Pushing Yourself Outside Your Comfort Zone

Most of my life I tried to be the responsible one who did what was expected of me and played the role I was supposed to be, or what I thought I was supposed to be.   But as I matured through my 30’s and I became more confident in life, I was learning new things about myself and things that I wanted to try.   As I inched closer to the big 4-0, I wanted to change my thinking to “wouldn’t it be neat if” or “I always wanted to try that” to “I’m going to do that”. And I figured the beginning of a new decade was a good time to turn that around!  I made a commitment to a “year of action”.

I went skydiving (exhilarating).  I did a Spartan race at Fenway Park (and we took our picture in front of the Green Monst-ah).  We went away more to be more present with each other.  I tried new foods and found a sense of relaxation in baking.  I pushed myself to explore new ways to energize how I felt about my work.  All of this has given me a new passion for life that was felt in every piece of who I am.  It’s amazing how if you feel stuck or uninspired in one area of your life it affects others.  What are you intrigued about that you haven’t had the courage to try yet?  What is your “wouldn’t it be nice if” thought?  How are you going to commit to yourself that it will go from a “will do” to a “did”?  Here are some things I did to help build this new muscle (literally and figuratively!).

Write down all those “will do’s”.  Whether it’s a vision board or a journal.  Find a way to capture it so it inspires you!  I personally started a notebook where every time I found myself using that “maybe” language, I would write it down.  It didn’t matter how big or small, far out there or easily attainable, short term or long term, I wanted to capture that desire when I felt it and the “why” behind it.
On a regular basis (monthly maybe) pick one thing you are going and one thing you are going to start planning for longer-term  I know not everyone can go to Ireland tomorrow (that’s on my list!).  But you can find a new hike to take or sign up for a new class (painting, cooking, cake decorating, whatever is piquing your interest) now.

Find an accountability buddy.  Who is going to push you to take these leaps in your life?  While one of my best girlfriends is my race buddy, my husband is always my biggest supporter, while still pushing me to get outside my comfort zone.  He and our pup are my favorite hiking and country weekend buddies.  We get outside the city and enjoy the quiet…and usually a backyard to play ball in for hours!
It was also important that I pushed myself in my career as well.  I started doing more speaking engagements.  I even wrote a book!  For anyone who knows me, this is probably one of the last things you thought I would do (next to skydiving maybe!).  But it has helped me fall back in love with what I do.  
At the end of the day, I just encourage you to get outside of your comfort zone.  It will help you continue to grow as a human, have little regrets and maybe even find a new passion.  It’s never too late to try something new!  Coming up next?  My first speaking (actually first trip period) outside of the US, a half marathon, a painting class, and a daily yoga challenge…and something from my journal I haven’t picked yet!