity out there socially. It exposes you equally to both praise and judgment.
#84 Lead a small group.
Leading a group from a book club to a sports fraternity will develop your leadership and interpersonal skills, and it will also teach you a lot about yourself.
#85 Start a YouTube channel.
YouTube doesn’t necessarily require you to show yourself or expose yourself socially. But it will expose your content creation and creativity skills, plus it’s an avenue to educate and inform others.
#86 Go horseback riding.
Horseback riding requires physical strength and dedication. It creates a connection with your horse, and you will not get far without developing adaptability and emotional connectivity.
#87 Do a detox diet.
This will expose your level of judgment and pickiness regarding food and lifestyle. It also provides a template for how to progress and change your lifestyle, which helps when breaking from your normal routine.
#88 Get lost.
Travel somewhere like the deep woods, a national park, or an unknown city without referring to a map or GPS. Just take a full tank of gas and drive to wherever you feel like and embrace not knowing where you are.
#89 Dye your hair.
Changing your physical appearance can change how others treat you and how you behave yourself. The brighter the color, the more eccentric your experience is likely to be.
#90 Wear a different bra/underwear.
Most people have a well-entrenched comfort zone and routine concerning their intimate wardrobe. This is a non-threatening way to completely change your usual routine and habits.
#91 Try a new look.
How we look affects how we act. Putting on an entirely new wardrobe or makeup look can completely change our behavior and experience of life.
#92 Take an online course.
Studying is a great way to have a formal pathway to learning something new with structured assessments that force you to think. The less related it is to your normal interests, the bigger the change will be.
#93 Reach out.
Connect with someone that you have been wanting to talk to but are too afraid to approach. Someone where there was a falling out in the past, an internet celebrity/influencer, or a work colleague.
#94 Join a recreational league.
A rec league can be a great, non-competitive way to gain physical and social interaction. This is a great baby step if you have anxiety about sports or working in a team.
#95 Go to a wine tasting event by yourself.
As these events are usually social group events, they will force you to interact with people you do not know.
#96 Start house sharing.
Sharing a living space with a non-romantic partner will stretch you socially and emotionally while building valuable interpersonal communication skills.
#97 Take a road trip.
Road trips remove the security of a normal residence, take you to unfamiliar places and introduce you to new people. They’re a fun way to connect deeper and build shared memories with someone, especially if you struggle to connect.
#98 Ride a motorcycle.
Renting a motorcycle will expose you to a unique form of transportation. It is likely to expose the existential fear and anxiety that you have, plus it will trigger endorphin and adrenaline for most people.
#99 Get close to a zoo animal.
Do a behind-the-scenes experience with a zoo or animal sanctuary, especially if there is an animal that scares you.
#100 Study philosophy or theology.
Practices that question the nature, cause or purpose of our being tend to require deep introspection and understanding of oneself. This means learning to understand what you do and what you avoid, and why.
Moving beyond your comfort zone is important for growing as a person. The great thing is that even very small steps can lead to great developments over time. Each time you try something that scares or challenges you, it will be less daunting the next time. If you struggle with challenging yourself, finding a friend to take the journey with you is a great way to move forward and stay accountable.
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