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 firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, Comfort Zone. I can't wait to find out what you do and the benefits you experience.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.