Does your life ever feel like the movie “Groundhog Day”? You wake up, take a shower, get dressed, go to work, and it feels exactly like the one hundred or so days before? People greet you exactly as they did yesterday, you drink the same cup of coffee, you even have pretty much the same lunch. You are in a rut.
We all fall into habits and patterns. They are comfortable and soothing. We know what to expect and when to expect it. A tuna sandwich is always a tuna sandwich. There’s something solid and reassuring about that, especially if you like tuna sandwiches. When you’re under a lot of stress, a predictable routine brings order to the chaos. The problem with habits and patterns, though, is that when things start to feel routine, we get bored. You may not notice it right away, but life gets kind of stale when it’s too predictable. On the flip side, change is scary, and can be overwhelming. So, what’s a person to do?!
Stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t easy. When I suggest this to my friends and clients, they often think this means doing something radical and difficult, something that will jolt them out of boredom or into excitement. I’m not sure that’s entirely necessary. I think of stepping out of your comfort zone as dipping your toes into the water to see how it feels. If it’s too cold, you can always step back out, you’re not committed to a three-mile swim, but you have the option if that feels good to you.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is stepping into something else. It could be a new haircut, a new restaurant, a different route to work, going on a date, forming a new attitude – you get to decide. And you might hate it, but if that’s the worst thing that happens, at least you aren’t bored anymore. You might even find that you like it!