You take the same route to work each day.
You eat the same basic foods at your meals.
You do the same workout at the same time each day.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with routines. They provide a certain level of comfort, which is fine. However, sometimes people can get so deeply entrenched in their comfort zones that they don't realize they have stagnated. They are going through the motions. They become robotic in not only what they do but in how they do it.
There is no one way to do things, nor should there ever be.
I was recently asked the following question after writing How you can apply the story of the burning bush: "What kind of first step experiences do you recommend to get out of your comfort zone for somebody who is trying to do so for the first time?"
At first I was stumped, because I was trying to think of something on a grand scale, but then I screeched on the brakes and realized what I really wanted to do was keep it simple. I was being asked about FIRST step experiences for someone who is trying to do so for the FIRST time. If I said something that was complicated with multi-steps, that's overwhelming and exactly what a person DOESN'T need.
Instead, I've decided to address the three statements from the beginning of this article to suggest easy first steps to get out of your comfort zone.
**You take the same route to work each day.
When you take the same route to work every day, it's easy to become complacent. You know exactly which turns you're going to make and you don't even need to think about them. The danger is that you zone out and that's when accidents can happen.
To keep your mind more focused and cognizant of what is happening around you, take a different route. It doesn't have to be completely different but just enough that you're more in the zone with your surroundings.
**You eat the same basic foods at your meals.
I'm guilty of this one, because it makes life easier. Most mornings I have an egg, egg white, and cheese omelet with either frozen mango or half of a banana. It takes me awhile to really be awake in the morning and the last thing I want to do is make a different decision on what I'm going to eat.
However, I have also learned that by getting stuck in a rut, I don't savor what I'm eating. I just eat it and move on. I tweak my breakfast by having a muffin with fruit on occasion or have a fried egg over a waffle. It simply changes things slightly and I get a burst of energy which is also beneficial.
Here's the deal though: don't decide to change up what you're going to eat for breakfast that morning. Make the decision the night before. Nothing is more frustrating when you're not a morning person to try to decide what to eat differently. You end up wasting time.
Another idea is to try one new fruit or vegetable each week to use in a meal. Something small like that switches things up enough to get out of the comfort zone.
***You do the same workout at the same time each day.
Seasoned runners will tell you the worst thing one can do is run every single day without any other form of training. It's a breeding ground for injury. Change up one thing or another.
If you're a beginning runner, add in other types of cardio to mix things up every third or fourth day to replace the run. Do some yoga, go for a bicycle ride, or do the rowing machine if you belong to a gym.
Also, switch up when you exercise occasionally. If you usually run in the morning, take one day every week or so and go for an afternoon or evening run. You can absolutely run the same route if you want to, but switching up the time of day allows you to see the same scenery from a different perspective.
CALL TO ACTION:
The main goal with getting out of your comfort zone is to take one small step. Tweak one part of the routine and it will pay big dividends down the road.
I would love to hear from you if you give this a shot and notice a difference. Email me at email@example.com with the subject line, Comfort Zone. I can't wait to find out what you do and the benefits you experience.
I know, right.
How do you be a piece of fruit?
Of course, you completely get that I'm being figurative rather than literal.
But I love what the pineapple stands for. It's the symbol for hospitality, and there are many sayings about it. A recent one said, "Stand tall, wear a crown, and be sweet on the inside."
Stand tall: Be confident in yourself, even in situations where you feel less than so. Take a deep breath, shoulders back, chin up, and keep your eyes on your goal. When we stand tall, we show we are in command and know what we are doing.
Wear a crown: This is all about self-care. Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do for you and for others. We can't be the best version of ourselves when we are run down and burned out. Take time for yourself each day doing something you enjoy. Relax, read, go for a walk, play golf, etc.
Be sweet on the inside: Kindness to ourselves results in generosity and gratitude on the outside. We have a servant heart by reaching out to help others, doing random acts of kindness, and simply letting others know we care about them. It could be a phone call, reaching out with a random text, going to lunch or coffee, and offering to help someone during a time of need are just a few ways we can show our sweet side. Making a daily gratitude or blessings list also reminds us to not take things for granted, to cherish each day, and to make memories.
Be a pineapple, my friends. Be a pineapple.
I'm a simple gal.
I know this and yet I went away from what I know about myself for a short period of time.
I decided to try something new because I'm all about learning and expanding. I like to try new things and take risks. So I jumped into a different platform to create a website that more writers use. I primarily did it because I didn't think my currently platform supported my new email service.
After several days of small victories, and more often than not, a fried brain with the new platform I came back to what I know. I discovered my email service supports this platform, and it was as easy as a copy and paste to embed the new subscribe form that took me days to create with the other platform.
While I really want to delete the new website I've been working on, I'm going to leave it for now. While I doubt I will go back to it, I'm thankful for what I've learned.
The proverbial saying, "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence," is not usually true.
I thought because many writers use the other platform I tried out, it meant that in order for me to be successful I needed to follow suit. While it definitely has more bells and whistles, I'm discovering that it's not what I need. I want to write, not spend endless hours in frustration to the point where I no longer feel like creating.
So I'm back to what I know. I'm back to what feels comfortable and allows me to be the most creative. And that's not a bad thing. While it's great to expand my mind and to challenge myself, when it detracts from my overall purpose then it's time to take a step back and remember what's important.
Maybe some day I will go back to the bells and whistles, but for now this serves me just fine. More than fine actually.
Rather than looking over the other side of the fence, I'm choosing to water my own grass.
I'm not sure how it happened, but I woke up this morning to see my calendar staring back at me reading July 1.
How did that happen?
Sometimes life is a blur. A whirlwind of action. You get from Point A to Point B with no recollection as to how it happened. You just showed up there seemingly out of the blue.
That's exactly what the month of June felt like to me. With all that we had going on with our move, each day seemed consumed with some aspect of it. Whether it was cleaning, repairing, organizing, packing and then unpacking, reorganizing, and purging, I honestly have no idea where the time went.
And yet, the calendar is insisting it's a new month. As I sit here pondering in our new apartment that is mostly put together, I think about how I've gotten away from writing and getting my book published. It's time to stop pondering and move my book to the top of the priority list with more consistent blogging being a close second. It's time to get back into a routine where I put together some fitness goals and get back at it.
In other words, it's time to take back control instead of wondering how that happened!
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I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.